Lavacon Program — Session Details

Adobe Pre-Conference Workshop

Adobe invites you to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Adobe FrameMaker and the 20th anniversary of Adobe RoboHelp at LavaCon 2011!

Begin your LavaCon experience with a bang! Mark your calendar for an eventful day with Team Adobe! Meet and celebrate with the Adobe Product Management team. Share your experiences and feedback. Influence the future product roadmap.

Catch experts like Scott Abel and Maxwell Hoffman as they dispel myths about technical writing and simplify content strategy.

Find out what customers and experts feel about the history and future of technical communication and leverage Adobe’s technical communication solutions. Rub shoulders with the “who’s who” of the technical communication industry.

Participate in fun-filled on-the-spot contests and win exciting prizes. Enjoy the exclusive Adobe hospitality…while you learn, network, and grow!

Register here—it’s free!


Adobe invites you to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Adobe FrameMaker and the 20th anniversary of Adobe RoboHelp at LavaCon 2011!

Begin your LavaCon experience with a bang! Mark your calendar for an eventful day with Team Adobe! Meet and celebrate with the Adobe Product Management team. Share your experiences and feedback. Influence the future… product roadmap. Catch experts like Scott Abel and Maxwell Hoffman as they dispel myths about technical writing and simplify content strategy. Find out what customers and experts feel about the history and future of technical communication and leverage Adobe’s technical communication solutions. Rub shoulders with the “who’s who” of the technical communication industry. Participate in fun-filled on-the-spot contests and win exciting prizes. Enjoy the exclusive Adobe hospitality…while you learn, network, and grow!

Agile and Technical Content Development

In the words of one panelist, “Skipping the design phase does not make you Agile!” Is your company moving to Agile/Scrum development? Are you wondering how other documentation departments are coping? Attend this panel discussion and bring your questions and best practices to share.

Automating Translation Management and Locale-specific Builds

It is a little known fact that Microsoft SharePoint includes easy-to-use tools for managing document translation. And it is even less widely known that Doc-To-Help’s integration with SharePoint gives you access to these features and automates processes and tracks changes, taking the pain out of managing a translation project. You can store your content (created in Microsoft Word, Doc-To-Help’s editor, or HTML) in a SharePoint Translation Management Library and use SharePoint’s built-in tools to manage your documents.

When a document is translated, it will automatically synchronize with the appropriate project and all you need to do is generate output. You can track a document’s progress and a Doc-To-Help project’s progress all from inside the Doc-To-Help interface.
Since SharePoint has free versions (and most companies already have it), you get a low-cost and easy way to manage the translation process.

This session will show you how Translation Management Libraries work, how you can use SharePoint workflows to automate your translation process, and how to localize and automate builds in Doc-To-Help, including tips and best practices for your localized projects.

Case Study: How a Global Team Released the Adobe FrameMaker 10 Reviewer’s Guide

Adobe FrameMaker 10 brings a new level of support for content authoring and management.

If you are new to FrameMaker or are considering an upgrade FM10, this sessions shows the functions, the process to do “really cool stuff.” Come see how a multinational team created a guide that contains video, voice/animation, and text to walk someone through the newest features and show them what exists in the product.

Come see the “human face” ofa cross-border team, a project that is truly international in scope!

Case Study: Moving from Book-based to Topic-based Authoring

The benefits of topic-based authoring are fabulous. It is an easy sell to management due to the value gained in productivity and reduction in cost. However, making the transition can seem overwhelming to the writing team. With planning and strategy, you can make a smooth transition to a new authoring approach. Join us to discuss one of our recent projects that converted several book-based guides into one topic-based project. We will share our war stories and top recommendations for a successful transition to a topic-based authoring approach.

Charting a Course to Personal and Professional Fulfillment

Based on a career that spans 30 years as employee, consultant, and business owner in the field of technical communication, Meryl Natchez outlines her thoughts on how to build a successful career—not as a long term plan, but as a daily practice. How do you measure risk, make decisions, interact with others? This session offers a thoughtful approach and practical guidelines for the choices we make every day to help chart a course that leads to personal and professional fulfillment.

Natchez uses examples drawn from interaction with managers, executives, colleagues and employees to illustrate these precepts, and engages the audience in small group discussion of real-world issues they face in their own work situation. The group comes together to discuss the process to acknowledge and overcoming career barriers and achieve results.

The presentation draws on wisdom from a wide variety of sources from Alan Watts to Joe DiMaggio to Marie Curie to Ludwig Wittgenstein. However, it presents a uniquely personal view of success and an unusual approach to achieving it.

Closing Session

Controlled Language: Making It Work for You

Boeing does it. Caterpillar does it. Many industries are either doing it or are interested it in doing it….Controlled Language initiatives restrict the vocabulary used in technical documentation so that it is easier for non-native English speakers to understand, and so that the content is easier to translate. Such initiatives are particularly important when you are considering machine translation as part of your localization strategy. Join us for a lively discussion about implementing Controlled Language for your organization. Moderated by Kit Brown-Hoekstra of Comgenesis.

Converting Unstructured Docs to XML/DITA/EPUB

Mark Gross

There are many demands being placed on technical documentation in today’s electronic environment. The ability to provide this content in a multitude of formats and support a myriad of users is critical for all organizations. This issue requires data teams to possess specialized expertise & processes to ensure successful conversion projects from unstructured to structured formats such as XML, DITA & EPUB. This session will identify the critical elements you need to consider when planning a data conversion project in order to meet the needs of your internal & external requirements and reap the highest ROI in the minimum amount of time.

