[Workshop] Analyzing Your Deliverables: Developing the Optimal Documentation Library
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[Workshop] Analyzing Your Deliverables: Developing the Optimal Documentation Library

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Presented by Nicki Bleiel at Documentation and Training LIfe Sciences, June 23-26, 2008 in Indianapolis....

Presented by Nicki Bleiel at Documentation and Training LIfe Sciences, June 23-26, 2008 in Indianapolis.

Documentation deliverables have evolved beyond manuals and online help in recent years, and with the emergence of Web 2.0, things are changing faster than ever. Technical communicators have many more options to enhance the user experience, and developing many of them provide the opportunity to work with other departments to find a more holistic approach to content development and delivery. But there is no one-size-fits-all set of solutions. This workshop will review the types of analysis you need to do to determine which deliverables are right for your project, your customer, and your company.

Other factors that can’t be ignored, such as translation needs, staff/time constraints, file size limitations, corporate image and control, and proprietary concerns will also be discussed, including:

Analyzing the Product

* Intended audience; delivery method (desktop, web application, etc.); competitor offerings; software development methodology. The UI as part of the Help system. Product Management expectations.


Identifying User Wants and Needs

* Preferences and expectations for information; work environment; knowledge and experience levels.


Ascertaining Internal Needs and Opportunities

* Working with Training, Support, and Marketing to reduce duplication and provide the user with consistent, useful information.
* Finding ways to incorporate information from other departments to improve documentation.


Accessing Deliverable Options

* What is the optimum mix for the product?
* The traditional: online help, manuals, embedded help, job aids, forums, web sites, technical support knowledgebases.
* Emerging trends: wikis, blogs, RSS feeds, software demonstrations, podcasts, and other collaborative tools. They can supplement and/or enhance the traditional. Or, they may be a better fit for internal knowledge management or marketing use.


Optimizing the Library

* Single-sourcing; best practices for structuring information; continuous publishing

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[Workshop] Analyzing Your Deliverables: Developing the Optimal Documentation Library [Workshop] Analyzing Your Deliverables: Developing the Optimal Documentation Library Presentation Transcript

