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Small steps to content strategy

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  • Transcript

    • 1. Small Steps to Content Strategy
    • 2. Who Am I?
      • Neil Perlin - Hyper/Word Services.
        • In tech. comm. since ‘79 at DEC.
        • Creating hypertext since ’85, WinHelp since ’90, HTML since ‘91.
        • Training and consulting on HATs since ’95, XML, mobile devices, single-sourcing, structured authoring since ‘98.
        • Certified – Captivate, Mimic, Flare, RoboHelp, MobiFlex, others now gone.
    • 3. Contents
      • Why Have a “Content Strategy”?
      • Big Issues in Small Steps
    • 4.
      • Why Have a “Content Strategy”?
    • 5. Shifting Environment
      • We’re in an era of increasing flux:
        • Writing in relative decline vs. other forms of comm.
        • “ Content” being created by more sources in more forms than ever before.
        • More single sourcing to more different outputs.
        • Technology advancing rapidly, with brand new things coming.
    • 6. The Response
      • Working under these conditions quickly, cost-effectively, and responsively means defining and formalizing how we create and manage content – a strategy.
        • The “winging it” days are ending.
        • May also help tech comm justify its existence by participating in and even helping direct the larger strategy.
    • 7. Why Now? Why Not Now?
      • Now?
        • You’re at a transition point – preparing to go online or switch online formats anyway.
        • Your workflow problems have grown to the point that it’s time to take action.
        • Content strategy is hip, we’re hip, ergo…
      • Not now?
        • No reason – defining CS simply boils down to revisiting how and why you work the way you do and changing as necessary.
    • 8. Philosophy and Cautions
      • Distinguish between strategy and tactics.
        • Prepare for the former before doing the latter.
      • Make decisions deliberately.
        • Avoid the “Ready, fire, aim… oops” approach.
        • But avoid paralysis by over-analysis.
      • Anticipate a continuing, often messy effort.
    • 9. An Unpleasant Question
      • What doc group goals are we pursuing?
      • What company goals are we pursuing?
        • Does the company know or care that doc is pursuing those goals – e.g. indicates doc’s credibility within the company.
    • 10.
      • Big Issues In Small Steps
    • 11. Four Big Issues
      • Strategic Direction
      • Definitions
      • Culture
      • Standards
    • 12. Strategic Direction
      • What’s the company’s strategic business direction?
      • How does doc support that direction?
        • In the past, doc was reactive and didn’t have to know about strategic direction.
        • Today, as companies are adapting to weird new technologies (Twitter? QR codes?), we have to help make decisions.
        • If not, then others will make decisions for us.
    • 13. Help Define That Direction
      • Learn the company’s direction in general and with regard to “content,” NOT “doc.”
        • Such as social media.
      • Help set that content and general direction.
        • Get enough credibility to get involved.
        • Stay involved to keep, extend that credibility.
      • Think ahead and extensibly.
        • Stay on the edge – embrace technical change.
    • 14. Definitions
      • “ Strategy” – Must define it to create it.
        • Business aspects, technologies, other?
      • “ Topic-based authoring”
      • “ Structured authoring”
        • May just mean that content has “structure”.
      • “ Online” – Web? Browser-based online help or doc? PDF? Mobile? Other?
      • Any other?
    • 15. Culture and Politics
      • How does doc relate to other groups?
      • With what representatives? Credibility?
        • Willingness to speak other groups’ language.
        • Effect of company culture when picking reps.
          • Young, petite, shy women may have problems.
          • So may lone reps and hostile writers.
          • Need a political sense.
        • Doc reps must participate in all events.
    • 16. Need To/Willingness To Keep Up
      • Hard to keep up with technology and tool changes.
        • Names are confusing or confusingly similar:
          • Windows Help vs. Windows Help.
          • WebHelp vs. Web Help.
          • HTML Help vs. HTML help.
          • Single sourcing vs. multi-channel publishing.
          • Chrome?
          • Google Docs?
          • Native apps vs. web apps vs. eBooks.
    • 17. Need To/Willingness To Keep Up
      • The issues:
        • What are these new technologies? Tools?
        • How and when may they affect my company?
          • And me?
        • Are people amenable to keeping up?
        • Will strategic change make people leave?
          • You’ll gain people with new tool and technology skills but lose people with domain knowledge.
    • 18. Political Issues
      • Missing the point – Doing something for coolness, or not wanting to kill a bad idea for fear of losing a learning opportunity.
      • Infeasibility – A plan to kill the doc group by having the engineers write the content, or wanting to “automate” doc work via a CMS.
        • Yet the idea keeps popping up…
    • 19. Political Issues
      • Posturing – Pushing “bold leaps,” even if impractical, unneeded, or harmful.
      • Turf – Content strategy may require some-one to give up some power.
      • Competition – “Content” is cool and pays well, so consultants are now competitors.
        • Defining a content strategy is often what they do; we need to do so too in order to compete.
    • 20. Standards
      • Does/would your company support:
        • External standards – For technologies, outputs, etc.
          • From external bodies – W3C, OASIS, IDPF...
          • Like XML, HTML 5, CSS, ePub, mobi…
          • May affect tool selection.
        • Internal standards – For workflows.
          • Like information structure and templates, indexing, wording, CSS specifics, etc.
    • 21. Some Broad Standard Suggestions
      • Consider your culture.
        • Make standards “invisible” by embedding them if possible, like Flare’s master stylesheet.
        • Publicize the standards, train people on them, made adherence mandatory.
    • 22. And Some Specific Ones…
      • Think ahead – will these idea fly in your company?
        • Develop in-house expertise.
        • Stay out of the code.
        • Use styles and CSS for all formatting.
        • Stay flexible – font sets, relative sizes.
        • Validate your code – try http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator
        • Think inside the box – Avoid tool “hacks”.
    • 23. Validation Example
      • For example, this page:
    • 24. Validation To This…
      • From Jigsaw – but do these errors matter?
    • 25. Thinking Outside That Box…
      • This WinHelp code: Produced this:
    • 26. Until the Box Closed…
      • As HAT HTML converter “fixed” to this:
    • 27.
      • Next Steps…
    • 28.
      • Once you understand the environment, you can move from strategy to specific tactics:
        • Information analysis and type definition.
        • Control mechanism definition.
        • Output definition and cross-output feature set “rationalization”
        • Sources and types of content, writing changes.
        • Tool evaluation/re-evaluation, purchase.
    • 29. As You Do, Remember…
      • KISS!
      • Plan before you begin in order to:
        • Minimize flailing and operational disruption during implementation.
        • Help internalize the processes in the company.
        • Minimize feature and expectation creep, esp. in political environments.
      • KISS!
    • 30. Thank you... Questions? Hyper/Word Services 978-657-5464 [email_address] www.hyperword.com Twitter: NeilEric
    • 31. Hyper/Word Services Offers…
      • Training • Consulting • Development
        • Flare • RoboHelp • RoboInfo • Mobile
        • Mimic • Captivate
        • XML
        • Single sourcing • Structured authoring