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: 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: 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: 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: December 14, 2016

    In this session, join Dr. JoAnn Hackos, OASIS DITA Technical Committee and ISO standards developer, and Bill Burns Vasont Systems' Applications Engineer, for an understanding of a new way to develop and publish standards. Learn why the status quo (Word docs and other unstructured file submissions) doesn’t work anymore. Understand how structured content and content management can reduce content-development overhead. Learn what tool vendors have been doing to make structured content development and content management less painful. Discover how content can be output to multiple devices in multiple formats without extra effort.

    Presented by: JoAnn Hackos Comtech Services and Bill Burns, Vasont Systems

  • Recorded on December 14, 2016 ago. Marketing and Technical Publications teams often develop content in different tools and store content in separate content management systems, which makes it extremely difficult to share content and deliver a unified and consistent customer experience. Gone are the days when you had the luxury of getting phone calls from confused customers. Today, consumers would much rather tap or swipe their way to your competitor. To address this problem, Adobe has created an end-to-end solution for DITA authoring, publishing, and component content management based on Adobe Experience Manager. This integrated solution speeds up the delivery of technical content on the market-leading platform that has helped marketers deliver compelling digital experiences. Join Stefan Gentz, Product Evangelist, and Dustin Vaughn, Solutions Consulting Manager at Adobe as they discuss and demonstrate this DITA CCMS and how to integrate technical and marketing content. Presented by: Stefan Gentz and Dustin Vaughn, Adobe Dustin Vaughn is a Solutions Consulting Manager at Adobe who manages a team of experts in Adobe's Technical Communication and eLearning products. Dustin has over 10 years of industry experience and has served as a panelist, speaker, and Adobe representative at various conferences. He designs, develops, and hosts technical, solution-oriented demonstrations for strategic global customers. As the Global Evangelist for Technical Communication at Adobe, Stefan’s mission is to inspire enterprises and technical writers around the world and show how to create compelling technical communication content with the Adobe TCS tools. Stefan is also a certified Quality Management Professional (TÜV), ISO 9001 / EN 15038 auditor, ISO 31000 Risk Management expert and Six Sigma Champion. Stefan is a popular keynote speaker and moderator at conferences such as tekom, tcworld, Information Energy, Intelligent Content Conference, Congility, LocWorld, TCUK, STC, GALA, ELIA, TTT, Translation Forum Russia and many other. He is also a member of the Conference Advisory Board of the world’s biggest TechComm event, the tekom / tcworld Conferences, and an Ambassador for the Globalization and Localization Association. He is also an active social networker on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
  • Recorded: November 30, 2016 DITA short descriptions have gotten a bad rap over the years, and what was designed to be an essential tool to help technical writers craft better topics and aid readers to narrow down their search for the right content, is perceived by many to be a chore or an afterthought. IXIASOFT DITA Specialist, Keith Schengili-Roberts and JANA Inc.'s Senior Structured Data Analyst, Joe Storbeck got together and wrote an OASIS white paper how and why crafting effective short descriptions are among the most important things a DITA-based technical writer can do. Keith and Joe will examine how to write effective short description for concepts, references and troubleshooting topic types as well as for maps and APIs. This presentation will cover why short descriptions are a good idea (really!), how they make finding content easier for readers, can increase the SEO for your online documents, and much more. If you are looking to understand why short descriptions are important and how to craft them properly, don’t miss this presentation! Presented by: Keith Schengili-Roberts, IXIASOFT and Joe Storbeck, JANA Keith Schengili-Roberts is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, DITA evangelist and technical writing nerd. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto’s iSchool, and Durham College. He is also an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, and can often be found presenting at conferences, working with customers, and researching how DITA is being used and sharing those results with the DITA community. Keith's popular industry blog DITAWriter.com has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT. Joe Storbeck has been a technical communication professional for over 30 years, and has an extensive background in the development of structured data and data application methodologies. He has led technical documentation teams for some of the world’s largest and most successful companies, including IBM, Citibank and AIG, and now leads the DITA consultation and development team for San Antonio, Texas based JANA, Inc. Joe is also a member of the following OASIS committees that are charged with the development, maintenance, and promotion of DITA: DITA Technical Committee, DITA Technical Communications Subcommittee, DITA Adoption Technical Committee, and Lightweight DITA Subcommittee.
  • Recorded: November 29, 2016 Continuous delivery (CD) and application release automation (ARA) are usually associated with software. These methodologies can be extended to other parts of your business, such as technical documentation. The output of a build/deploy/test/release software process and a build/publish tech doc process are similar – both produce sets of files that can be executed, uploaded, or published to multiple sites. When companies or organizations think of CD and ARA, they most often apply it to the software build/deploy/test/release process. There are many sources of information about how to do this, such as reference books, blogs, communities, and conferences where information is shared and new ideas arise. Let’s look at another way to apply CD and ARA in a company or organization. The process for technical documentation can also follow the build/deploy/test/release pattern.   At Electric Cloud, the process to build and publish (deploy and release) technical documentation was manual and time-consuming. A typical documentation set for a software release consists of six targets. The build process is run through the authoring tool and can take up to 30 minutes to build only one target. During this time, the authoring tool cannot be used to edit other files, and the PC performance can be adversely affected. To publish the documentation, the technical writer has to manually push the file set for each target and keep track of the progress. The publishing process can take up to several hours, depending on the number of targets to publish, the number of files for each target, and the number of servers to which the targets will be published. In this presentation, Jennifer will show how she modified her documentation workflow from doing things manually to having multiple documentation targets automated and publishing them to one or more sites. Jennifer will briefly describe the manual build and publish processes and how long it took to perform them as well as challenges of running this process consistently. Then she will describe and show how these processes were automated and summarize the improvements (spoiler alert: 50% speed up) resulting from it. This is an example of thinking outside of the box when it comes to improving your documentation processes by implementing DevOps, a methodology usually used in software development and release. CD and ARA can be applied to processes used by enterprise teams as well as small teams or groups in other areas of your business. The implementations are similar – only the process details are different. Presented by: Jennifer Chew, Nuage Networks Jennifer Chew is a senior technical writer at Nuage Networks in Mountain View, CA. Prior to this, she worked at Electric Cloud, Juniper Networks, Cisco Systems, and IBM. She is always looking for ways to combine her engineering experience with her writing projects.
  • Recorded: October 13, 2016 Change is difficult and often avoided, and everyone knows insurance companies are risk averse. However, that didn’t stop a small team of technical writers from upending the way they created content for California Casualty. By embracing modular structured content, unproven in their industry at the time, they were able to dramatically increase content findability which had a ripple effect on their entire business. Now California Casualty is an example to other insurance companies on how change can sometimes be a good thing. Join our webinar with Susan Lalor, Senior Information Designer at California Casualty, to find out how her team was able to accomplish this transformation. See how internal stakeholders and content users are just as important as customers. And most importantly, learn best practices for sowing your own seeds of transformation. Susan Lalor wrote her first computer user manual in 1982 when she wondered how the big blank screen sitting on her desk actually worked. She knew then that technical writing was her passion. For the last 13 years, she’s worked as a Senior Information Designer for California Casualty where she is a champion for single sourcing and user experience. She’s also been lucky enough to dabble in web and graphic design, project management, and business analysis over the past 30 years. Susan has a B.S. degree with a concentration in professional writing and has been a STC member since 1998. Chip Gettinger is VP, Solutions, SDL. He manages a team working with SDL customers to maximize their own customer experience by deploying SDL Knowledge Delivery applications. Chip has over 20 years’ experience in global publishing, content strategies, customer experience management, business management, and content management solutions, working closely with industry organizations, partners, and customers in technology solutions and deployment.
  • Recorded: August 23, 2016 Standards are as old as human societies: their forebears are the coins and weights that were used for trade as far back as the historical record goes. In this presentation, JoAnn Hackos explains how information development managers can adopt standards that are relevant for our world. Know how standards demonstrate that we are part of a worldwide community dedicated to ensuring that we define and adopt recognized best practices. Learn how we can work together globally to ensure that we define and implement best practices to develop information and deliver it effectively. Dr. Hackos explains which standards are available and which are under development. She will help you learn how you can benefit from standards in your company or organization. Presented by: JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc. 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: July 27, 2016 Over the last decade, corporate technical publications departments have invested heavily in migrating their content away from proprietary authoring and publishing tools (e.g., MSWord, Adobe FrameMaker) and implementing the DITA standard for content markup. These companies have invested millions of dollars into content conversion and implementation of DITA-based authoring and content management systems. In many ways, these DITA implementation projects have proven to be hugely successful, particularly with regards to content reuse and reduced cost of localizing content to multiple languages. However, one promise of DITA has often fallen short: the goal of true “single source publishing.” The majority of technical publications groups are still publishing to print as the primary output format, followed by online help, and in some cases, eBooks. But, one major gap is still present for most technical publishers: automated publishing to mobile devices. Even though smartphones and tablets have dominated the industry for the last several years, virtually no one is publishing content in a way that fully uses the native capabilities of these mobile devices. Instead, they are settling for the inherent limitations of PDF or HTML files. Dan Dube outlines 5 tips to help technical publishers go “the last mile” to fully leverage their DITA investment and deliver content to popular mobile device platforms like Apple iOS and Android. This webinar will also help to answer the burning question: “Why aren’t EPUB or PDF the best choices for delivering DITA content to a mobile device?” Presented by: Dan Dube, Compass Behavior Dan Dube is a seasoned veteran of the XML content management and publishing industry, with over 30 years of experience working with structured content and automated single-source publishing solutions. Dan is best known as the co-founder and former CEO of DocZone, the industry’s first cloud-based solution for XML authoring, content management, localization, and multichannel publishing. (DocZone was acquired by RSI in 2009.) Dan is now CEO and co-owner of Compass Innovative Behavior Strategies, a New England-based provider of behavior therapy services for individuals with autism and other developmental delays. He still maintains a presence in the publishing industry as an independent consultant.
  • Recorded: May 24, 2016 There’s a joke going around that asks: where’s the best place to hide a dead body? Answer: on the second page of a Google search. It underscores the fact that if your technical content does not appear at or near the top of what your users are searching for, it might as well not exist. You can mitigate the problem in DITA content by devising an effective taxonomy and inserting effective metadata into your topics. IXIASOFT DITA Specialist Keith Schengili-Roberts has explored this topic and presents his findings on the processes that can be used to make your DITA-based content easy for your users to find. Presenter: Keith Schengili-Roberts, IXIASOFT Keith is a DITA Specialist at IXIASOFT, DITA evangelist and technical writing nerd. Keith is also an award-winning lecturer on Information Architecture at the University of Toronto's iSchool, and Durham College. He is also an active member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee, and can often be found presenting at conferences, working with customers, and researching how DITA is being used and sharing those results with the DITA community. Keith's popular industry blog DITAWriter.com has become a focal point on DITA resources and best practices. Connect with Keith on Twitter @KeithIXIASOFT.