Past Webinars

  • Recorded: March 30, 2017 As we look forward to the 2017 Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in April, we devote time to identify industry trends. We asked managers, information architects, writers, training developers, and more how they are addressing the challenges of meeting customer information needs. Dawn Stevens, President of Comtech Services and Director of The Center for Information-Development Management, and Mark Gross, President of DCL, walk us through the results of the 2017 Trends Survey, a study we have been conducting since 2012. With five years of data, we can trace the changes in how we think about developing and delivering content. Join DCL and Comtech Services as we review the results of the 2017 survey and compare it with past results. Learn how information developers are coping with new customer demands for innovative approaches to development and delivery. Learn what tools teams are using and how they respond to technical innovations. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services, Inc. and Mark Gross, DCL Dawn Stevens is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado. She is also Director of the Center for Information-Development Management, a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. With over 25 years of experience, including 15 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training. Mark Gross, President, Data Conversion Laboratory, is a recognized authority on XML implementation and document conversion. Mark also serves as Project Executive, with overall responsibility for resource management and planning. Prior to joining DCL in 1981, Mark was with the consulting practice of Arthur Young & Co. Mark has a BS in Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from New York University. He has also taught at the New York University Graduate School of Business, the New School, and Pace University. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of automated conversions to XML and SGML.
  • Recorded: May 10, 2016 In the age of IoT, connected devices have opened up a whole new way of supporting your customer. Learn how you can leverage real-time device information to provide your customers with an immediate diagnosis and troubleshooting walkthroughs before they even notice the problem. In this session you will learn:
    • How to create adaptive decision workflows as part of your documentation
    • How to trigger the right workflow at the right time based on device information
    • How to serve the workflow to customers through your web or mobile application
    Presenter: Hannan Saltzman, Zoomin Hannan Saltzman is the Vice President of Product Management at Suite Solutions. For the last 15 years, Hannan has served in senior R&D and product positions, focused on helping organizations extract critical business insights from their information assets using smart analytics. At Suite Solutions, Hannan and his team develop innovative products that help organizations reduce customer effort by providing personalized and consistent product information across customer touchpoints.
  • Recorded: October 29, 2015 Were you taught how to write a classical five-paragraph essay in elementary school? Did you ever learn about beginning paragraphs with topic sentences? Do you know that legal documents like contracts have standard sections in a standard order? Do you think action steps should be in the order they are performed? If none of these structures are new to you, you already know something about structured writing. Yet, the thought of moving to writing with a consistent, prescribed, and semantic structure often strikes fear into the hearts of technical writers and subject-matter experts alike. In this webinar, learn why structured authoring is essential to clear and consistent communication. Consider why using a semantic structure enhances the quality of your writing while also making it available for repurposing and retrieval. Rather than considering structure something to avoid, think of it as something to embrace to make your writing more understandable for your readers. And, consider ways to help those who resist a move to structure to understand its benefits by providing them with a supportive authoring environment. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. Dr. Hackos and colleagues are called upon by corporate executives worldwide to consult on strategies for content management, development and organizational management, product interface design, customer studies, Web and traditional information architecture, and tools and technology selection.
  • Recorded: February 22, 2017 Although traditionally businesses may still regard technical documentation as an afterthought, there is a change as product information is more and more regarded as an integral part of the product, businesses are looking for more efficiency gains and cost savings, and the future role it will play in the way information will need to be delivered using technologies like Augmented Reality, but also how content connects to IoT. During this webinar, Berry will discuss how content quality plays an important role in achieving these goals, as well as discuss how the use of Simplified Technical English and other documentation standards facilitate product marketing and help make content future proof. Presented by: Berry Braster, Etteplan Berry Braster is the global Sales Director of Technical Documentation Services at Etteplan, a specialist in engineering, embedded systems, IoT, and technical documentation solutions with over 2500 employees worldwide. Berry has over 16 years of experience in the field of technical documentation and has assisted many global companies with their content strategies, how to effectively communicate technical information and apply universal standards for content, including Simplified Technical English and DITA.
