7 Lessons from the Future of Content
Presented by David Dylan Thomas
The past decade has seen seismic shifts in how we create and consume content. Come out to hear Think Company’s Principal and Senior Experience Designer David Dylan Thomas illuminate 7 key aspects of those shifts and how they enable previously under-served voices to be heard. We’ll learn how emerging business models make it both more AND less problematic for content creators to make a living. We’ll learn which stories can be told that could never be told before and how mass participation births new art forms. Examples from the worlds of film, television, music, social, transmedia, and areas we don’t really have a word for yet will help content creators, strategists, and those who build platforms for them understand how to prepare for and profit from the future. We’ll also discuss the following questions: How has the lowered cost of technology been good and bad for creators? How can new business models completely change the game for diversity in content creation? Why do you need to learn everything you can right now about participatory culture?
David Dylan Thomas has developed digital strategies for major clients in entertainment, healthcare, publishing, finance, and retail. A senior experience designer at Think Company, he serves as programmer for Content Strategy Philly, founder of Content Camp, a content strategy instructor at Girl Develop It, and previously consulted at the Corzo Center for the Creative Economy. He is the creator, director, and co-producer of Developing Philly, a web series about the rise of the Philadelphia tech community. He is the creator and host of the Cognitive Bias Podcast and has given standing-room-only presentations at TEDNYC, SXSW Interactive, and the Wharton Web Conference on content strategy and emerging content trends.
“The Cost of Doing Nothing” (Sponsored talk by Vasont Systems)
Presented by Suzanne Mescan
What is “Doing Nothing”? It’s staying with the status quo…not making a change. It’s commonly known as “Saving Money” or even “Free”. But is the cost of doing nothing really free?
If you have content challenges, such as:
- quality issues from copying and pasting content;
- scattered content that’s hard to find;
- multiple versions with no idea which one is the most current one;
- missed deadlines;
- long cycle times;
- content coordination nightmares for translating content;
- high translation costs;
- more work than your staff can handle;
- outdated or unsupported systems;
- content in many different formats;
- inefficient review processes;
- content insecurit ;
- project management and tracking issues;
join this session to find out how much “Doing Nothing” may be costing you and what you can do to make a positive impact on your content and processes.
Suzanne Mescan , Vasont Systems’ President, has worked in all aspects of the information management and publishing industry for more than 30 years, including content management, editorial, art and design, project management, prepress production, printing and binding. Suzanne has authored numerous articles about content management for industry publications and has delivered presentations for the CM Strategies/DITA North America, Intelligent Content, AIIM, and LavaCon conferences, as well as in industry-related group meetings and webinars. She was also a contributing author for the book, Virtual Collaborative Writing in the Workplace: Computer-Mediated Communication Technologies and Processes by Beth L. Hewett and Charlotte Robidoux (Eds.).
The future is decided by your actions today (Sponsored talk by Single-Sourcing Solutions)
Presented by Liz Fraley
How do you prepare for the future when you don’t know what’s there? Do you buy a tool? Change an architecture (like go to XML)? Take a class? Adopt UI/UX practices? Will a grand, sweeping execution of committed action guarantee your place in the future?
Where does the future come from? What do you have to understand to get where you want to go? Every day we make decisions and take actions. Hundreds of them. Each and every one has an impact on the future.
In this session, we’re going to learn how to look into the future and see the steps it takes to get you where you want to go. We’ll talk about how you can adopt change, set your own pace,
In this session, learn how to you can rapidly adopt change and still learn at your own pace.
Learn how to break things down so that you’re on track to get to where you need to be.
I’ll describe several situations where teams have been successful out of the gate. We’ll walk through several real-life situations where teams have done just this, adopted change one step at a time setting a pace and achieving their goals successfully. Learn that you can deliver the standard and quality you do now even if you have to go through change.
Liz Fraley , Single-Sourcing Solutions, is a serial entrepreneur. She’s founded two companies, sits on the boards of three non-profits, and is constantly coming up with new ways to share knowledge in the technical communications and content industries. She has worked in high-tech and government sectors, at companies of all different sizes (from startups to huge enterprises). She advocates approaches that directly improve organizational efficiency, productivity, and interoperability. If you ask her, she’ll say she’s happiest when those around her are successful.
Bits of the Future – Information 4.0 and Tech Comm
Presented by Neil Perlin
Industry 4.0 is a technical model from Germany that supports factory automation and data interchange. It’s driven by standards like iiRDS, RDF, the Internet of Things, and more. Information 4.0 is the recently proposed information component of Industry 4.0. It’s basically a cool term for tech comm technologies, some current, some cutting edge, and some emerging.