  • Analyzing Your Deliverables: Developing th Optimal D l i the O ti l Documentation Library (in a Web 2.0 World) Nicky Bl i l Ni k Bleiel Senior Information Developer ComponentOne DocTrain Life Sciences 2008 Indianapolis, IN June 26, 2008
  • What we ll discuss we’ll • Analysis y • Deliverables • Traditional • Web 2.0 • Putting it all together • What’s on the horizon? What s
  • Bottom Line What it’s all about … • Giving customers what they need •Bl Balancing customer needs and company needs i d d d • Driving the deliverables
  • PRODUCT ANALYSIS
  • Product Analysis y • How is the product delivered? p • What is your software development process? • What are the current library deliverables?
  • User Wants and Needs Your • How they work audience • Where they work • Skill level • Preferences
  • User Wants and Needs How to find • Interview out – Customer Support – Q/A – Training – Power Users • Read customer forum • Site visits • Surveys
  • Company Needs Your • Corporate Expectations audience • Corporate Image • Corporate Philosophy • Proprietary Concerns • Regulatory Concerns
  • Company Needs How to find • Talk to out – Product Mgmt. – Marketing • Look at Intranet – Blueprints – Road Maps – Requirements q • Don’t forget IT
  • Knowledge Management and Reuse • Investigate – discover sources of information • Find out what can be reused and shared • Let others know what you have available • Drive knowledge management • Encourage consistency
  • LIBRARY DELIVERABLES
  • User Assistance Matrix • Matrix that covers all deliverables we will discuss. Includes: • Deliverable • Explanation/Details El ti /D t il • Features • Things to think about • Will reference as we go along g g
  • Popular UA Technologies Source: 2007 WritersUA Skills and Technologies Survey http://www.writersua.com/surveys/skillstec h07/skillstech_techs.htm
  • The Traditional Characteristics • Comprehensive • Controlled • Defined Organization/Structure • Taxonomy • Content Authors – One to Many
  • The Traditional • Manuals • Online Help • Embedded Help p
  • Brief History/Future of Online Help y p • 1988: QuickHelp p • Help for MS-DOS; Helpmake.exe • No HATs • 1990: WinHelp • RTF/Microsoft Help Compiler • Si l Single-sourcing b i born; fi t HAT released first HATs l d • 1997: HTML Help • Microsoft HTML Help Workshop released • HTML Help the new standard/Browser-based Help introduced
  • Brief History/Future of Online Help y • 2001 • Help 2.0 engine released, but only for integration with Microsoft Visual Studio. • 2003 • Announcement that Help 2.0 will not be released as a platform; Longhorn Help may be released in future future. • 2005 • Security fix affects .chm files on a network. • Announcement that Vista Help engine (formerly Longhorn Help) will not be released. Now named AP Help (Assistance Platform) Platform).
  • Brief History/Future of Online Help Notable facts about AP Help (originally announced 2003): • Uses XML (AML) markup • The “Assistance Escalation Path Assistance Path” Well designed UI A it Assistance Di Directly i UI tl in Help Pane and Help Center User Community y Your Product Support Center What s What’s next?? Update on new Help initiatives. initiatives
  • The Traditional • Job Aids • Websites /Intranets • Knowledgebases g
  • Traditional/Web 2.0 Transitional • Customer Forums • Demonstration Videos
  • MATRIX REVIEW: THE TRADITIONAL/TRANSITIONAL
  • Web 2.0 — Descriptions “Harnessing collective intelligence” g g — Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media “The living web” “The active web” “The read/write web” —Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia
  • Web 2.0 Characteristics • Not Comprehensive • Not Controlled • Organic Organization/Structure • Folksonomy • Content Users – Many to M M t Many • “Crowdsourcing”
  • Web 2.0 Includes: • Wikis • Podcasts • Blogs • Widgets/Gadgets g g • Social Networks … and combinations of all the above
  • Web 2.0 20 Not everyone contributes equally – y q y • Creators (18%) • Critics (25%) ( ) • Spectators (48%) But all are important. p From Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Li and Bernoff
  • Wikis Websites that can be edited by anyone • Allow synchronous collaboration • Great for building Communities of Practice (COPs) ( ) • Keeper of the “Group Memory” •EExcellent for internal ll t f i t l knowledge management
  • EXAMPLES
  • Wikis Wiki drawbacks • Learning curve • Maliciousness • Adoption For those who prefer it, Twiki is a structured Wiki. See www.wikimatrix.org for list of wiki tools
  • Podcasts Downloadable audio files • Informal; can be very useful for certain audiences • Very easy to create/inexpensive y y p • Can be used to deliver training • Can post to iTunes (Technology: Software How To category) as free downloads. • Keywords in podcast title will increase findability findability.
  • EXAMPLES
  • Podcasts Challenges g • May not work for your audience • Generating material frequently g q y • Gathering talent