Create Visual User Assistance With Captivate 5.5

For years, user assistance was largely text-based… written instructions with a few screen shots. This worked, but think how much more effective it would be to have someone to “walk you through the steps.” That’s where Captivate comes in.

Captivate helps you create training “movies” and eLearning inexpensively and quickly. It records what’s on the screen as you perform a software-based task and saves those screen shots as a “filmstrip”. You can then add captions, highlights, special effects, and other features to walk users through the movie. Or add features that simulate mouse clicks and field entries to simulate the actual software and help users learn the subject by doing, not just watching. Captivate also offers LMS (Learning Management System) tools that let you integrate your movies into eLearning systems. And Captivate isn’t just for software training. You can use it to create role-playing simulations for subjects like sales training.

These movies lend themselves to a variety of uses, obviously training but also:

Pre-sales support – posting movies that demo your company’s software on its web site and letting prospective users try the demo on their own.

Tech support – posting movies that answer the twenty most common questions on a tech support page of your company’s intranet.

Disaster recovery – creating movies that show how to restart the servers in the event of a disaster.

The movies are very flexible, able to be run anywhere from users’ PCs to network drives or web sites. And on mobile devices…

In this workshop, we’ll review Captivate’s major features and create a movie for hands-on practice with those features. We’ll then review the advanced features, review what’s new in Captivate 5.5, and review issues when creating movies for use on mobile devices.

This half-day, hands-on workshop is aimed at technical communicators, trainers, disaster recovery and business continuity staff, marketers, and others who need to create visual user assistance quickly and inexpensively. No prior Captivate experience needed, just basic PC skills. You will have to bring a laptop configured with Captivate 5.5. You’ll receive setup instructions about a week before the conference.

Creating a Global Content Value Chain

My staff of 25 supports web content management systems for over 70 countries and 30 languages. Herbalife creates content for over a 100 web sites—with online creation and publishing literally happening around the clock seven days a week. Our greatest challenge is creating a hybrid organization with a global component that sets the vision and business drivers while enabling local/regional teams that exploit specific content opportunities relevant to their local markets.”

Don’t miss this lunch session on how to create a global content value chain: designing an optimal organization to execute business objectives at both the global and local levels.

Creating User Assistance for Mobile Applications

User Assistance does have a role in supporting mobile apps. As the mobile app market continues to soar this is becoming the next frontier for user assistance professionals.This workshop provides instruction and guidance regarding design, writing, tools, and planning your mobile UA. We will cover the key differences between mobile and desktop UA development. We also look at many designs for a variety of user assistance solutions.

In this session you will learn:

  • Where to find opportunities in mobile UA
  • What skill sets are needed for mobile UA
  • How mobile UA is different from the desktop
  • Examples of good and bad design
  • The taxonomy of terms for gestures in iOS, Windows Phone and Android
  • The locations where UI text can be employed within an app for the various platforms
  • How to use simulators for usability testing of word and image designs
  • When and how to use browser-based Help as an alternative and/or complement to user assistance that is embedded in an app.
  • About the hardware and software requirements for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone development

Critical Project Management Skills for Content Developers and Documentation Managers

You’ve just been assigned to a new product release. You are not yet familiar with the existing functionality, and will be developing content for the new features. How do you go about starting?

You are developing content for 3 products. You discover that all three have a deadline within a couple of weeks of each other. You only have two writers to assign to the projects. How do you resolve the issue?

You have a looming deadline for a product you’re familiar with, but that is releasing new features. The Development team is not communicating with you about those features. You have access to the product, but the test bed does not necessarily include all the data you need to play with the features properly. What do you do?

As professionals in our field, we often think we think we can just focus on developing content or managing staff. But in reality, we must manage our projects to get the right result in the right time frame. But who has time to get certified in project management? You need the skills right now.

This interactive workshop will explain the basics of project management, show you how to apply them to your situation, and get the results you need right away.

Customer Retention Through Better Help Documentation

In this session, Jesse Wiles from Quadralay Corporation wil discuss how to choose the right features for your help documentation set that will promote customer loyalty and increase product value.

Designing a UCD-Based Online and Mobile User Experience

User participation in the design of online and mobile interfaces is a common sense concept with a high potential to positively impact the bottom line, but most companies continue to struggle with successfully embedding user-centered design (UCD) into their development efforts. In this session, I will discuss the UCD framework and how it can be integrated into the development cycle to drive ongoing user experience improvements and achieve business goals.

Designing an Infrastructure to Support the Publishing Lifecycle

In this session, I will discuss the general objectives in designing (or redesigning) a publication work flow that leverages XML technology, specifically DITA, to produce multiple outputs from a single set of inputs. I will also discuss how to best support global objectives through content strategy, reuse, and collaboration.

Developing a Global Content Strategy that Works

In this session I will talk about the many things you will need to think about when developing a truly global content strategy. I will take a high-level look into every consideration, from alignment with corporate goals to appropriateness of content in localized deployments. While I will mention types of technologies that can assist with certain content efforts I will focus mainly on methodology and reasoning needed to guide strategy development.

