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The Future is Now: Neuroscience, Chatbots, Voice, and Microcontent


Published on

Discover the role of microcontent as a core component of structured topics.

Presented by:
Barry Saiff - Founder and CEO, Saiff Solutions, Inc.
Rob Hanna - President, Precision Content Authoring Services

Published in: Technology
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The Future is Now: Neuroscience, Chatbots, Voice, and Microcontent

  1. 1. Scott Abel aka “The Content Wrangler” Your Host ● Internationally recognized content strategist ● Helps organizations deliver the right content to the right audience, anywhere, anytime, on any device ● Featured presenter at content industry events ● Serves on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information.
  2. 2. Barry Saiff Your Speaker ● 35 years in technical documentation ● Led content development teams at Symantec, Oracle, IBM, and GE ● Founded Saiff Solutions in 2011 ● Provides technical writing services to large enterprises in Australia, Japan, Canada, US
  3. 3. Rob Hanna Your Speaker ● Professional technical communicator ● Leading expert in structured XML authoring, DITA and content management ● President & Co-Founder of Precision Content Authoring Solutions. ● President of the STC Eastern Ontario Chapter.
  4. 4. Agenda ● How topic-based authoring makes a difference ● Limitations of prevalent topic-based methodology ● How microcontent improves structured content for standard applications ● How microcontent enables chatbots, voice automation, and other applications ● Why and how user intent matters ● How do we get from topic-based to microcontent (Precision Content approach)
  5. 5. Brief history of content What goes around … … eventually comes around One-to-OneOne-to-Many CONTENT 1.0 One-to-Many More CONTENT 2.0 Many-to-Many CONTENT 3.0 Reach Many to Many + Machines IoT CONTENT 4.0
  6. 6. Complexity of content grows bigger Scroll Codex Document Topic Block FactPage
  7. 7. Units of content get smaller Scroll Codex Document Topic Block FactPage
  8. 8. Volume of content grows unabated 1700 1900 2014 20201945 80% of this is Dark Data … Inaccessible ROT • R – redundant • O – obsolete, or • T – trivial
  9. 9. What is topic-based authoring? “Topic-based authoring is a modular content creation approach…” “A topic is a discrete piece of content that is about a specific subject, has an identifiable purpose, and can stand alone…”
  10. 10. How topic-based authoring makes a difference By writing topics, vs. entire books, technical writers can create content that is: ● Reusable, adaptable, and accessible ● Consistently structured, and therefore predictable ● Easier to find, read, and automate ● Consumable by both humans and technology
  11. 11. Opportunities for Topic-Based Authoring ● Speed to market ● Reduced maintenance effort ● Better opportunities for reuse ● Balancing workload ● Finer control over project management ● Opportunities for collaboration ● Clearer, more concise minimalist content
  12. 12. Book-based versus topic-based models ● Multiple authors per book ● Topics serve multiple products and audiences ● Content development is iterative ● Presentation layout can be template-driven ● Well suited for modular hardware/software products with short lifecycle or long life span. ● One author per book ● Books serve a single product and audience ● Content development is linear ● Presentation layout requires manual work ● Well suited for highly technical or one-of- a-kind products with a long development cycle and/or short life span. Book-based Topic-based
  13. 13. Limitations of prevalent topic-based methods ● Topic reuse can be quite limited. ● Reusing paragraphs or sentences can be cumbersome to maintain without a consistent microcontent/chunking methodology. ● People want answers to their questions. For some questions, they don’t want a list of links, or three pages to read. They want a sentence that answers the exact question they asked. ● Without microcontent, only a limited number of questions can generally be answered via an automated process. ● Topic-based authoring or DITA alone cannot fully support precise natural English answers, whether via a chatbot, voice automation, or a query function.
  14. 14. Inescapable trends in technical communication ● Content becomes much more precise & technical ● Content creation becomes much more collaborative ● Content creation becomes one part in a total system ● Content activities become much more complex
  15. 15. Microcontent Is content that is ● about one primary idea, fact, or concept ● easily scannable ● labelled for clear identification and meaning, and ● appropriately written and formatted for use anywhere and any time it is needed. It’s not microcontent just because it’s small
  16. 16. How microcontent improves structured content ● It improves the quality of content in terms of: ○ Findability ○ Accessibility ○ Credibility ● Microcontent breaks apart information into chunks, making it easier to retrieve, repurpose, manage, and use. It creates a better experience for users.
  17. 17. Polling Question #1 ● Do you use DITA or another topic-based architecture? ● Do you chunk topics into microcontent? a) No, we use a book-based approach. b) Yes, we use a topic-based approach, but not microcontent. c) Yes, we use a topic-based approach and microcontent. d) Other.
  18. 18. How microcontent enables new content channels The Human Brain Technology Find Understand Use, and Retain Integrate Search Process, and Reuse
  19. 19. Why and how user intent matters ● In creating structured content, you have to consider the profile of your audience, how you intend to deliver the content, and what kind of experience you want your audience to have. ● What do you want the reader to do with this information? ○ Understand it? ○ Use it in performing a task?
  20. 20. Making a cup of tea 2nd Person, present tense 3rd Person, present tense 1st Person, past tense What is the … Intended Reader Response? … to instruct you on how to make tea. … to describe to you how tea is made. … to engage you in a story about tea.
  21. 21. Precision Content® information types ● REFERENCE ○ DESCRIBES things the reader needs to KNOW ● TASK ○ INSTRUCTS the reader on HOW TO DO things ● CONCEPT ○ EXPLAINS things the reader needs to UNDERSTAND ● PROCESS ○ DEMONSTRATES to the reader how things WORK, and ● PRINCIPLE ○ ADVISES the reader about what they need TO DO or NOT DO and WHEN.
  22. 22. Mapping Human Memory Function Procedural Working Semantic Budson and Price, 2005, New England Journal of Medicine
  23. 23. How do we get from topic-based to microcontent - The Precision Content approach The Three Laws of Precision Content ● Utility ● Maintainability ● Usability Content solutions should be technology-neutral.
  24. 24. Topics and blocks ● Consider what happens if we focuses writing at the block- level within topics ● The short description supports the title of the topic as a block ● Every block is an information type supporting the topic Task Topic Task title Task body Context Purpose Prerequisites Steps Post-requisites Result Primary Block Blocks REFERENCE PRINCIPLE TASK PRINCIPLE REFERENCE
  25. 25. Microcontent as building blocks of information
  26. 26. Polling Question #2 What is your experience with chatbots or voice automation? a) We are developing or repurposing content for chatbots or voice automation. b) My company has started using chatbots or voice automation, but my team is not yet working on that. c) We are exploring the use of chatbots or voice automation. d) I am interested in learning more to get ahead of the curve. e) Other.
  27. 27. Polling Question #3 Would you like to discuss your content challenges with us in a free consultation? a) Yes, please contact me. b) No, but I’d like more information about the services of Saiff Solutions, Inc. c) No, but I’d like more information about the services of Precision Content Authoring Services. d) Maybe later. e) No thanks.
  28. 28. Q&A