  • Blogs Originally “weblogs” or online g y g diaries • Can increase Search Engine Optimization O ti i ti (SEO) for your f company/ product • Can be used to promote/educate Blog & Comments = a customers about product features Conversation. Listening required. • Management can blog to employees l Have something to say… be ready for feedback.
  • EXAMPLES
  • Widgets/Gadgets g g Mini-apps pp • Updated weather, etc. • Used on webpages/social networking profiles • Can be used to broadcast any information
  • EXAMPLES
  • Social Networks Interactive communities that share interests/information The usual suspects: • MySpace.com, Facebook.com, LinkedIn.com News b k N bookmarking: ki • Reddit.com, Digg.com, Fark.com, Mixx.com Website bookmarking: • Stumbleupon.com, Del.icio.us.com Blog bookmarking: • Technorati.com Th ti
  • EXAMPLES
  • Social Networks Let’s look at some trends/statistics… trends/statistics • What’s in it for your y company? • What is the audience a dience interested in?
  • RSS Feeds RSS Feeds drive Web 2.0 • Really Simple Syndication • Makes it possible for users to receive a notice every time information is updated. • RSS Aggregators gather feeds and make information easier to keep track of. - Google Reader - Bloglines • Makes Web 2.0 a “push” rather than a “pull” system pull system.
  • MATRIX REVIEW: WEB 2.0 20
  • Incorporating Web 2.0 with Traditional •IIssues • Pitfalls • GAINS ( (can b substantial) be b i l)
  • Web 3.0 What is it? Many definitions • Th “Semantic Web” The “S ti W b” ― Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web One definition you will like…
  • OPTIMIZING YOUR LIBRARY
  • Best Practices • Analyze often • Know your audience • Keep up with trends • Tie Traditional/Web 2.0 efforts together Traditional • Single Sourcing • St t i Information Structuring I f ti • Continuous Publishing Web 2.0 • Encourage Communities of Practice • Explore non-doc goals, such as SEO non doc • Gather champions/product evangelists
  • Tips and Tricks • Post Videos on YouTube • Post Podcasts on iTunes • Post Presentations on Slideshare.net • Post PDFs (etc.) on Scribd.com • Embed all on your website, blog, etc. (code provided)
  • Putting It All Together g g • Have solid (traditional) UA as a foundation ( ) • Supplement as is logical • If Web 2.0 initiatives embraced, monitor and nurture – You are the expert; don’t ignore it – Goals beyond doc – Use Google Alerts to follow your industry
  • IN CONCLUSION …
  • You are not alone ALL Information professions are p changing… • Journalism • Public Relations • Marketing
  • A final thought g This is EXTREME continuous publishing … Your “b k” will never b fi i h d! :-) Y “book” ill be finished! )
  • MORE INFORMATION … ARTICLES, BOOKS, ARTICLES BOOKS CONFERENCES
  • More Information Books Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff Wikipatterns b St Wiki tt by Stewart Mader tM d Website: wikipatterns.com; Blog: ikiw.org Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes g Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
  • More Information Articles STC Intercom Web 2.0 issue Sept/Oct. 2007 http://www.stc.org/intercom/index.0910.2007.asp The Wisdom of the Chaperones by Chris Wilson Slate.com htt // Sl t http://www.slate.com/id/2184487 lt /id/2184487 What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software by Tim O’Reilly O Reilly http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/200 5/09/30/what-is-web-20.html What do you want from Social Media? Socialmediatrader.com http://socialmediatrader.com/what-do-you-want-from- social-media/
  • More Information 10 Best Intranets of 2008 (Jakob Nielsen) ( ) http://www.useit.com/alertbox/intranet_design.html Web 2.0 Neglecting Good Design ( (Jakob Nielsen/BBC) ) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6653119.stm 5 Uses for a Wiki at Work (Chris Brogan) http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/5 uses for a wiki at http://www lifehack org/articles/technology/5-uses-for-a-wiki-at- work.html SharePoint: Wiki While You Work (Mauro Cardarelli) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/cc162514.aspx http://technet microsoft com/en us/magazine/cc162514 aspx Company Blogging 101 (Matt Cutts) http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/company-blogging-101/
  • More Information The Content Wrangler Community g y http://thecontentwrangler.ning.com/ Id I’d Rather Be Writing blog (includes TechWriter Voices podcasts) http://www.idratherbewriting.com/
  • Conferences Web 2.0 Summit http://www.web2summit.com/ WikiSym – International Symposium on Wikis http://www.wikisym.org/ws2008/index.php/Main_ Page SOBCon – Biz School for Bloggers http://www.sobevent.com/ http://www sobevent com/
  • Questions Contact information: Nicky Bl i l Ni k Bleiel ComponentOne Pittsburgh, PA nickyb@componentone.com nickyb@componentone com www.componentone.com Blog “Technical Communication Camp Technical Camp” http://blogs.componentone.com/CS/blogs/techcamp/default.asp x Podcast on T h Writer Voices/Interview with Tom Johnson Pd t Tech W it V i /I t i ith T Jh Analyzing Your Users and Needs Before Creating help Deliverables