Developing a Global Language: When Words are Not Enough

Developing and delivering content to a world wide audience is a challenge. While translation and localization is one solution, it’s an expensive one. But there are other ways to communicate your message other than through the written word. In this session you will learn about using graphics, color, symbols, icons, sound, video, animation  and other non-textual techniques to be effective communicators in a global market. The session will also include a discussion on the different cultural impacts, and considerations of using non-textual techniques.

Developing a Tech Comm Content Strategy

In this session, we’ll explore how to develop a content strategy specifically for technical content. That means stepping back from the temptation to focus on tools and instead taking a hard look at what the users need and how best to deliver it.

Diverse, Understandable, Human: Creating Content for Everyone

The Internet provides a global audience that challenges anyone who creates content. It’s not just about great copy: It’s about making content accessible to diverse users, such as people with sensory or cognitive impairments and people for whom English is a second language. Come and learn what’s involved in creating great content for everyone.

Document Retention, eDiscovery, and You

Johnette Hassell

In the United States, new federal rules have gone into effect concerning how Electronically Stored Information (ESI) must be stored and then produced when legal action is initiated. The new “eDiscovery” rules go far beyond Sarbanes-Oxley and require proactive steps be taken as part of a company’s day-to-day business activities. And a company can be sanctioned for intentionally destroying evidence if certain procedures are not in place before a lawsuit is filed.

These steps include identifying what data (and metadata) is stored, where and how it is stored, when and how it is destroyed, and more—all of which must be documented in corporate policies and procedures. Attend this session to learn how to expand your sphere of influence—and potentially save your company millions of dollars in legal fines!

Documenting Business Processes

Documenting processes, whether business or systems, can be a rewarding experience or a daunting one. Formerly, we documented processes by modeling the physical process using Microsoft Visio with the business narrative document being developed in Microsoft Word. In the last three years, we have streamlined this documentation step by using one tool, Software AG’s ARIS Design Platform, to capture our physical processes that enable us to add all the business narrative content directly into the process model through the use of object attributes. We now generate a report that collects the object attribute information to produce the Business Process Narrative document. This process somewhat mirrors a structured authoring environment and creates user-optimized content, except we do it with process modeling.

In this session, I’ll be sharing how we selected the attributes, how we populate them, and what the generated report looks like.

Double Trouble: Adding Developer Docs to Your Deliverables

In this session, you’ll learn how one team added new developer documentation to its already long list of end-user deliverables, with no additional headcount, tools, or resources. Our next-generation product combines web controls with web services, and the API for those web services has to be documented for both internal and third-party developers. Having just migrated our legacy user documentation to Doc-To-Help to solve Agile authoring problems, we were able to leverage its API-generation feature to automate builds of the references we needed. Find out how Doc-To-Help lets us share authorship of developer documentation in easy, familiar formats and reuse that content among user docs, context-sensitive Help files, training materials, and websites.

eBooks: Distributing and Monetizing Content Created with Adobe TCS 3.5

A free ½ day seminar open to the public, sponsored by Adobe Systems.

**Bring your laptop to this session!**

Please register here to attend.

Got great content? It’s time to get it out there! Print, PDF and Help are great, but ePub and similar formats are rapidly gaining popularity.

The reason? An eBook delivered via the Amazon Kindle platform can be read and tracked on PC, tablet, smartphone, and of course on the Kindle itself. Assuming you have wireless access, you simply grab the device closest to you and start reading!

In this session you will walk you through the basics of producing formats needed for Kindle and iOS devices. Attendees will then also work through the process of setting up the accounts needed for Amazon and Apple distribution networks.

Adobe TCS 3.5 (FrameMaker 10, RoboHelp 9, Captivate 5.5, Acrobat X, and Photoshop CS 5.1) gives you a straightforward workflow for producing and delivering an incredible range of formats. The best part is that the setup for these outputs takes only a few minutes, and is saved with your project along with the setup of all your other formats.

In other words, adding ePub and applications (app’s) to your quiver of output formats won’t slow down your production process.
See for a list of information you can bring to ensure successful completion of these application processes.


  • Producing ePub via RoboHelp 9
  • Managing ePub content in FrameMaker 10
  • Producing .mobi via Calibre
  • Digital Certificates lab
  • Kindle Account lab
  • Setting up a Corporate account
  • Setting up a Commercial account
  • Apple iOS lab
  • Setting up a Corporate account
  • Setting up a Commercial account

From User Requirements to DITA Output in Four Hours or Less

In about four hours (or less) we will work as a team to create PDF, HTML, and help content from a single source for multiple audiences. We will identify what users need for a specific set of product documentation, plan a complete set of documents, create a delivery plan, outline a map of content, create audience specific content, and create numerous outputs. This will be done using the DITA specification and working with tools including Adobe FrameMaker 10, XMetaL, oxygen, and the DITA Open Toolkit.

All content created will be provided to attendees as a way to ensure that you can work with the same content plan on your own documentation projects.

Global-ready Content NOW!

We all know that translation costs can quickly get out of control. Thankfully, Val Swisher from Content Rules is here to present 8 simple rules you can apply to tame your content and make it cheaper, better and faster to translate. This fast moving session based on Val’s experience working with Global 50 technology companies such as EMC, Cisco, Google, PayPal, and Whirlpool will cover Val’s 8 simple rules:

  • Not all errors are created equal. Some can cost you thousands of dollars.
  • Real copy editors don’t do it without a terminology manager.
  • Use a red pen on that content and you could lose your job after.
  • No complaining about the quality of your tech writers. After all, you agreed to outsource your docs to _______in the first place. (Insert your country here.)
  • If you write flabby copy, even the nicest vendor will gladly mail you a bill for localization that will astound you.
  • Delay this product launch, there’s no next product launch.
  • Creative writing is a myth. Standardize.
  • Localization is a group sport. You want to work alone? Become an accountant.

How to Create an Authoring Infrastructure that Supports 24/7 Global Content Development

McKinsey has published several articles following the need for digital content in Asia.

Internet usage is poised for explosive growth across Asia, driving massive consumer demand for digital content and services. The biggest challenge for businesses hoping to meet this demand is how to make money will while creating low-cost content.”

Let’s consider how technical communication professionals on this side of the world can contribute to this growing need. How do we fit in the picture and take part in this conversation? What value is gained and what lessons can we learn from the high volume of interactivity? How do we apply TC principles to technologies and organizations poised for growth in developing countries? How do you create a authoring infrastructure that supports 24/7 content development?

How to Write English for an International Audience

You know how to write in English to be read, but do you know how to write in English to be globalized into 14 languages? In this fast-moving half-day workshop, Val Swisher, CEO & Founder of Content Rules will cover what you need to know about writing to be translated using international English as your base language. International English ensures your documents can be readily localized with less time, money, and stress. Topics to be addressed include:

  • What Is International English ?
  • Why Use International English ?
  • How to Write Using International English
  • Preparing Visual Content for Localization

This workshop is instructor-led and has hands-on activities, so you walk away with knowledge that you can use once you get back to your workplace.

In-country Review of Translations: Underlying Mines and Added Value

While it is commonly accepted that in-country review is a crucial step in achieving translation quality, the challenges of conducting such review are well known. In this session, the audience will be given a “panoramic” view at ICR, including its place in a typical translation cycle, challenges and added value, applicability criteria, etc. The examples will be based on a case study of running this process for a global organization in a highly regulated environment.

Keynote Session

A ten-year veteran of the localization/translation industry, Matt has overseen all facets of technology sales for TransPerfect Translations and since 2007. Matt’s Technical Sales Team works closely with the entire global sales force of the TransPerfect family of companies to ensure that the proper combination of GlobalLink™ applications is being presented to both current and prospective clients. Matt also takes an active role in managing enterprise engagements that involve technology, and is involved in both development and implementation of technology-related sales and marketing strategies. In addition to overseeing sales efforts for the GlobalLink™ Product Suite, Matt manages global sales for Alchemy Software, the industry leader in visual translation memory solutions. Matt began his career with TransPerfect Translations in 1996, handling sales for enterprise document translation for the Southeast Region, and moved into website localization and technology sales in 1999 with Currently based in Atlanta, GA, Matt is a graduate of The University of Florida and holds a Bachelor of the Arts degree in English.

Keynote Session: Brown Dirt User Experience: Putting Innovation Into Action at the Ground Level

Adam has been knocking around the UX and web content community since 1997 when he took a job with a small web boutique. He wasn’t certain what his job was but he’s remained busy providing the groundwork for some large-scale and famously branded sites. His experience in a long list of industries all came to bear as the roles that characterize User Experience began to take shape. Along the way he has participated and served in several professional communities and is an active speaker and lecturer.

Keynote Session: The Content Revolution

Content is receiving more attention these days than ever before. The question is Why? The second question should then be What does this mean to all of us? This talk will try to stir up some answers by looking at four converging trends that are effectively revolutionizing the business of content: globalization, innovation, optimization and socialization.

These trends are more grounded and practical than they might seem.

  • Under globalization we look at the fact that we are looking at a myriad of audiences working in many languages and in many different ways.
  • Under innovation we look at how products are changing and what this means for the content that stands behind those products and that is frequently delivered as part of them.
  • Under optimization we look at the fact that there is simply too much information to deal with and that we need to manage the underlying sources, the content itself, if we are to cope.
  • And finally, under socialization we will look at how content will be increasingly created, shared and modified by communities of people interacting on a continuous basis.

As befits a lunch gathering, we will use the metaphor of cooking to illustrate how these trends might be reflected in the process of planning, preparing and providing great meals to a discerning clientele.

Keynote Session: The Content Strategy Paradox

The rise of the term “content strategy” has given legitimacy to a field of practice that continues to be defined and refined . It is still a bit of cowboy country where typical deliverables are yet to be articulated, and best practices are yet to be agreed upon. On the other hand, content strategy seems to be everywhere, and underpins discussions of internet strategy, publishing strategy, social media strategy, and digital strategy, to name a few. The separation of content strategy from its hosts seems contrived and artificial. Can a practitioner deliver an effective content strategy without considering the user experience and digital strategy, or the marketing and business strategy? This presentation explores the connections and intersections between the various functional areas and provides a framework for aspiring and practicing strategists.

Keynote Session: The New Communication Paradigm: Smart Content, Social Media and Mobile Devices

In our always-on, always-connected, socially-enabled world, change is the only constant. In just the past year, tablet computers have begun to overtake sales of laptop computers. iPhone and Android-based smartphones have moved from geeky gadgets to necessary business tools. They have transformed the way software applications are created, marketed and sold—and what users expect from handheld devices.

Nearly 150 million US adults own a smart phone, and of those who don’t, 41% admit to wanting one. Together, tablets, smartphones and eReader devices like the Kindle, the Kobo, the Nook, and the Sony eReader have enabled a digital publishing revolution. eBooks are now outselling traditional paperback books. Educational materials—textbooks, documentation, training—are being socially-enabled, augmented, and made location-aware and highly interactive, providing consumers with amazingly exceptional user experiences.

