The LavaCon Content Strategy Blog

Learn about the updates to the premier content strategy conference.

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Immersive Reality and the Future of Content

Immersive Reality and the Future of Content by Kit Brown-Hoekstra

The future of technical communication is visual and interactive. This statement should not come as a surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention to the changing demographics of the workforce, the maturation of the technology that facilitates this, and to customer expectations. We are already seeing heavy equipment manufacturers leaping ahead with training and service content. Some companies are using it to onboard new employees in clinical settings. Others are using it to help Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. Newspapers and magazines seem to have daily stories about new implementations. It seems that the opportunities are limited only by our imaginations.

While only 5% of companies currently use AR/VR according to a recent survey by The Content Wrangler, many more are beginning to explore the possibilities. Tech Crunch, ABI Research, and Business Insider are predicting that by 2020 (just 2 months from now) the industry will grow to more than $100 billion dollars (Armfield et al.). We need to be ready when our companies start asking questions.

This year, LavaCon has an entire track on Tuesday dedicated to immersive reality topics (see the schedule):

  • Virtual Reality: Immersive Experiences with Real-World Application, presented by Jill Knight of Deloitte Digital.
  • Beyond the Hero’s Journey: Immersive Storytelling Through AR/VR, by Nisha Burton of Reflective Brands and Design Reality.
  • Creating Impactful Content for Immersive Technologies: An Education Revolution, by Elise O’Brien of Beach Day Studios.
  • Why AR/VR Sucks—If You Don’t Do It Right, Joshua Young, Design Reality

There are also three workshops that take a deeper dive into the possibilities of immersive reality:

  • On Sunday: Immersive Design: A Practical Approach to VR Storytelling, led by Andrea Zeller and Nadine Anglin. This full-day, preconference workshop teaches you the principles of immersive storytelling and how to build your own story in VR.
  • On Wednesday (there’s still room!):
    • Morning: Let’s Play! Discover How Some Companies are Using AR/VR. A morning lab where you can play with some of the technology and see how some companies are using immersive reality to improve customer experience. This is an open house where you can come and go.
    • Afternoon: Content Strategy for AR/VR. Joshua Young, Berry Braster, Rob Bannerman, and Nathan Bowser will discuss practical ways you can integrate immersive reality into your content strategy.

These sessions are just the beginning as we examine the potential impact of immersive reality on not only the way we work and interact with our content, but also the skills we need. Along the way, we also grapple with the ethical and accessibility considerations and the practical issues of creating a strategy and architecture that supports AR/VR where it’s appropriate to do so.

Sign up for the workshops! Join us for the sessions! Take the survey and tell us about your experiences:

[Free Webinar] – Top Selling Points for a CCMS

September 5th, 2019 10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST – Register

You are currently authoring content in XML and know that you need a CCMS to manage your content, but how do you convince upper management that a CCMS is a valuable investment. During this webinar, Deb Bissantz will share benefits of a CCMS that you can use as selling points for a CCMS to upper management. Deb will discuss how to present this information so that upper management will understand the value of a CCMS.

Read Deb’s biography!

Simple Guide to Information Architecture for Web Designers – Amelia

Information Architecture is something that both designers and developers should consider. Regardless of who is responsible for Information Architecture, the tools and resources related to it are separate instances that require enough knowledge to operate them correctly.

The team at Amelia wrote “Simple Guide to Information Architecture for Web Designers” to explain what Information Architecture means, what its relationship with web designers is, and how it can improve the user experience process in the long run.

The LavaCon Content Impact Awards

Guest Author: Rhyne Armstrong

LavaCon wants to help you tell YOUR story.

At the closing session of LavaCon Las Vegas, Jack Molisani issued a challenge to attendees: Return to your organizations, apply what you learned at LavaCon, and come back to LavaCon Portland prepared to share the story of how you made an impact in your organization. Whether you produce content that increases revenue, reduces costs, reduces time-to-market, or increases customer satisfaction, your work has positive results.

Having been in the content world for nearly 25 years, I have heard one complaint over and over again, a complaint that takes different forms:  “No one appreciates what I do!” or “They don’t understand the impact of what I do.” The worst part is that the statements are usually true. Organizations do not understand the work that goes into content projects because we have either done a poor job of telling our story or not told it at all.

