When technical publications groups are considering moving to DITA, one issue they typically consider as a motivator for making the switch is greater customer satisfaction. Yet one aspect that is not considered often enough is how to ensure writer satisfaction. If you are a driver of a DITA implementation, then the writers are your customers and their satisfaction should be one of your priorities. The assumption is too often that writers will immediately see the benefits of DITA and will embrace it without reservation. Anyone who has been part of a DITA implementation knows this is not the case. Just as you have to “sell” DITA to your companies on the basis of cost and efficiency, you have to “sell” DITA to your writers, too. This presentation will focus on some typical sources of writer dissatisfaction and push-back and explore ways to overcome them.
Leigh White is a DITA Specialist with IXIASOFT. Starting out as a technical writer and moving into information architecture, she has been working with DITA since 2008, developing standards, workflows, and publishing tools for groups in both the software and hardware sectors. One of her primary interests is exploring ways that small technical publication groups on a budget can leverage tools and improve processes to raise their efficiency, increase their offerings, and save their sanity. She advocates that effective technical communicators need to be more than writers; they need to be part programmer, part designer, and part project manager.
Leigh has spoken on XML, DITA, content management systems, content conversion, and taxonomies at a number of conferences, including Intelligent Content, Lavacon, the STC Summit, and DITA Netherlands. She has also presented hands-on “DITA In a Day” workshops to STC chapters in several cities. When she is not parked in front of a computer, Leigh enjoys reading, running, hiking, photography, woodworking, and motorcycles.