Kathy Madison, Comtech Services
November 15, 2020
Over six hundred ConVExers from twenty-one countries, thirty-one US states, and 6 Canadian provinces participated in CIDMs first-ever virtual experience. The main-stage sessions, including the Insights & Inspiration talks and Industry Panels, were the most popular. The attendees also had the opportunity to join Zoom rooms for small candid conversations with speakers and vendors.
During the event, attendees were very highly-engaged in the ConVEx Slack workspace. They asked the speakers questions, made comments about the presentations, and started new discussion threads. The most active channels were #inclusivity-and-accessibility, #analytics-for-content, #contentcatharsis, #book-recommendations, and #petpalooza. Here are a few noteworthy posts/threads from the inclusivity and analytics channels.
- I’m wondering if your company is working on a revised terminology list for inclusivity and accessibility?
- We started with the first four terms: master/slave, blacklist, and whitelist.
- Those are the biggies. Of course, things like man-hours, man-years, and chairman have been added. Along with some other technical terms that we have all taken for granted for a long time.
- Also, terms like crazy, insane, etc. (though I’d hope those don’t show up in docs much, for multiple reasons).
- Here are some resources that were cited:
- So, on to the bigger question: what is a good metric for the effectiveness of content, and what would it take to propagate and amplify that so it has the same status that Net Promoter Score (NPS) currently has?
- I think it depends on the goal of the content. If content exists to provide self-service support, then support metrics (case deflection, AHT) are key. If the goal is engagement or thought leadership, then standard engagement metrics could work (page views, etc).
- We’re using advanced analytics to help our customers measure the impact of their work, understand how users interact with the content, what they search for, and, more importantly, identify what they struggle with. I’d love to share our best practices to help you become a truly data-driven documentation team and what we’ve learned from customers.
Of course, we had a bit of fun at ConVEx too. During the breaks, we had a chance to learn about everything from brewing coffee and beer to making a variety of cocktails and sweet treats! The team at IXASOFT certainly had fun in their Zoom room as they made a smoothie, gave everyone a chance to chime in, and joked about who had the best kitchen! If you attended ConVEx, be sure to download the cookbook from the #recipes Slack channel.
The highlight of ConVEx’s social activities was Monday evening’s CIDM’s Got Talent. Who knew our community has such talented members? There were several musicians, a poet, a juggler, an impersonator, a brave soul who recited the Canterbury Tales from memory, and a woodworker who showed us how to turn a block of maple into a beautiful bowl. Mark Poston was our run-away winner singing his original song, “Moments in Our Life” – he has an amazing voice. Attendees can watch the recorded talent show on the ConVEx platform; others can see Mark’s stunning performance at https://vimeo.com/459510885. Apparently, many musicians in the audience were so inspired by the performers; they agreed to form a CIDM band! Be on the lookout for their performance of DITA: The Musical, coming to a conference near you!
Overall, inclusivity and accessibility seemed to be the hot topic of ConVEx. We’ve decided to expand on the subject during Best Practices 2020: Management Therapy on December 7-9th. Best Practices is a virtual one-track, highly-interactive program designed for technical communication managers to hone their skills in six critical areas of management: building inclusivity, confronting unacceptable behavior, setting expectations, gaining respect, asking for resources, and managing change.
ConVEx was new to all of us, and CIDM did its best to provide an experience that included most of the benefits of a face-to-face conference. Though it’s not the same as seeing everyone in person, it was still a huge success! We will be tweaking the virtual experience for ConVEx 2021* planned for April 26-28, 2021, to incorporate the feedback we’ve received from this year’s attendees. Look for the call-for-speakers to open in mid-December.
If you could not attend ConVEx 2020, you can still get access to all the recordings and join the chatter on the ConVEx Slack workspace! The post-conference access pass is only $795, register on the ConVEx website.
* It was a tough decision, but unfortunately, we will not be hosting Journeys, DITA North America or DITA Europe in 2021. We still have our fingers crossed for an in-person Best Practices conference in Baltimore on September 20-22, 2021.