  • Recorded: March 29, 2016 As we look forward to the 2016 Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in April, we devote time to identify industry trends. We ask managers, information architects, writers, training developers, and more how they are addressing the challenges of meeting customer information needs. Dr. JoAnn Hackos, President of Comtech Services and Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), and Mark Gross, President of DCL, walk us through the results of the 2016 Trends Survey, a study we have been conducting since 2012. With four years of data, we can trace the changes in how we think about developing and delivering content. Join DCL and Comtech Services as we review the results of the 2016 survey and compare it with past results. Learn how information developers are coping with new customer demands for innovative approaches to development and delivery. Learn what tools teams are using and how they respond to technical innovations. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc. and Mark Gross, DCL Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. Dr. Hackos and colleagues are called upon by corporate executives worldwide to consult on strategies for content management, development and organizational management, product interface design, customer studies, Web and traditional information architecture, and tools and technology selection. Mark Gross, President & CEO — founder of Data Conversion Laboratory, is a recognized authority on XML implementation and document conversion. President and CEO of DCL, Mark also serves as Project Executive, with overall responsibility for resource management and planning. Prior to founding DCL in 1981, Mark was with the consulting practice of Arthur Young & Co. Mark has a BS in Engineering from Columbia University and an MBA from New York University. He has also taught at the New York University Graduate School of Business, the New School, and Pace University. He is a frequent speaker on the topic of automated conversions to XML and SGML.
  • Recorded: September 30, 2015 Ericsson has made many attempts over the years to overhaul its documentation structure. It’s no easy task, though, to come to consensus across such a large and diverse company. Learn how eight development units spread over eight time zones developed a new global information model for a large-scale DITA implementation project. Fiona explains how it began, the challenges met and overcome, and where the project goes next. Presented by: Fiona Hanington, Ericsson Fiona is an information architect at Ericsson. Her main responsibility over the past 18 months has been to lead the development of Ericsson’s global information model for customer documentation, in preparation for a move to DITA and a CCMS. During this process, she learned many things, not the least of which is how to transition from a deep sleep to a cheery “good morning” in 5-seconds flat for regular overseas conference calls. Concurrently, Fiona has been completing her long-awaited MLIS.
  • Recorded: January 18, 2017 Proponents argue that organizations adhering to an Agile methodology are better positioned to meet the needs and expectations of their customers, react to market needs and changes, and realize the greatest value from their resources. As a growing number of information development teams jump on the Agile bandwagon, with or without their product development teams, they must evaluate whether or not Agile meets its promises. However, traditional waterfall metrics tend to measure process and productivity, such as ensuring a defined workflow has been followed or calculating development hours per page or topic. Agile benefits, however, center less on how things were done and more on the resulting outcome, such as customer satisfaction or team collaboration.  Managers need to adapt and change what they are measuring to obtain a complete picture of what they are accomplishing with their move to Agile. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services Inc. Dawn Stevens is Vice President of Operations and partner at Comtech Services and Associate Director of the Center for Information-Development Management. With over 25 years of experience, including 15 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training.
  • Recorded: March 23, 2016 Manuals are rapidly becoming the last items people rely on to find information about the products they have purchased. Leafing through the pages of a printed copy seems too old today. In fact, even finding the printed manual may be difficult in most environments. Instead, we search for answers to our questions using the ubiquitous Google search. Most of the manuals that were in our kitchen drawers are available online but do we really want a PDF of a manual to try to page through? PDF searches are pretty much useless for finding the specific answers to our questions or solving our problems. Instead of a PDF, we’d like a page with the answer, something we often can find without going to the product website. Topics are the new information resource. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services and Nenad Furtula, Bluestream Dr. JoAnn Hackos is President of Comtech Services, a content-management and information-design firm based in Denver, Colorado, which she founded in 1978. She is Director of the Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), a membership organization focused on content-management and information-development best practices. Dr. Hackos and colleagues are called upon by corporate executives worldwide to consult on strategies for content management, development and organizational management, product interface design, customer studies, Web and traditional information architecture, and tools and technology selection. Nenad Furtula is partner and a VP of Sales and Marketing at Bluestream Database Software. Nenad has been working with XML and bringing XML related products to market for over a decade. Currently his primary professional interest lies in building and socializing a DITA-enabled value-based component content management system called XDocs.
  • Recorded: September 21, 2017 User guides, technical and reference manuals, installation and maintenance manuals aren’t merely the documentation of your products—they are also tools for winning business, increasing customer satisfaction and building loyalty. By understanding how your product documentation is consumed, you can transform operations and improve your product adoption. To gain this insight, you need to change the way you track and mine the behavior of users when they search, read and interact with your technical content. By combining the latest delivery, text-mining and analytics technologies, you will transform tech content into a sensor and its delivery into a data generator, unleashing a tremendous potential of information innovation.

