The LavaCon Content Strategy Conference: Creating Unified Content Experiences | October 27-30, 2019 | Portland, OR

Program

Conference Schedule

View the Schedule at a Glance and Preliminary Program in PDF, or scroll down for the complete program in HTML.

  

Check out the stellar program we have for Portland, then register today to take advantage of early registration discounts.

Sunday: Pre-conference Workshops

Continental breakfast with protein options will be served opposite the Grand Ballroom

8:30-Noon

Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming a popular tool for telling stories, and now you have the chance to experience it firsthand! Join the Facebook AR/VR Experiences team for this exclusive workshop where you will learn the principles of immersive storytelling and build your own story in VR.

  • The 3 Ps (Planning, Preparing, Performing).
  • How to figure out the parameters of a presentation (audience, etc.).
  • How to focus your topic and limit your ideas.
  • How to build logical structure.
  • How to use hooks, anecdotes, and segues.
  • How to work with the audience.
  • Tips and tricks of rehearsing.

Join Andrea for a half-day, experiential tour of several techniques used in Design Thinking. Using one or more sample problems, workshop participants will work together to develop solutions following a Design Thinking framework. Because we’ll be face-to-face, we’ll go low-tech and focus on the framework and techniques using flip-chart paper and stickie notes. Andrea will also discuss how to get the most from the process across geographically distributed teams using online tools.

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In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • How chatbots work: approaches to recognizing user’s intent, handling incomplete requests, and finding matching content
  • How the content needs to be organized, structured, and written to be discoverable by the chatbot
  • How to not create an isolated, chatbot-specific content that would be available just for the chatbot
  • What makes content undiscoverable by the chatbot and makes the chatbot to give wrong or irrelevant answers
  • How to handle situations when the chatbot is unsure which content should be provided to the user
  • How to handle content variations (for example, product- or audience- specific)

1:00-5:00

Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming a popular tool for telling stories, and now you have the chance to experience it firsthand! Join the Facebook AR/VR Experiences team for this exclusive workshop where you will learn the principles of immersive storytelling and build your own story in VR.

  • The 3 Ps (Planning, Preparing, Performing).
  • How to figure out the parameters of a presentation (audience, etc.).
  • How to focus your topic and limit your ideas.
  • How to build logical structure.
  • How to use hooks, anecdotes, and segues.
  • How to work with the audience.
  • Tips and tricks of rehearsing.

Join Andrea for a half-day, experiential tour of several techniques used in Design Thinking. Using one or more sample problems, workshop participants will work together to develop solutions following a Design Thinking framework. Because we’ll be face-to-face, we’ll go low-tech and focus on the framework and techniques using flip-chart paper and stickie notes. Andrea will also discuss how to get the most from the process across geographically distributed teams using online tools.

Attendees will learn:

  • what is structured authoring and what benefits it brings
  • what is the difference between content and markup
  • what are DITA’s strengths
  • what are Markdown’s strengths

We will explore what solutions we have when working in a project in which we have SMEs sending us Markdown. For example:

  • getting directly DITA from SMEs. Can it be done?
  • getting Markdown from SMEs and integrating it into the DITA pipelines

We will talk about the benefits of each solution but also about what challenges arise when choosing one solution over another.

In this session, attendee’s will learn the basics of each area in what matters to Content Strategists:

  • How to use analytics; the fundamentals of interaction design;
  • How and when to use visuals like powerpoint presentations and low-fidelity wireframes;
  • Why you need user research as a Content Strategist and how to interpret the research;
  • What high level things do you need to look at/what deliverables you can provide when working on a product team.
  • I will provide checklists to attendees to take home and reference on their projects in these areas.
  • Where to find free and affordable online resources will also be provided.

In this workshop you will learn:

  • How do cultural differences impact work communications and performance?
  • The keys to success in managing teams across time zones.
  • The key to effective introspection, and how fundamentally different it is from worrying.
  • What are the ways of being that, if fully engaged in, can ensure your team’s success?
  • How to invest in the whole person, not just needed skills.

8:30-9:40

Join us as Jack welcomes you to the start of the 2019 LavaCon Conference.