Technical communicators won’t be defining Industry 4.0 protocols, but we’re likely to be documenting them. And the knowledge and skills needed to do that documentation will apply in other areas as well. So Information 4.0 is essentially a view of the future of tech comm arising from a specific and, for now, niche perspective. Think of it as equivalent to SDK/API documentation in 2005 and you’ll have the right idea.
Information 4.0’s characteristics have been defined as “molecular, dynamic, offered, ubiquitous, spontaneous, and profiled automatically”. What does that mean? Is it something in some vague future or can it be implemented now? How might it affect your company? Tech comm? You? It seems far off and conceptual but bits of it exist now. This presentation looks at those bits to define Industry 4.0 and Information 4.0, their direction, and their impact.
We’ll look briefly at Industry 4.0. We’ll then turn to Information 4.0’s concepts and characteristics per Andy McDonald’s overview at Documation 2017 in Paris in March 2017. We’ll then look at existing and emerging technologies and tools that support these characteristics to see what kind of implementation is possible today. You’ll leave this presentation with a sense of an emerging technology and a possible future for tech comm.
Neil Perlin is an internationally-known online content consultant for companies from startups to F100. He created and ran the Beyond the Bleeding Edge sessions at the STC Summits for 15 years, was an Intercom columnist for15 years, and is a 2010 STC Fellow. He now writes the Beyond the Bleeding Edge technology blog. He has been a popular speaker at various STC conferences, Lavacon, DocTrain, MadWorld, TCUK, and others, since 1992. Neil is MadCap-certified in Mimic and Flare, Adobe-certified in RoboHelp, and Viziapps-certified for the Viziapps Studio app development platform. He offers training, consulting, and development for online help, mobile app creation, mobile readiness, and related areas through Hyper/Word Services. His web site is hyperword.com. Find him on LinkedIn, and Twitter. Contact him at email@example.com.
Meet Your Customers using the Jobs-to-Be Done Approach
Presented by Donn DeBoard
The core dilemma that every technical communicator faces is understanding the customer. The technical communicator may not be customer-facing. Often, there are gaps in the results of traditional audience analysis. Jobs-To- Be-Done (JTBD) is a customer-centered approach that helps identify a customer’s motivation and anticipated outcomes when performing a job. We’ll discuss the JTBD theory, needs framework, and the job story format. I’ll demonstrate how to build out a short job story. Attendees will have time for hands-on practice. Finally, we’ll reflect on why JTBD can lead to opportunities for innovation.
Donn DeBoard is an experienced technical communicator in the software and financial services industries. He has over 30 years of continual learning in the evolving art and science of technical communications. Donn is an STC Fellow who has been recognized for creating award-winning customer-centered content. Donn is an experienced speaker at both CONDUIT and STC Summit. He has presented a variety of topics on technical communication and user experience. He is a Senior Information Developer at Vertex Inc, a provider of integrated tax technology solutions for corporations, in King of Prussia, PA. He seeks innovative ideas and is extremely curious.
Finally Answering: Who Owns the Website
Presented by Marli Mesibov
When my team set out to redesign the Harvard Pilgrim website, we knew that marketing initiatives would be significant in determining the design choices. What we didn’t expect was the magnitude of the content we would discover, and the internal politics we would navigate right up to launch. As a content strategist and UX practitioner, I learned more over the course of this project than I have on any other, and along the way determined a new process for blending content and design work with governance and organizational change.
In this session we’ll review the case study, with special attention called to the experience of the content team, and the focus on user-centered solutions. I’ll share what worked as well as what didn’t, and provide concrete recommendations on how to accomplish marketing objectives while simultaneously fulfilling user needs.
Goals for the session:
- Hear recommendations for navigating tricky political situations with numerous stakeholders
- Learn methods for developing and clarifying a realistic governance plan
- Discover tools for testing navigation changes and A/B testing, all of which is helpful in bringing stakeholders to agreement
- Find out how content teams can work with compliance departments to comply with legal requirements while also providing a fantastic user experience
Marli Mesibov is the VP of Content Strategy at the design and UX agency Mad*Pow. Her work spans strategy and experiences across websites, web applications, and mobile for enterprise companies and startups. Before coming to Mad*Pow, Marli’s clients included Motorolla, Fidelity Investments, Rowan University, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Care. Her work has helped these clients attract and engage new market subsets. Marli is also the managing editor at UX Booth, and a frequent conference speaker. She has spoken at conferences including LavaCon, Content Strategy Applied, Content Strategy Forum, and ConveyUX. Marli can also be found on Twitter as @marsinthestars, where she shares thoughts on UX Design, content strategy, and Muppets. You can learn more about Marli and her work at http://marli.us
What the FAQ?! Casual discussions on serious questions.