    Presented by: Fabrice Lacroix, Antidot

    Fabrice Lacroix is a known Web pioneer and the founder of Antidot, the company that puts enterprise content to work. As an entrepreneur, he has been working for 25 years on the development of the Internet and of the Web through several major companies.
  • Recorded: July 1, 2015

    We talk a big game: DITA helps you reuse content with ease. Business cases are built on this promise, but many find the goal elusive. It seems to take just as much effort to manage reusable content as it did to simply copy and paste it. Sure, we might have missed some versions of that content in subsequent updates, but now we can destroy someone else’s deliverables by unwittingly changing content they were reusing. The problems are different, but the impact is the same, as we fail to realize the promised benefits and cost savings. At least in the “good old days” we understood what we were doing – Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, and voila! Everyone could do it! Now we struggle with the difference between a keyref and conkeyref, we can’t decide whether to use a conditional attribute or a key, and we have never even made a conref push work, let alone find an application for it. Why isn’t DITA delivering on its reuse promises in so many organizations? In this presentation, Dawn Stevens asserts that the promises can indeed be met, but you must use the right tool for the job. Dawn provides guidance for choosing the appropriate reuse mechanism in the DITA standard as she compares and contrasts each feature, including the forthcoming 1.3 capabilities of scoped keys and branch filtering.

    Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services, Inc.

    Dawn Stevens is a Senior Consultant specializing in information development, instructional design, and management consulting. With 25 years of experience, including 13 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training.

  • Recorded: January 12, 2017 DITA 1.3 introduces scoped keys, which expand the key functionality introduced in DITA 1.2. In DITA 1.2, a key could have only one definition with a root map. This limitation proved a barrier to a fully-realized reuse strategy for many documentation teams. Scoped keys enable a key to be redefined at multiple levels (key spaces) in a map, with each key definition effective within its own key space. A key space can be the entire root map, a sub-map, a topichead or topicgroup, or even a single topicref, meaning (for one thing) that a topic can be reused many times in a map with its keys being resolved different in each instance of the topic. The scoped keys functionality makes use of a new keyscope attribute added to the appropriate map node. This attribute is not required; unscoped keys can still be used and continue to function as they did in DITA 1.2. This webinar explains the evolution of keys between DITA 1.2 and DITA 1.3, and presents several basic examples and use cases for scoped keys. It also explains key spaces and the interaction between multiple key spaces in a map. During this webinar, the presenter will use the oXygen XML editor with the understanding that other XML editors might choose to visually represent the scoped key functionality differently. Presented by: Leigh W. White, IXIASOFT Technologies Leigh is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, where she helps documentation groups evaluate their workflows and content models and transition into the DITA CCMS. Leigh has spoken on DITA, content management systems and content conversion at a number of conferences, including DITA North America, DITA Europe, Intelligent Content, DITA-OT Day, the STC Summit, Lavacon, and Writers UA. She is the author of DITA For Print: A DITA Open Toolkit Workbook and a contributor to The Language of Content Strategy and The Language of Technical Communication.
  • Recorded: March 9, 2016 What can we as information developers do to help our users sort through the plethora of information available to them and find that small nugget of truth that will help them complete their task at hand, solve a nagging problem, or make a purchasing decision? How can we create an uncluttered path through the forest that takes them directly to our content, eliminating distractions and unnecessary forks in the road? A corporate taxonomy helps make searching simple and increases the chances for users to find the answers they need on their first try. Unfortunately, the effort to create such systems and the tools required to support them can be prohibitive. In this presentation, Dawn Stevens and Joe Gelb will discuss the importance of a corporate taxonomy, outline the process for defining and testing it, and demonstrate its crucial role within dynamic publishing platforms delivering focused content across all customer touchpoints. Presented by: Dawn Stevens, Comtech Services Inc. and Joe Gelb, Suite Solutions Dawn Stevens is the Vice President of Operations and partner at Comtech Services, Inc. Dawn specializes in information development, instructional design, and management consulting. With 25 years of experience, including 13 years at Comtech, Dawn has practical experience in virtually every role within a documentation and training department, including project management, instructional design, writing, editing, and multimedia programming. With both engineering and technical communication degrees, Dawn combines a solid technical foundation with strong writing and design skills to identify and remove the challenges her clients face in producing usable, technical information and training. Joe Gelb has over twenty years of experience helping enterprises implement, maintain and capitalize on structured content. At Zoomin, he has spearheaded the development of advanced technology solutions for content delivery. Prior to founding Zoomin and Suite Solutions, Joe was the CTO at Live Linx, a leading provider of software and system integration services for technical product information, where he designed and implemented solutions for aerospace, defense, manufacturing and hi-tech companies. Joe holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology.