Giving Customers What They Want: Integrating Content into the Customer LifeCycle [Noz Urbina]

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Modern product development (especially in the software industry) is a faster-paced and more iterative process than ever before. In business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets, globalization puts added pressures on innovation and the ability to give specific audiences the customer experience they are after.

Using both theory and case studies, this presentation will address ways of increasing the customer experience by:

Being the user advocate in product design for a more consistent, streamlined user experience.

Ensuring your content management process can handle the future of content delivery, embedded
User Assistance (eUA) and dynamic, multi-device, mobile-ready content experiences.

Using tech comm to bridge development, support and content by soliciting and actioning customer feedback.

Structuring for success in the face of diversifying, accelerating product development requirements with topic-based authoring, structure, metadata and content management.

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  • Modern product development (especially in the software industry) is a faster-paced and more iterative process than ever before. In business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets, globalization puts added pressures on innovation and the ability to give specific audiences the customer experience they are after.Using both theory and case studies, this presentation will address ways of increasing the customer experience by:Being the user advocate in product design for a more consistent, streamlined user experienceEnsuring your content management process can handle the future of content delivery, embedded User Assistance (eUA) and dynamic, multi-device, mobile-ready content experiencesUsing tech comm to bridge development, support and content by soliciting and actioning customer feedbackStructuring for success in the face of diversifying, accelerating product development requirements with topic-based authoring, structure, metadata and content management
  • Modern product development (especially in the software industry) is a faster-paced and more iterative process than ever before. In business-to-business and business-to-consumer markets, globalization puts added pressures on innovation and the ability to give specific audiences the customer experience they are after.Using both theory and case studies, this presentation will address ways of increasing the customer experience by:Being the user advocate in product design for a more consistent, streamlined user experienceEnsuring your content management process can handle the future of content delivery, embedded User Assistance (eUA) and dynamic, multi-device, mobile-ready content experiencesUsing tech comm to bridge development, support and content by soliciting and actioning customer feedbackStructuring for success in the face of diversifying, accelerating product development requirements with topic-based authoring, structure, metadata and content management.
  • Mobile phones linked to cars, get far more information from error codes “Oil light”
  • Dawson Bunn said I don't think we have enough information for EA. It will need bulking outEmbedded UAUser assistance PopupBlog Post: attending the Australasian Online Documentation and Content Conference (AODC) on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.  Colin Dawson talked about an application he has developed and the online help he has included in the application.Colin is a very experience technical writer, trainer and consultant. He has developed an online timesheet system, with online help in three forms:Menu-based online help — this is the usual sort of thing one might produce via a help authoring tool, typically including a table of contents plus the help topics, sometimes an index and a search.Embedded help — concise text in a panel on the application screen (UI) itself. Colin calls this “mini-help”. Users can collapse the panel, and it will stay hidden until they expand it again. User-contributed help — users themselves can add help topics to the application screens. Embedded helpAfter a couple of years of design and usability testing, Colin has formulated definite and well-articulated principles for an embedded help system. Here are the points which I picked up, though I’m sure there were more which I missed The embedded help content should not be a hard-coded part of the application. It should be sourced from a separate file, and should be owned by the technical writer rather than the development team.The text has to be concise, because there’s not much real estate on the UI.The text must link to the more detailed menu-based online help system.It goes without saying, but let’s say it anyway: the text must be context-sensitive i.e. it must relate to the screen on which it appears.The help topics for the embedded help must not be visible in the menu-based help system. Hide them from the table of contents, index, search. They would just be misleading. (This may seem a no-brainer to people who haven’t developed online help systems. But it needs to be said, because the writer will need to instruct the help authoring tool to exclude these topics specifically.)Tooltips and popups are evil  — intrusive and the users have no control over them. They often even hide the screen content.User-contributed helpColin’s application allows the users to add their own help items to each application screen. He calls this “Our Help”. This functionality is roles-based, i.e. different users have different roles and therefore different create/modify/view permissions on the help items. Each user-contributed help item can be:textan image or other filea link to an external locationThe users/customers can contribute their own information, supplementing the technical writer’s knowledge.Colin’s system also gathers information about the usage of the help system and the user-contributed help items added. He emphasized that such user-contributed help must be monitorable and traceable.Usability testingColin has spent a lot of time researching the usage of the application and the help. In one set of tests, he compared the user interaction in (a) the application with both embedded and menu-based help, and (b) the application with only menu-based help i.e. no embedded help. Survey results showed that:If the embedded help was present, many more people knew that the application had a help system. If only menu-driven help was present, people did not find it — even though the “Help” link was on every application page.More people completed the set tasks if embedded help was included.More people were confident about using the system to complete the set tasks if embedded help was included.
  • Dynamic window.UAP [User Assistance popup] (oracle)1 tech author. Overall architecture in his headLets see a demo of this applicationThe pdf manual for this product is 500 pagesWhich are additional to the embedded lessons. So this is not an insignificant application
  • Why is it better than PDF or Tripane help? Context sensitive only one step betterDoesn’t break user context.Trad help waits for the user to be frustrated while eUA is proactive at helpingLearning tool.eUA blurs the line between user help and learning process. Can be designed to do both jobs; could included step by step guidence or instructional help.Can also be contextually driven based on level of user or type of userEmbedded assistance keeps users in their task flowColin has spent a lot of time researching the usage of the application and the help. In one set of tests, he compared the user interaction in (a) the application with both embedded and menu-based help, and (b) the application with only menu-based help i.e. no embedded help. Survey results showed that:If the embedded help was present, many more people knew that the application had a help system. If only menu-driven help was present, people did not find it — even though the “Help” link was on every application page.More people completed the set tasks if embedded help was included.More people were confident about using the system to complete the set tasks if embedded help was included.
  • Identify places on the screens where entry points to the contextual help system (question mark buttons) should be added to be the most helpful to users.
  • No re use strategy employed.Even have 3 translation memories for different content sets. However because its only one man building this he can keep it in his head
  • Giving Customers What They Want: Integrating Content into the Customer LifeCycle [Noz Urbina]

    1. 1. Giving Customers What They Want Integrating Content in the Customer Lifecycle Noz Urbina noz.urbina@mekon.com @nozurbina
    2. 2. Me & Mekon• Consultant, Trainer, Author – Content strategy, TechComms focus – Mekon 20 years, me 10 years, in content and mark- up – Small-to-medium-to-huge enterprises globally• Chairperson for Congility Events (congility.com) – Today‟s Content Needs Agility
    3. 3. TeaserThis deck contains a bat-eared fox ...with good advice for you
    4. 4. Agenda~ The TechComm raison dêtre~ LifeCycles~ Why integrate? – The future revisited – eUA~ Why not?~ Doing it
    5. 5. A TechComm Content Strategy“Making accurate, best-in-class manuals, help and tutorialsavailable to our clients in the format of their choosing.” Blech. It‟s not about manuals, single sourcing or even content“Transfer contextually relevant product knowledge to staffand customers such that we increasing customersatisfaction and drive repeat business”
    6. 6. A TechComm Content Strategy~ Increase profit margins by increased efficiency...~ Raise brand profile by publishing our content online...~ Drive revenues by streamlining access to appropriate content in the pre and post- sales phases...
    7. 7. The Pac-Man Customer (Simple)
    8. 8. Complex
    9. 9. Deliverables > Customer LifeCycle Customer Unaware Recognition Relevance Education Comparison Selection Purchase SupportProduct videoBrochureRelated productinformationCase StudiesWhitepaper /blog articlesApp noteUser manualFAQProd selectiontoolHow toProgrammingReference
    10. 10. Lifecycle
    11. 11. Thoughts~ Device manufacturers are tripping over each other to be the first to usher in the new “killer device” that changes the content consumption landscape~ It might be a new device, or a combination of devices brought together to deliver new experiences
    12. 12. Users expect more
    13. 13. eUA, EmHelp, UAP, mini-help~ Terminology seems to be evolving~ Integral part of the application – Still owned by the authors~ Minimalism is King – Limited real estate – Consumed at a glance (then back to work)~ Pop-ups are evil(?) – Scratching the surface of eUA – It‟s NOT Clippy
    14. 14. Canon Printer eUA~ When my printer errors, it asks me if it can send my data to the manufacturer to send m e the latest, greatest content from their servers – Errors link directly to the trouble-shooting task and navigate for me to the right content – I can build up „my manual‟ of my favourite topics~ (Key tasks appear with animations on the printer itself)
    15. 15. Over the consent wall
    16. 16. Ableton Live~ Ableton Live delivers two types of embedded help~ 3rd parties have built iPad interfaces, meaning you can simultaneously control Ableton‟s software from the iPad and/or the PC
    17. 17. Ableton Live
    18. 18. And so on...
    19. 19. Benefits of eUAWhy is it better than PDF, Tripane or Context sensitive Help?~ Doesn‟t break user context – Proactive in giving help – Not waiting for frustrated user~ Speed – Your software or device is to help them do their day job~ Learning tool – For users and for you!
    20. 20. SilosThe business has silos. The business is a silo.
    21. 21. Silos in the Organisation Customer Needs
    22. 22. Business Unit Silos Customer Needs
    23. 23. Silos in the SME Departments SME‟s say: “Find a good piece of content and grab it! You might never see it again!”
    24. 24. Silos Have Different...~ Budgets~ Managers~ Editing Tools~ Formats~ Repositories~ Cultures~ Countries?~ Languages? Business Units?