Join Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, for a lively, rapid-fire discussion with content industry professionals Tristan Bishop, David Ashton, Joe Gollner, and Daniel Odio. The panel will discuss how technological changes will impact the future of content creation, management and delivery. You will learn which existing skills can be redeployed in new and exciting ways and what skills no longer differentiate you from the rest of the pack. You’ll also learn where the most opportunity for growth lies and how you can take advantage of the new opportunities made possible by new communication paradigm.

Scott will drill the panelists with a mix of predetermined queries as well as questions from the audience.

MadCap Case Study

Have you ever been asked to produce something unusual? A handout? A poster? A Jewel case or DVD case cover? Or, even something as unlikely as badges for a show or event? If so, what tools did you use?

In this session we will explore how your existing authoring environments can be stretched to cover oddball publishing tasks like those listed above. The surprising part is that it will likely save you time in the process, especially if you can reuse existing content. Two separate real life projects will be analyzed, showing how the use of a HAT not only leveraged an existing tool set, but saved time and ensured consistency in the process.

The areas we will be exploring:

o. Determining when to stretch your HAT vs. when to use other tools
o. Creative use of templates
o. The power (and time savings) of proper CSS usage

Madcap Peer Showcase

See the session description on the Madcap site for details.

Managing Content Management Initiatives

This workshop will answer the question “What steps should I follow in order to successfully introduce new Content Management (CM) technologies and techniques into my organization?” Accordingly this workshop will introduce a project roadmap that can be used to accelerate projects, reduce risks and contain costs—all important considerations where Content Management is concerned. This roadmap has evolved over the last 20 years and it is based on a wide range of project experiences as well as the available literature and current research. Associated with the project roadmap is a generalized solution architecture that identifies the various components and processes typically found within a CM system.

Among the steps to be taken in the project roadmap is the determination of which CM components and processes will be most important in a given organization’s situation. Another goal for this workshop will be to provide solid definitions for many of the terms that are used within the CM marketplace although often with very different meanings in mind. Finally, attention will be specifically directed towards addressing the important considerations surrounding justifying your CM initiative to executive stakeholders and demonstrating progress in ways that maintains their support. Throughout, real-world case studies will be used to illustrate aspects of the project roadmap and the generalized solution architecture.

Managing Content Quality in a Distributed Environment

The application of quality management tools in the content development process provides a range of benefits to writing, production, and program teams. This presentation outlines how to develop a content quality strategy, the results for real-world virtual collaborative writing practitioners, and quality management strategies within writing organizations. When information products have consistent style, voice, terminology, and brand identification no matter where, when, or by whom the material is written, they are easier to read, understand, translate, and use. Quality management tools support collaboration within writing teams by centralizing access to the standards as writers are creating content, and providing objective quality metrics and reports at handoff points in the information supply chain. This process ensures consistency and clarity across information products, which makes them easier for writers to develop and for customers to use.

Managing Localization Projects: Going Global Without Going Insane

Managing translation of your website and your software can be time-consuming and expensive—but it doesn’t have to be. Join Michael Meinhardt, CEO of Cloudwords, to hear how his customers have tackled translation: finding vendors, managing projects, and maintaining their translation assets. You’ll learn a few easy ways to simplify the process of making your content global. If you’re responsible for your company’s translation, you won’t want to miss this discussion.

Managing the Localization Lifecycle

Many companies view localization as a single project that begins with a simple choice of target languages and ends with the delivery of localized content to their customers. But producing high-quality localized content in an efficient and cost-effictive manner requires a process that begins far earlier than that and never ends.

This session covers the details of planning and managing each stage of a circular process called the Localization Lifecycle that begins at the time a product is conceived, rotates through several stages to the evaluation of customer feeback, and continues with the next iteration of the product and documentation. It includes collaborating with internal stakeholders to design products and documentation that can be localized efficiently and at a reasonable cost, finding the right localization partner to work with your company, collaborating with that partner to localize the content efficiently, working with in-country partners to evaluate the quality of the localized content, and applying the feedback to plan and improve the next version of the product and documentation.

Managing Translations in FrameMaker DITA without a Content Management System

Because of its popularity in the technical writing community and its robust GUI environment, many technical publications teams choose Adobe FrameMaker as their DITA editor. FrameMaker DITA presents unique challenges, one of which is translation. This case study describes the solution developed for one team authoring DITA in FrameMaker for translation into 20+ languages. While the solution included development of multiple FrameMaker templates and EDDs with content analysis and document conversion, this presentation focuses on the translation aspect. The solution included the development of a detailed file structure, variable handling in multiple languages and incorporating application code strings (in multiple languages) into DITA topics and SVGs. Although the solution was FrameMaker-based in the short term, all decisions were made with an eye to the future implementation of a CMS and could not be specific to FrameMaker.

Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! How a Tech Pubs Team Took Ownership of Their Company’s Tech Support User Forum

SolarWinds Information Development Director will discuss the role of forum moderation in his department and the impact of community interaction on traditional user guide, online help, and knowledge base article development. He will give an overview of his department’s developing role within his current company and the positively disruptive role community has had on how the department interacts with the development, user experience, and technical support departments.