Ever wonder what it’s like to craft content and experiences for emerging technology? As screens become immersive and Virtual Reality headsets allow people to play with the feeling of “being there”, our role in content strategy is moving beyond words. As content strategists and technical writers, we plan and write content for web and mobile interfaces, but how do you write for online experiences when they’re not limited to a computer screen? In this new age of tech, our responsibilities are evolving from perfecting words to understanding how people navigate, interpret and engage with information in immersive and spatial experiences. Join Andrea Zeller and Nadine Anglin, content strategists on the AR/VR Experiences team at Facebook, as they take you on the journey of writing and storytelling for VR experiences.

9:45-10:45

In this session, Kathy breaks out the essential parts of good strategy and provides hands-on, practical advice for making sure your content strategy is strategic. Attendee’s will learn:

  • The three essential parts of good strategy
  • How to use a Strategic Content Strategy Canvas to stay focused
  • How to put good content strategy into practice in your organisation

Join Richard Hendricks (Juniper Networks) as he shows you how to establish partnerships across departments and build aligned content that reinforces the same message, rather than tolerate fragmented content that frustrates your customers. Key examples include:

  • Developing example-based and solutions-based documentation with the help of Engineering, Solutions Test, and Sales Engineering
  • Reusing lab content for internal and external audiences
  • Establishing a bidirectional relationship with Training to improve both training and documentation deliverables
  • Building content partnerships to align information across several departments
  • Recognizing the power of video for GUI-based products

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • Why we need to focus more on management as a practice
  • Four core areas for management practice
  • How to incorporate servant leadership into your management practice
  • How to continually adjust your management practice as your group scales and your responsibility grows
  • How to avoid the strategy-execution gap

This presentation will provide the audience with the tools they need to perform a cost-benefit analysis and calculate the ROI of such a proposal. All attendees will receive an ROI calculator they can use to build their case and get the budget approval they need. Furthermore, we’ll discuss all the factors that you can take into account when making your case for new tools.

This presentation is intended for anyone who is interested in demonstrating value and building a case for changes within their department. This presentation is based on the implementation of structured authoring or content management tools, but the benefits provided are easily transferable to other change and budget scenarios.

11:00-12:00

Attendees will learn how we structured the taxonomy development project, the phases of a content audit and transformation project and how you must sell both to the business at the same time. You will hear how we phased the project, and how we sized the effort, sometimes unsuccessfully. We will explain the benefits, challenges, and lessons learned.

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • How to survey clients about their training needs.
  • How to target the right users with training materials.
  • How to package content in multiple formats to accommodate various learning and training styles.
  • How to break down silos to work cross-functionally to deliver a customer-centric release training experience.

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • Creating a product content style guide
  • Connecting content through the product ecosystem
  • Refining your product creation process
  • Influencing and content decisions across the organization
  • Working in an agile environment with few resources

In this session, attendee’s will learn about the crowded landscape of voice assistant technologies, and how they might fit into content delivery strategies in the future.

12:00-2:00

Menus will be announced at a later date.

Menus will be announced at a later date.

2:30-3:30

3:45-4:45

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • Why we need to focus more on management as a practice
  • Four core areas for management practice
  • How to incorporate servant leadership into your management practice
  • How to continually adjust your management practice as your group scales and your responsibility grows
  • How to avoid the strategy-execution gap

As odd as it may sound, technical content is the bread and butter of many of the special features Google offers within its results. These features, as well as prominent ranking on the results page, can be enormous drivers of traffic and are a serious opportunity for any site. The rules of the game are not hard, but failure to consider them means that other sites are stealing the traffic that should be yours. Wins aren’t as complicated as you think, all you need is: 

  • A foundation in which of Google’s special features apply to technical content & what gets you into them
  • A bit of an understanding on how Google relies on machine learning (nothing too complicated – really)
  • A quick bit of research into what users want from your technical content
  • A touch of insight into what Google thinks users want from your content

Attendees will learn about tools developed by Facebook’s in-house content strategy team, with examples to demonstrate how they’re applied by about 200 writers at the company.

Anyone who works in content knows it’s hard enough to get a team of writers aligned on applying the same voice. Writing with the same voice while adjusting tone compounds the challenge.

This talk shares strategies for how to guide writing teams in mapping content to a range of emotions and developing content that’s consistent and contextual.

The attendees will learn:
– How to make your Business Case properly?
– Why do you need a Business Case?
– When should you write a Business Case?
– What is in a Business Case?
– What angle should you consider for your Strategic Business Case?
– How Your Ecosystem impact your Business Case?
– What is Important to consider in your research data analysis?
– What do you need to consider gaining corporate backing and budget?