Presented by Christopher Ward and Bernard Aschwanden
Feel stuck with unanswered questions from work because you just don’t have the right people to ask? Like “How do we reduce the volume of crap we get from SMEs” or “Why am I paid so little, but do so much” or “Why can’t I find a job in this crazy field” or even “How can we reduce the crazy that seems to happen before a deadline”? Feel like there is no one to ask or no way to be heard? Maybe there is a situation that never gets anywhere close to a resolution. Does any of that sound familiar? Yeah, now you know what we’re talking about.
In this facilitated conversation all attendees can freely ask questions, describe situations, offer tips, or just take notes. It’s an opportunity to talk to people in the industry, try to find answers, and (hopefully) get solutions to the situations that keep you stuck every day, week, month, or even just pop up once a year.
Bringing a combined total of (oh wow) over 40 years in communications and tech, Bernard and Chris will keep things moving with humor, clarity, insight, and a chance to win prizes. This session should prove to be better than a day at the spa. Leave feeling relaxed and re-energized after a free exchange of ideas structured in a loose framework with your hosts. Their job? Keep the group on track to find the answers you need. Come join us, and show up with questions (none too small or too big), participate freely, and leave with clear and useful solutions to the tech comm community FAQs.
Chris Ward was acquired off waivers by WebWorks. Bernard Aschwanden was a first-round draft pick at Publishing Smarter. Since we can’t put them in a corner, we’ll put them to work and hope for the best. They have broad tech comm experience and have donated a lot of their time to STC in many roles. Despite previous presentations at Conduit (and what we hear from multiple STC communities) we keep inviting them back. Bad on us, but good for you. People seem to like their sessions, and come out of them energized, excited, and engaged. Find out why for yourself.
Convergence: Tech Comm, Meet Marketing. You’ll Get Along Fine
Presented by Bernard Aschwanden
The distinction between marketing communications and technical communications is far less pronounced than it once was. Managers see little difference in skillsets and often put content creators together in one role or department – and maybe they’re right. There is truly little difference between them. They’re both an always-on dialogue with the user. Pre-sales content (marketing content) is increasingly focused on providing enough technical details so potential buyers can make an informed decision.
Post-sales content (technical content), while always focused on providing enough technical details to use the product, is now evolving to provide more useful information based on business goals, presented in a more usable way, and available in a helpful format.
Bernard Aschwanden has excelled in technical communication as a trainer, courseware developer, team leader, manager, and business owner. As founder of Publishing Smarter, Bernard works with organizations to create, manage, and distribute content based on technical communication best practices. He really wants companies to take the idea that content is a business asset seriously. It may be the single most valuable asset a business has.
Why is My Team Failing?
Presented by Christine Loch
The prevalence of virtual-based teams have increased significantly within recent decades as a result of expanding corporate globalization. This rapid growth has exacerbated communication issues within the global virtual team setting. Issues related to poor work-life balance due to variance in work time zones, poor dissemination of team decisions and discussions, and insufficient use of collaborative tools, are common issues within the global diverse virtual team. Challenges exist even in virtual teams that are based in a single region, as differences in functional backgrounds and departmental cultures create challenges which are difficult to address within their virtual setting. Although interdependent constructs appear to be straight-forward and clear, the challenges teams face in accomplishing a shared goal is complex. Research in the area of team dynamics has provided support and guidance on improving interpersonal relationships, communications, and planning; thereby, enhancing team efficiencies. This presentation will review emotional intelligence (EI) and how it relates to the current team efficacy research. The related attributes and challenges at the individual, team, leadership, and organizational level will be reviewed with a focus on enabling the virtual-based team to succeed.
With over 16 years of experience as a virtual team member, Christine Loch brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the science of team dynamics. She is currently completing her PhD in organizational leadership at Northeastern University, Boston MA, with a research focus on team dynamics in the virtual-setting. As a past presenter at the national Drug Information Association Conference, and several times a presenter at the national Oncology Nursing Society Congress, Christine brings an engaging presence on this captivating topic, which will leave the audience with at least one new pearl of wisdom to try out on their own virtual-based teams at home.