    25. 25. Do it~ Map the customer journey~ Map the content model and assets to the journey~ Gap analysis~ Build a (modular) model to address gaps~ Build cross-silo strategy to fill – Information architecture & taxonomy standards / process: ~ Cross-functional scrums? ~ Embedded UA? ~ Support/Training mapping etc? ~ Establish non-partisan „Content Standards Board‟ ~ Governance suffers from silos
    26. 26. Repurposing with content curationOriginal Flow
    27. 27. Content curation and reuse~ Content curation is reusing content for new aims~ Sometimes it can be automated, sometimes can be hand-curated~ If your content is intelligent, you can use existing assets to tell new stories, anywhere
    28. 28. Curation-ready content~ Must be defined and sold differently for different silos and audiences~ Content Strategy driven by formal user and task analysis and corporate goals~ Format neutral , not proprietary(DITA, XML)~ Repository that supports structured content modules~ Delivery platforms that support content queries
    29. 29. Content > Development LifeCycle M0 M1 M2 M3 M... LaunchMarketRequirementsInitialSpecificationsDevelopmentSpecificationsTest SpecsUI StringsUser ManualsSales MaterialsMarketingMaterials“Other DB”...
    30. 30. Layers of Standardisation and Reuse~ Some standards are company-wide, some are local~ Assets = – Content – Templates – Multimedia – Guidelines – (Tools?)
    31. 31. Take-aways~ There isn‟t one standard that will work for the whole enterprise~ It‟s vital to map to the internal and external process, then standardise on what‟s best for the business need – Don‟t chase the “one standard to rule them all”. Something things, like terms, should be globally standard. Other assets might be more local.~ Content needs to be tool agnostic, but each tool can then apply its formatting specifics
    32. 32. Software Process Integration~ Benefits – A variety of viewpoints integrated to make the product better – User Assistance avoided last minute surprises and ‟just before launch‟ crunches ~ Even if last-minute changes were made, UA already had the majority of the work done – Percentage of UA time spent writing went down ~ More time on reviews, but were needing to write less because the interface required less documentation
    33. 33. Software Process Integration~ “Documentation was a 2-way communication tool with customers” – Commenting on the documentation and product in the supported in contexual help~ Future plans to support: – Recorded training access – Proprietary social network access – Log support tickets (implementation status unknown)
    34. 34. Duplicated: “What is it?” “Show/Hide”- “What is it?” and/or- “Showing/hiding it” Also reused in10 other lessons+ manual 10 other lessons+ UI eUA itself + manual= 13 instances = 13 instances
    35. 35. Manual OnlyWhat is it?Show/hide Instructions(Can show image or<desc> text dependingon output context)Manual Only
    36. 36. Reuse means:- Write once- Translate once- Approve once- Pay for once
    37. 37. Final Take-Aways~ The customer doesn‟t care about the org chart – They just want their answer so they can get move on~ We are responsible for the whole CX~ Communication of knowledge is the focus, the deliverables are a means to an end – Focus on task-oriented content services and applications – Your content exists to support their tasks
    38. 38. Final Take-Aways~ The content strategist is often the consultant that aligns the planets so greatness can happen~ Our competitors are starting to work this way, even if we‟re not
    39. 39. Listen to your customers!Thank you!

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