Moving to Component Content Management

Is your content ready to meet the biggest challenge? Are you able to provide your customers with detailed information designed specifically for them and in the media they choose? Can you do this on demand? If not, then join us as we talk about how you can transform your existing content strategies to a component based content strategy. It isn’t just content you need to think of, but the components of content. Creating a strategy at this level allows for a great deal more fluidity in providing dynamic information across the entire enterprise. You can establish the infrastructure to be able to provide customized output based on user preference or media demand such as the social media sites. There is a significant ROI you can capture, especially in terms of customer service.

Overcoming Cultural Resistance to Single Source Authoring

In this session, Steven Laine shares the story of implementing a Single Sourcing solution in the real world. During his presentation he will share his company’s real life experience with implementing a highly technical project that changed tremendously from the proposal phase to the final implementation. Attendees will take away valuable insights into working with clients on scoping, budgeting, and implementing a complex solution that zigs, zags, and ultimately meets the client’s evolving needs.

Planning for Accessibility

Accessibility shouldn’t be the final step in a project, verified by a checklist. It should be included from the beginning and verified every step of the way. This session discusses the main steps in creating a project and what you can do to make sure that the final results are accessible by everyone.

Pulling Localization Upstream

Companies that successfully integrate translation into product development process reap the financial benefits of simultaneous global releases, high quality products that meet the needs of all their customers and improved perception of customer service. Such integration also requires the localization vendor to take a long-term view toward its client relationships because, while integration results in short-term loss of revenue on a project, the overall budget for localization doesn’t typically go down. Rather, companies use the savings to expand their localized offerings. This session discusses how you can better integrate localization into your technical communication and product development process.

Risk Management for Globalization Projects

Whether your project is translating documentation, localizing a user interface, or providing complete globalization services, risks can be addressed without serious impact to the project schedule and budget. This introductory, interactive session describes how project managers plan for risks to their globalization projects. With a few simple steps and armed with a list of common risks (provided), you’ll learn about up-front planning so that the classic mistakes are avoided or minimized.

Seven Steps to DITA Adoption Across the Enterprise

Long before “user generated content” became a buzzword, tech pubs strategists knew they needed subject matter experts to be more engaged in the documentation process. Attempts to capture SME knowledge have varied from Word to Wikis, but they have all resulted in technical writers struggling with unstructured content that lacks the intelligence needed to make the process work.

DITA solves this problem by design—with an architecture well-suited for enterprise implementation, enabling content to flow smoothly from SMEs directly to tech pubs. And this is just the beginning. DITA is unique in its ability to enable content to be created collaboratively by departments that exist as silos today, for example Marketing, Engineering, and Tech Pubs.

This workshop is designed as a step-by-step guide, using a Pilot Project as both an example and as a roadmap for attendees who are ready to get started. We will examine seven practical steps that run the gamut of analysis and planning, available tools and techniques, project approaches, and organizational buy-in. The material is equally relevant to all types of wide-spread DITA authoring, whether it be to collect content from SMEs or to create intelligent content in other departments.

Workshop participants will learn how to:

o. Assess pain points and DITA’s fit
o. Build a business case
o. Gain organizational buy-in
o. Understand the tools and techniques
o. Design a “failure proof” pilot
o. Implement and manage the effort
o. Effectively report the pilot results

Who should attend:

o. Content Strategists who want to capture intelligent content
o. Documentation managers who need to optimize business processes
o. Technical writers and editors who contribute to content strategy

Note: Workshop attendees will also receive two one-hour follow up web meetings before the end of the year with Michael and/or Don. The goal of these meetings is to help workshop attendees adapt the workshop take-aways to their organization and to discuss issues and questions encountered after the workshop.

Shepherding the Development of Community-Generated Content

Customer communities: some companies have been nurturing them for years through support forums; some companies are just discovering how to cultivate community through social media. A few companies are beginning to explore how to tap the knowledge and power of customer communities to enhance their information offerings. Meanwhile, open source software projects have been generating products, documentation, and real-world value based on community efforts for a few decades. This session will explore some of the lessons about community and community-generated content that have emerged from open source projects, and how they can apply to more traditional companies and products. We’ll look at:

  • Reasons to invite community-generated content
  • What to expect from community-generated content (and what not to)
  • Ways to encourage more productive and meaningful contributions

Small Steps to Content Strategy

Before spending a lot of money and effort on implementing new methodologies, technologies, and tools, there are some small steps that you can take to set the basis for a content strategy. This presentation discusses these steps, which basically consist of conducting a strategic assessment to determine where you want to go re documentation and how that fits in the broader category of “content”, a review of your external and internal standards, and a review of your company’s culture to determine how it will affect a content strategy.

Smart Content: The Right Message to the Right Customer at the Right Time

In a world where people can start their cars with their smart phones, where online retailers suggest products based on shopping history, and where your mom is looking at your vacation photos on Facebook, users increasingly expect technologies to know who they are, where they are, and what they’re trying to do. Your product’s technical documentation is no exception.

One-size-fits-all document simply won’t suffice anymore. Fortunately, there are “Help 2.0” technologies that elevate the documentation to the relevant, personalized, and timely experience that modern consumers are now demanding of all of their technology.
This two-hour workshop will introduce you to the Help 2.0 concepts, walk through examples, and guide you to create your own roadmap for how implement a Help 2.0 documentation solution. In this workshop you will:

  • Define “The Right Time” – Examine your product’s user experience to understand what parts of it are important to defining the context, so you can use that information in choosing the message.
  • Define “The Right Customer” – Map out what makes different users different and determine which of those characteristics have an impact on the content you deliver.
  • Define “The Right Message” – Design content for the different customer types for each context.