Getting Volunteers: Recruiting the Next Generation
Presented by Jessie Mallory
We are all looking for ways to get people more involved, whether it’s at work, a team project, or your local STC chapter. This presentation will walk you through the development and implementation of a strategic plan for volunteer recruitment, using examples from my first-hand experience with the Community Affairs Committee. We’ll start with an introduction to OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act) and SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analyses, techniques taught in Project Management courses for assessing resources and evaluating potential opportunities. We’ll then discuss root cause analysis, communication management plans, stakeholder classification models, conversational techniques, and the basics for creating a useful strategic plan for recruitment. Easy-to-follow examples and interactive experiences will prepare you with readily applicable skills and some longer-term tools to inspire the next generation of volunteers.
Jessie Mallory is an IT Project Manager for cybersecurity software at Nuix. In her role, she communicates with all parts of the company, identifies and mitigates risks, and leads an Agile development team. Jessie is on the STC Board of Directors, serves as Vice Chair for the Community Affairs Committee, and is a proud member of the Philadelphia Metro Chapter. Jessie is the Director of Membership Services for the Project Management Institute’s Delaware Valley Chapter, a certified Project Management Professional, a Certified Scrum Master, and a webmaster for local non-profits.
Networking for Geeks
Presented by Brian Winter
Hate networking? Me too. This session offers practical tips for how introverts (and extraverts, too) can change the game of networking to make it more effective for us, and maybe even enjoyable. Build partnerships, connect with opportunities, and achieve vast riches and legendary glory.* We’ll cover how to get started, networking strategies, and techniques for creating genuine connections versus just making “small talk.”
* Your mileage may vary.
Brian Winter is an experienced do-er and leader of all kinds of business communication. He’s done project leadership / project management, technical writing, websites, social media, multimedia and e-Learning, brochures, newsletters, white papers, proposal management, and video production (script-to-screen writing, producing, directing, editing). “Other duties as assigned” include leading a task force for sustainability, developing strategy and programs to spark and reward innovation, UI design and usability, requirements analysis, process improvement, and being an embarrassment to his daughter.
Communicate the Future
Presented by David Caruso
Since the dawn of our profession, we have explained things that were not yet real. Technologies that existed in the minds of engineers, scientists, architects and visionaries had to be documented and described in detail for those who would use them and eventually repair them. So in essence we have always been communicating the future. In this session we will apply lessons of the past to the future, which I believe is full of opportunities for the explainers of complex things (read: us)! But in order to take advantage there are a few things we must do now to prepare ourselves for that day yet to come. I will use examples like autonomous vehicles and real-time biomonitoring to explore how major disruptions will make the technical communicator of tomorrow indispensable. We will look at domains which are in desperate need of our skills now (even if they don’t know it) in order for them to remain relevant. And we will talk about how to get ready for all change, because as we know from Heraclitus “Change is the only constant in life.”
David Caruso currently works as a Senior Health Communication Specialist for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). He has been instrumental in helping NIOSH improve their communication efforts to translate meaningful research into workplace interventions and improvements in health and safety. David is an Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication where he has been active in the local Pittsburgh Chapter and at the society level. This year he is the Conference Committee Chair which is responsible for the STC Summit happening in May 2018.
Software Localization: Inside the Black Box
Presented by Kenneth Farrall
Going global with mobile apps, SaaS, and cloud solutions requires translation and localization for multiple languages. Software developers and technical communicators may be the most tech-savvy people around, but if you aren’t familiar with the localization process, it can look like a black box.
In this presentation, we’ll break open the black box and unpack the tools and workflows used by software localization experts.
- Computer Aided Translation (CAT) software. We’ll discuss how these tools capture and parse translatable text, increasing speed, accuracy, and efficiency.
- Quality Assurance software. These use algorithms to flag potential errors in any language.
- Emerging tools for agile workflows. These allow for ongoing changes to source code and continuous delivery of localized versions without disrupting workflows.
You’ll come away with a better understanding of how the decisions made by technical communicators and software developers impact the translation process. A look inside the localization black box prepares your team for efficient, cost-effective software localization.
Kenneth Farrall brings decades of experience in cross-cultural communication, electronic media and digital publishing to the MTM LinguaSoft team. Ken’s experience leading a Chinese business information company, Xiamen Xindeco, into the Internet age in the mid-1990s, and to a successful public listing on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, gave him insight into Chinese culture and business practices, inspiring him to develop a series of online publishing ventures dedicated to bridging East-West cultural gaps. Ken received his Ph.D. in Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, is fluent in spoken Mandarin and is experienced in web-development. He lives in West Philadelphia with his wife and three children.