At the end of this session, you will gain some insights on some elements that you will need to consider for an effective Business Case that matches the purpose and the funding to secure your Strategic Initiatives.

5:00-5:40

5:15-6:00

8:00-

Welcome to the LavaCon Storytelling Open Mic. Think along the lines of The Moth, and StoryCorps.

Five minutes. One live microphone. Your stories.

Here’s how it works: You show up and listen to great stories. If you wish to tell a story, arrive early and add your name to the Storytelling Open Mic sign-up sheet.

The only ground rules: your story must be true, it must be about you, and it can’t be a plug for anything. We get to as many as we can before the end of the evening.

Past tales have included: Marriage proposals, admissions of guilt, faces fallen flat upon and great triumphs of will. The whole of human experience.

Join us. We want to hear your stories.

 

Tuesday's Schedule

Registration and continental breakfast with protein options will be served opposite the Grand Ballroom.

8:30-9:30

In this session, attendees will learn:

  • Explain what topic based learning is and why it is an important tool in their L&D toolbelt
  • List the steps to make the move to topic based learning
  • Practice topic based learning
  • Learn how Dell Technologies is moving to topic based learning
  • Walk out with a job-aide that will help them make that move

We will review successful and unsuccessful DITA efforts outside of Tech Pubs. Attendees will learn a framework in which to achieve success across complex organizations with multiple audiences, multiple authors, multiple departments, significant legacy content, and multiple authoring and repository tools. We will learn about goals, trade offs, processes, and tools that lead to success or failure. We will highlight the critical but different needs of various stakeholders. We will see how BOTs and AI will evolve over time and why information architecture needs to be improved everywhere. Finally, we will learn how to communicate and work collaboratively avoiding the need for psychiatric counselling, sedatives, or straight jackets.

9:45-10:45

11:00-12:00

You will see real examples of an initiative that is being worked on for a critical product launch. Learn what it really took to go from strategy to the nuts and bolts, including real examples of getting buy in from marketing, training, and support, and taking techpubs is the center of the world.

  • How to go from start to finish
  • What “Unified Content Strategy” really means
  • What a content audit contains
  • What tools, templates, and spreadsheets we used and why
  • Reusability mapping, both wide (across content teams) and deep (within product lines)

Join Tahzoo’s Vice President of Digital Strategy & Analytics, Darrell Cypress, and DITA Strategies’ President, Amber Swope, as they explain how these two disciplines work together.

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • What content strategy is
  • What information architecture is
  • How to use them together to create a unified content framework based upon real business examples

In this session we’ll look at real-life examples of content being reviewed for possible deduplication and future reuse, and find some unexpected benefits as well as the expected ones. We will also consider some of the other things you can discover when examining your content for reusable elements that can help you improve your content for consistency and reuse purposes.

12:00-1:45

2:00-3:00

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • How to move forward on implementing a paradigm shift on content creation – even in the regulated pharmaceutical environment
  • About a success story of implementing Adaptive Content creation within a group and across groups inside an enterprise
  • About change management in terms of key milestones in the transformation journey
  • About content strategy and how it addresses the biggest content problems and starts the organization’s momentum to expand and optimize Adaptive Content
  • Some insights and perspectives from an author’s personal experience going through the change which can be used as a guiding tool for change leaders
  • Some use cases that illustrate content reuse across organizational groups

Attendees will learn about tools developed by Facebook’s in-house content strategy team, with examples to demonstrate how they’re applied by about 200 writers at the company. Anyone who works in content knows it’s hard enough to get a team of writers aligned on applying the same voice. Writing with the same voice while adjusting tone compounds the challenge. This talk shares strategies for how to guide writing teams in mapping content to a range of emotions and developing content that’s consistent and contextual.

In this session, attendee’s will learn about:

  • Microcontent principles that make content available beyond technical publications to the entire enterprise
  • the Enterprise Content Metamodel used to classify content and establish connections and context
  • Microcontent structures for the rest of the enterprise
  • SME contributions through intelligent microcontent, and
  • Microcontent technology used to make content available as a service to the enterprise.