Strategies to Manage Your Business Processes for Technical Communications

The volume of content that technical communications managers must monitor can be enormous. In this session, we will discuss how managers can rely on a content management system to not only manage content, but also manage the business processes surrounding it.

The Content Life Cycle: A Strategic Compass for People, Products and Technology

Recognizing the content life cycle helps identify business requirement for how content must be treated, handled and processed. Applying the content life cycle presents opportunities for workflow improvement, automation and ways to measure cost. It is also makes a tacit technical publication process explicit. When preparing for a content management system, a clear understanding of the current content lifecycle helps team members understand the coming changes in process and technology. It also provides a basis for identifying future hardware, software, workflow and human requirements. With clear requirements and a focus on a reengineered content lifecycle, Mollye discusses how to gear strategy to users and not vendors and product software capabilities.

The scope of the content life cycle focuses on every content state and the tasks associated with that state, so learn about the required interaction with every stakeholder and team member from discovery to delivery. The primary focus is on identifying core tasks and the order in which they occur. The secondary focus is on identifying who performs tasks and the tools used. Learn how a strong content life cycle foundation helps manage the change in the roles of people, the information products produced and the technology transformation.

The Content Maturity Model: The Evolution of Product Content

With the advent of DITA, many companies have taken the plunge and structured legacy technical documentation into modular, stand alone topics. They are seeing the immediate benefits of reuse and lower translation costs. Many more companies are just beginning to investigate the possibilities of structured content and look to industry leaders for guidance. Everyone also seems to be searching for a better collaboration solution that empowers subject matter experts to edit content directly.

Thought leaders are wondering how DITA might help them transform their entire business process to engage customers more directly with personalized and relevant product content. Industry analysts have recognized that this continuing journey requires a content maturity model to describe and identify where organizations are and where they want to go. This presentation will introduce this new model that describes how DITA is empowering the transformation of technical documentation into intelligent product content.

This model also delivers a framework for managers to discuss emerging technology needs with their executive teams. Lastly, we will cover changes taking place in the industry, and take a quick glimpse at what the future might look like once a next-generation product content system has been fully deployed.

The Edge for Project Success: Leadership Skills to Deliver Through Teams

You know that project success lies in your team, but what is the key to team success? Is it talent, hard work, technology, or efficiency? It’s all of these things and more. In the words of John Maxwell, the difference between two equally talented teams isleadership. Everything rises and falls on it. With great leadership, a team has the edge to gain everything else it needs to reach the highest level of success. Do you bring that edge to your team? Not sure? Either way, join Andrea for an interactive discussion of key principles of team leadership that are specific to project delivery. Share your successes and learn from those of the other session participants.

Andrea will discuss how to work with people and bring out the best in them—how to lift teams to achieve at the highest levels. While managers can also be leaders, and the session content is applicable to anyone who leads, this session will focus particularly on those who lead without the positional authority of a management role. Using a brief evaluation tool and some thought-provoking questions, we will share and learn from the group’s team leadership experiences.

The Top 10 Mistakes Companies Make when Moving to Topic-Based Authoring

Topic-based authoring is the most cost-effective way to develop content in the “Do more with less” world we live in. It can also help you better meet the needs of your users. It’s a potential win/win for your company and your users. Makes you want to jump right in, doesn’t it?

But moving to topic-based authoring can be one of the most expensive things you’ve ever done. In this talk, Sharon Burton will show you the top 10 mistakes made by companies and how you can avoid them. These mistakes can include missing deadlines, delivering poor quality content, or not integrating this content development strategy into the rest of the product development strategy.

If you’re thinking about making this move, you’ll learn what not to do; if you made the move and you’re struggling, find out how to solve your problems. Either way, you really can’t afford to miss this vendor-neutral discussion!

The Top 10 XML-Related Issues for Localization

Jean-Luc Mazet

So many issues to choose from and yet so little time to fix them…. Companies migrate their hybrid, legacy systems into structured, semantic environments and forget to take localization considerations seriously from the beginning of the project. In this presentation, I will share my top 10 (and more) XML and translation problems, as well as call upon the audience to share theirs as well. We’ll also croudsource possible solutions. You might even be surprised by a case study or two!

Three Hats of EN 15038 Certification: Vendor, Buyer, Auditor

This session is dealing with the European Translation Service standard, looking at it from three different angles: those of buyer, vendor, and auditor. Why EN 15038 and not ISO 9001? Why both? What are those anyway? Stamp or real benefit? Second or third party assessment? Got any of those questions? Got more? Let’s find out the answers!

Understanding the Potential of Content through the Content Lifecycle

If you haven’t been paying attention to your content lifecycle, it’s time to start. The content lifecycle exists whether you’ve been managed your content manually, with some computing assistance, or through highly automated technology for multiple channels and platforms. As the process of developing, managing, and publishing content develops, the complexities are reflected in the need for smarter control of content. A good content strategy begets good content, and the midwife is the content lifecycle.

The quadrants of a lifecycle (analysis, collection, management and publishing) sound deceptively simple, but all content lifecycles are not created equal. A content lifecycle is only as good as the content strategy behind it. What happens in the analysis phase informs how the content behaves in the tactical phases. The content lifecycle is iterative, and each mistake made, each variation missed early on, means that the next iteration will be harder to implement and maintain.

This session will discuss the various phases of a content lifecycle, illustrate the interdependencies that keep the lifecycle going, and demonstrate how to leverage the lifecycle to create better content for a better user experience.

What Makes Nimble Organizations Work?

From freelancers to firms, from coworking spaces to corporations, we’re seeing a shift in how people work together: a shift from centralized hierarchies to decentralized, self-organizing “adhocracies.” People are finding that digital and mobile technologies can help them to organize themselves and their projects more loosely and rapidly, and that means they can keep small and flexible, scale up when necessary, and link up with other specialists to swarm big projects. These loosely organized, nimble organizations enjoy advantages – but they also face difficulties and pitfalls. In this presentation, I’ll discuss six key characteristics that make loose organizations work: how they hold together, function, and build links with each other. I’ll discuss their advantages and pitfalls. And I’ll illustrate these principles with case studies of adhocracies in Austin.

When Worlds Collide: Improving the User Experience by Applying Progressive Information Disclosure

Andrea Ames

Do you often feel like there’s more to developing good technical content than user guides, reference manuals, and contextual help? Do you sometimes find that your information deliverables are incontiguous or that the content is redundant between them? Would you like to have more impact on the overall user experience of your product through your content? If so, join Andrea as she presents the human factors concept of “progressive disclosure” and applies it to the architecture and design of information!

Andrea will discuss how to approach your information architecture and design from the user’s goals and the tasks that she needs to perform, and revealing just the information the user needs, just when she needs it, so that you can positively affect the design of the product and improve the user experience. She’ll also describe the team-interaction considerations necessary to make the approach successful in a real, team-oriented, cross-functional product-development environment.

Who Cares About Your Content?

The future of tech comm is social. So what does that mean to content strategists? How do you even go about implementing a social strategy that makes sense for your organization without losing focus on your main object; content strategy? Now more than ever, online product and services documentation has become a critical business tool which is driving top-line revenue, decreasing support costs and increasing customer satisfaction.

This session, led by Corey Ganser of MindTouch, will discuss the different levels of engagement:

  • Company: Create a centralized knowledge base to gather and share ideas, how-to’s and intelligence from people who work the frontlines every single day. See how customer support agents create fresh content from their Zendesk support tickets.
  • Community: Engage with your users and customers in a space where content can be easily moderated, rated, shared and more. See how companies like Autodesk, Mozilla and Washington Post moderate, share and socialize their community content contributions.
  • You, the Content Strategist: This isn’t just about making your job easier, it’s about allowing you to spend more time focusing on what you’re best at—content strategy.

Attend this thought-provoking session and see how multi-billion dollar companies, like Autodesk, Mozilla, and Washinton Post are leveraging the power of their product and help docs to drive personalized marketing, leverage social intelligence and drive down support costs. This is a session for product, marketing and content strategists.

Why I left my CMS… and how I did it!

In this session, you’ll find out why—and how—an experienced software documentation group walked away from a fabulously successful, stable, and well-automated CMS implementation. Two forces drove us off this cliff: our shop’s moves [1] to Agile development, and [2] to .NET-based web technology. The switch to Agile broke open our authoring silo and our department, and the switch to new web technology required documentation we couldn’t source in our CMS. Doc-To-Help made it possible to unify all of the new documentation with the legacy content in Agile-friendly ways, but first we had to extract that content. Getting into a CMS from well-styled content is easy, but find out what it takes to get your content out again for management in a new system.

Written Voice Unification Processes for Content Standardization

As source content development and delivery strategies continue to mature, many organizations are looking to two key solutions surrounding source content re-use. The first is technology, through the use of CMS tools. The second is providing training to writers around writing for international audiences. However, neither of these solutions takes into consideration the individual authors’ written “voices.” CMS systems often fall short because they operate under the assumption that your source content is already at a high-quality level – although many companies have such divergent authoring strategies that CMS tools can actually do more harm than good if not properly implemented. Additionally, even if each writer understands and follows a style guide designed to communicate with a global audience, the individual author’s “voice” is unique to that person and must be developed and mapped to ensure a seamless re-use of the content.

This breakout session will focus on how to create your own corporate voice; identify the specific written voices of each author; and develop training that will unify their voices to mirror each other. The result is a higher quality deliverable, that when shared through a CMS shows no deviation in consistency from one topic to the next.

You Can’t Connect with Customers if You Don’t Know Who They Are

Today the customer experience is driven by content. That’s how companies connect—web, wikis, eLearning, forums, as well as a broad range of technical product information deliverables. Everyone talks about the customer experience, but do you have a clear understanding of how your customers’ use the information you develop and deliver? Today’s customer is more diverse and more demanding than ever before. Their experience as consumers is driving their expectations. How do you make decisions about what will improve their customer experience and make them more successful on their jobs?

Approaches such as structured content, XML, DITA, and Component Content Management, don’t guarantee success. Technology doesn’t tell you how to align the content you develop with the requirements of your audience—especially a global audience–to make a difference in their customer experience.

This presentation gives a step-by-step approach to developing in-depth models of how your users work and how they use information. Drawing on techniques from qualitative research, software development, and human performance this presentation will provide tools to help you develop a complete understanding of users’ work model can be linked to your content strategy, technology selection, and information architecture and content model. The session will provide processes, tools, and examples from real case studies.