LavaCon wants to raise awareness of your role and the valuable work you do, and we are excited to launch the LavaCon Content Impact Awards. These awards support our community, promote the profession, and reinforce ideas shared by the experts who speak at the LavaCon conferences.


The LavaCon Content Impact Awards recognize content professionals who have used content, user experience, or technical communication to make a positive impact in their organizations. The award is not a competition to see who made the biggest or best impact, but a way to celebrate the many achievements that content professionals make while expanding their sphere of influence, enabling organizational change, and ensuring customer success.

Tell us how you and your team have made a significant contribution to how content is generated in your organization. Have you created a portal to aggregate content across multiple silos? Or perhaps you streamlined how your group writes content by moving to structured authoring? Have you reduced costs or lowered tech support calls? We want to hear about it!


The application process is easy: visit the Content Impact Awards site, read the awards overview and rules, and submit your story through a simple form. There is no fee for entering, and there can be multiple recipients.

Winners receive a digital certificate, their story posted on the LavaCon website, and promotion through our social media accounts. Several winners will be asked to present their story at a future LavaCon conference, where they will receive the full conference registration absolutely free.

See you at LavaCon Portland!

Personalizing Content Using Taxonomy

Join us September 12th, 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST – Register

Technical content is playing an increasingly important role in the overall digital experience for leading companies. The goal of your content must be to provide relevant, personalized answers to technical questions about your product as quickly as possible. Only then can you unlock the true value and ROI in your technical content resources.

In this webinar, we will demonstrate how taxonomy helps you to facilitate that excellence in personalized content delivery, and we’ll walk through the basics of taxonomy design for technical content.

Megan Gilhooly, Vice President Customer Experience, Zoomin

Thousands of Words, One Brand Voice: Style Guides, Content Workflows, and AI

Join us June 25th, 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST – Register


Qordoba has been analyzing how content strategists work with style guides and implement better content check processes. In this webinar, May Habib will present results and trends from the Style Guides 2019 Benchmark Report and the 2019 State of Content Strategy Report.


Join the webinar to learn:

– Top priorities and biggest challenges for content strategists

– How content strategists are crafting writing guidelines their teams actually use

– How technology can help teams execute their content strategy


Presented by May Habib, CEO, Qordoba

Top 20 Masters of Content Intelligence at LavaCon 2018 – Simple [A]

Case Study: What the Bot!?

Gavin Austin
Principal Technical Writer, Salesforce

Webinar Date: October 10th, 2018, 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST [closed]

Recording coming soon.

Learn how Salesforce planned and created content for a chatbot feature for millions of customers. See which tools, metrics, and research led to a content strategy to support a variety of globally dispersed industries into using new chatbot technology.

Video Provides the Edge

Mark Kleinsmith
Technical Communications Manager, MiTek, U.S.A

Webinar Date: September 26th, 2018, 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST [closed]

Recording coming soon.

Like it or not, we live in a YouTube world. The typical problem solving process in 2018, whether you’re fixing a clothes dryer, replacing a headlight or looking for an answer to a software question, typically includes Google and a YouTube video. And, as more millennials become a part of the workforce, this trend is likely to grow. So, how can your technical documentation group meet the needs of this growing demographic? The answer is to provide up-to-date video tutorials that can be easily found online. Video is a personal form of technical communication that creates a bond with customers. At MiTek, the Technical Documentation Team is now referred to as “The Voice of MiTek.” After producing over 1,500 help and training videos, we are MiTek! This case study explores our journey to replace legacy help systems with the “YouTube of MiTek.” What worked? What didn’t?

From Agile Development to Cognitive Delivery: Using Taxonomies for Fun and Profit

Michael Priestley Enterprise Content Technology Strategist, IBM

Webinar Date: September 19th, 2018, 10 a.m. PST / 1 p.m. EST [closed]

Watch the webinar recording.

Michael Priestley will talk about IBM’s plans in marketing to use taxonomies and ontologies to drive both development and delivery of content to match and anticipate user needs.