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • What’s the difference between taxonomy and ontology?
  • How an ontology defines the knowledge model of a domain
  • How an ontology links a semantic model of the domain with the actual knowledge about the domain regardless of the format in which the content is created
  • How an ontology makes information created by different departments in different formats an interconnected web of knowledge
  • How to visualize ontologies
  • How ontologies help you discover how seemingly unrelated issues are interconnected and affect each other
  • How customer-facing intelligent applications, such as chatbots or customer portals, can use the ontology
  • How to build an ontology: where to start and what tools to use

3:15-4:15

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • How to approach content that has life-and-death outcomes.
  • How to perform user analysis for a product that no one chooses.
  • How to coordinate between regulatory an risk assessment.
  • How to find the balance between regulatory requirements and content that actually helps the users.
  • How to meet the demands of extreme environments (ICUs, etc.).
  • How to decide if this is for you!

In this presentation, we will explore the three things that you must be aware of before trying to implement these emerging technologies. We will give an overview of the appropriate technology to select for various situations, how to get started creating an Immersive Experience, and the one key takeaway: How to create the proper content for Immersive Tech, so you don’t wind up making common mistakes of poor content creation in this realm. Just because it’s an exciting medium doesn’t mean you can’t make boring content in it. So make sure to join us for this informative discussion that will get you well on your way to creating an amazing immersive experience.

In this session, attendees will learn:

  • Problems you can solve with an internal portal
  • Laying the bricks, identifying audience personas, and customer empathy
  • Connecting the dots: how to stitch together the big picture
  • How we created it, prioritizing features, and managing the work
  • The importance of stakeholder feedback in refining the work
  • Techniques for branding, marketing, strategic placement, and tracking user metrics
  • Impact of the project (so far)

Focusing on two case study projects, this talk will highlight some of the benefits of a pure open source, structured-authoring approach:

As a service group:

  • Content experts define the forms and data structures used by all contributors, to enforce consistency of both content and metadata.
  • Enable single-source of truth content repositories that other groups can pull content from, via REST API. In other words, support for a “headless CMS” approach to content re-use between websites (everyone can still own their own websites).

As a writing group:

  • Your own technical writing group becomes just another group to service.
  • Treat your content like a database, for maximum re-use flexibility. The structure itself provides the keys you can build, sort, link, collate, automate content from.
  • Open source allows for rapid prototyping: the “build and show” model for successful projects, versus the “propose and hope” model.

This presentation is designed as an instructive and funny lesson on what not to do when implementing DITA within a documentation team. The original DITA Worst Practices filled the room at Lavacon 2017, and has proven to resonate with many DITA technical writers and managers who either saw it at Lavacon or in subsequent webinars. Since then, I have found new stories that will both entertain and horrify (from a DITA perspective) listeners. I hope that some of these stories will strike a chord with people who may find themselves in similar situations, and give them enough information to change course before they become a “worst practice” story themselves.

4:30-5:30

In this session, attendees will learn the basics of creating good personas, how research plays a vital role in the creation of these personas, and the basic difference between goal oriented personas and lifestyle personas – in other words, buyer personas versus user experience personas.

More importantly, attendees will learn how to apply these personas when creating content and defining user experiences. Attendees will learn how personas play an important role when defining the content strategy that will help them reach their business goals.

Personas help create unified, cohesive content in a consistent voice and tone.

In this session you will learn:

  • What skills are required to create effective corporate videos?
  • How long will your current team require to learn these skills?
  • What are the key processes that can ensure success?
  • Why do these elements matter?:

    • Script
    • Brand book
    • Proven Process

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • A different way to consider manager-team interactions and dynamics.
  • How to apply skills learned from parenting when managing and leading a team.
  • The kinds of skills you need to succeed (or at least, not go bonkers) in both management and parenting.

 

You will *not* learn about how to become a parent.

In this session, we will explain why quality of experience for the reader is actually conditioned by both quality of content and quality of search. We will then address the foundational principles of modern search engines like Google (content indexing, metadata auto-tagging, behavior tracking, analytics, etc.), and explain how the same concepts can be applied to technical documentation, making it easy to dramatically increase the value of content for users.

You can deliver better than PDFs. Keep the intelligence you’ve added all the way to the consumer, and make their experience more productive.
Learn about:

  • Knowledge Models
  • Decision Trees
  • Delivering Content – PDF vs (Smart) DITA
  • Metadata for Search and Content Relationships
  • DITA-Aware Delivery Platforms

6:00-

8:30-9:30

The attendees will learn:
– How to make your Business Case properly?
– Why do you need a Business Case?
– When should you write a Business Case?
– What is in a Business Case?
– What angle should you consider for your Strategic Business Case?
– How Your Ecosystem impact your Business Case?
– What is Important to consider in your research data analysis?
– What do you need to consider gaining corporate backing and budget?

At the end of this session, you will gain some insights on some elements that you will need to consider for an effective Business Case that matches the purpose and the funding to secure your Strategic Initiatives.

I’m looking to bring the concept of UX writing to a more diverse and broad audience. Also, I want UX writers to discover the similarities between our craft and seemingly unrelated forms of writing. Here’s how I’ll show and tell the similarities between UX writing and hip hop:

  1. Explain a specific characteristic of UX writing
  2. Show an example of the characteristic that currently exists in a well-known brand’s content (e.g.: Google, Facebook, Uber, TurboTax, etc.)
  3. Show a hip hop video that illustrates the characteristic
  4. Connect the dots between the product content example and the hip hop example.

In this session, you’ll learn how style guides can help with collaboration and improve consistency. I’ll describe the different kinds of style guides, what each contains, and when you need them. We’ll talk about the different kinds of style guides and what each one covers. We’ll normalize some vocabulary so that you will always know what someone else means.

  • In this session, attendee’s will learn:
    • Why technical communications departments are being called up more and more to lead the taxonomy charge
    • The taxonomy development trends being followed by industry leaders in technical communication
    • Top tips and tricks for making content more findable
    • How to prepare for taking over this important role.
    • The importance of taxonomies to emerging technologies

In this interactive talk, we will:

  • Learn about a narrow yet comprehensive set of well-known and empirically tested information quality dimensions that cover all categories of quality
  • Intrinsic, Representational, Contextual, and Accessibility
  • Find out how readers rate these dimensions as they relate to documentation quality
  • Create, based on this, a measurable, unambiguous, and reader-oriented definition of documentation quality
  • Get some clear, research-based takeaways that we can use to:
    • Collect meaningful and actionable feedback
    • Help writers understand what is important to readers
    • Provide reliable methods and metrics for measuring documentation quality
    • Create a common documentation quality terminology

9:45-10:45

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • Key principles of user onboarding
  • How to identify users’ “job(s) to be done”
  • Why tailored user onboarding is better than “one size fits all”
  • How product usage analytics can drive onboarding content strategy
  • What types of onboarding users prefer (and how to find out)
  • The results of TechSmith’s onboarding experiments (and tips for running your own)

The benefits of incorporating SME as authors are enormous, with new points for consideration with planning, preparation and governance. What strategy, planning and support does your organization provide for SMEs? How can a technical authoring team benefit from working even closer with SMEs? From this presentation, you will learn about emerging best practices:

  • Defining a strategy and business benefits
  • Pointers for user experience design for SMEs
  • Managing concurrent author and review cycles
  • Extending CCMS capabilities and workflows
  • Governance and best practices

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • How to write meaningful content while still ensuring your content is structured for SEO algorithms
  • How AI can be used to compliment journalism and content, not take it over
  • What platforms will help you manage your content strategy
  • How to position content in the mar-tech stack within your organization

Attendees will learn how to provide upper management with data to support a CCMS implementation, including defining goals, setting requirements, implementing the system, and calculating the return on investment

During this session we will show you how to make a case for a content quality implementation as part of your content strategy, show a number of customer success stories with metrics and provide an interactive demo.

11:00-12:20

12:20-1:00

1:00-4:00

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • Align quickly across teams and stakeholders
  • Share ownership in the content creation process
  • Get clarity on content principles and messaging
  • Create consistent, meaningful messaging in the front doors experience (the promise)
  • Thread that messaging into the product experience for a greater payoff

In this session, attendee’s will learn:

  • Understanding of what controlled language is and how can fit into your content strategy
  • 2-3 ideas that you can incorporate into your content strategy
  • An approach for determining your readiness to implement controlled language

During this workshop we turn your documentation into video! You bring us your topic, even in various languages, and we deliver you its videos! How cool is that?

We ask you to register, and send us your sample upfront, so we can prepare your content in the digital format.

We will explain how technology brings your current printed / pdf / to HTML published documentation to video. You go hands-on with datamapping and building your script. We will discuss best practices, show samples, and provide you with the video that we prepared for you.

In this session, I’ll share examples and basic principles from the canons of page design. I’ll help you develop an understanding about “ugly” complaints, so you know which are tool-related, which are cost-related, and which are truly hard problems. I’ll close with a demonstration of appealing DITA layout creation without having to code.

8:00-