2010 sigdoc keynote


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2010 sigdoc keynote

  1. 1. SIGDOC over the past 10 years - a practioner’s perspective Robert Pierce Advisory Information Developer IBM Corporation
  2. 2. Areas of discussion <ul><li>Changes in technical communication </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in the role and scope of the work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>technical writer -> technical communicator </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>technical communicator -> information developer </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>information developer >user assistance developer </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Less time spent doing content development </li></ul><ul><li>Broader list of tasks to perform </li></ul>
  3. 3. Examples of name changes in the field <ul><li>Documentation > Design of Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Computer science > Informatics </li></ul><ul><li>Technical Communication > Human Centered Design & Engineering </li></ul>
  4. 4. Informatics at Indiana University (site of SIGDOC 2009) <ul><li>Where other schools excel in engineering, Informatics is building its reputation on human-centered and area-specific informatics balanced by strong foundations, systems, AI/CogSci, e-science, databases and programming languages provided by the Department of Computer Science. </li></ul><ul><li>What is Informatics? </li></ul><ul><li>Informatics is… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>converting data into information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>humming a tune and your search engine correcting the pitch </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>predicting the spread of the next flu epidemic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>combating malicious hackers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>understanding the human genome </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>exploring virtual reality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>supporting cutting edge research </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>developing business solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and more… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Informatics develops new uses for information technology, is interested in how people transform technology, and how technology transforms us. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. HCDE at University of Washington (site of SIGDOC 2012) <ul><li>TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION school was renamed to HUMAN CENTERED DESIGN AND ENGINEERING </li></ul><ul><li>HCDE - The Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering (HCDE) offers seven different degree programs </li></ul><ul><li>HCDE faculty and students are advancing design knowledge by using innovative techniques to study human activity and then translating that knowledge into meaningful information and system designs. HCDE is designing the future by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Considering the role of communication and technology in human activity. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Prioritizing the needs, desires, and behaviors of people and communities who interact with technical systems. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing the specifics of design by working with interdisciplinary communities of researchers to build innovative technological solutions. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Changes in industry/practice <ul><li>Information – considered amongst multiple repositories and created by multiple groups of stakeholders </li></ul><ul><li>Information types – including multimedia, </li></ul><ul><li>Information design and architecture – managing and leveraging the complexity of content use and reuse </li></ul><ul><li>Information delivery – and channels such as blogs and forums </li></ul><ul><li>Information currency – real time updates and feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Information relevance – based on context </li></ul>
  7. 7. Past focus <ul><li>Content development </li></ul><ul><li>Usability </li></ul><ul><li>“Know your audience” </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use passive voice </li></ul><ul><li>Developing quality technical content </li></ul>
  8. 8. Examples from 2001 Proceedings <ul><li>Communicating in the New Millenium </li></ul><ul><li>Design Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Documentation Roles </li></ul><ul><li>Globalization Issues </li></ul><ul><li>Just-in-Time Documentation (such as Open-Source, Learning, Wiki, CSH) </li></ul><ul><li>Online Documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Searching and Indexing </li></ul>
  9. 9. Newer focus <ul><li>Content (development) </li></ul><ul><li>Presentation of content (design and user experience) </li></ul><ul><li>Delivery of content (mediums such as web, graphics, audio, movies, no hard copy) </li></ul><ul><li>Consumability of content (user experience and ongoing enhancements for role-based, filtered and aggregated content) </li></ul>
  10. 10. Current focus <ul><li>Design of communication – more engagement with field and customers, more global audience (and globally distributed collaboration and development) </li></ul><ul><li>Web-focus </li></ul><ul><li>Metadata design and application </li></ul><ul><li>Translation of all content </li></ul><ul><li>Content accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Scope of tech comm across wider ranges of info. resources and spectrum of content including corporate web sites, Support dbs, and other repositories. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Examples from 2009 Proceedings <ul><li>Designing for Users </li></ul><ul><li>Accessibility </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching and Disciplinarity </li></ul><ul><li>Web Design and Analysis </li></ul><ul><li>Help Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Applications and Architectures </li></ul><ul><li>User Assistance and Documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Document Use and Reuse </li></ul><ul><li>Web Design and Development </li></ul><ul><li>The Design of Documentation </li></ul><ul><li>Analyzing Texts </li></ul><ul><li>Interactivity in the Design of Communication </li></ul><ul><li>Online Information Exchange, Use, and Adoption </li></ul><ul><li>Online “Fact-building” and Meaning-making </li></ul>
  12. 12. More content reuse and packaging <ul><li>Products -> modular capabilities </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make areas of functionality in a product componentized and available for reuse (as well as the technical content that supports that capability) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Integrations -> workbenches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make capabilities from different products available in an offering/solution (as well as the technical content that supports those capabilities and how they work, and how to make them work, together) </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Similarities <ul><li>Quality content </li></ul><ul><li>Completeness </li></ul><ul><li>Know your audience </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t use passive voice </li></ul><ul><li>Try to automate as much as possible when content resides in dev. source files (examples – log files, error messages, api ref content) </li></ul>
  14. 14. Differences <ul><li>Quality content diversity and scope – more deliverable types expected in more accessible ways. </li></ul><ul><li>Know your audience in far more detail. Know them by roles, uses cases, scenarios, and goals. </li></ul><ul><li>Be customer-driven – seek out and use customer feedback </li></ul><ul><li>Link multiple information resources together to assist all audiences. </li></ul><ul><li>Work on context-based information/technical contetn/communication. For example use feeds and metadata to filter and aggregate content collections. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Practical matters <ul><li>Hardware and software designs and limitations. For example, the best design of communication needs to help prevent errors such as this: </li></ul><ul><li>Bandwidth Limit Exceeded: The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later. </li></ul>
  16. 16. Information and DOC examples <ul><li>College information: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brochure -> web site </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Technical content: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Manual -> web help, such as online information centers, wikis, portals - increasingly contextualized, customizable, annotatable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Are enhancements should be customer-driven? </li></ul><ul><li>Is findability a key mark of success? </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>DOC in academic settings – for a college web site – who designs and develops and studies it? </li></ul><ul><li>Customers/consumers (student, faculty, parents, alumni, prospective students) </li></ul><ul><li>Developers/IT department (both computer science departments and web developers) </li></ul><ul><li>Researchers (faculty) </li></ul>