Brianna Stevens, Comtech Services

New to the Best Practices conference this year was the Inspire Award. Each candidate was given five minutes to highlight their innovation or achievement. We heard from: Archana Kulkarni at Ericsson, Dominique Trouche at Whp, Laurel Nicholes and Niki Vecesi at F5, Jo-Ann Fogg at VMware, Kathryn Showers at Sony, Michael Zhenyu at Huawei, Sherry Zhang at Huawei and Vlad Khanin at NextGen Healthcare.

The CIDM Advisory Council awarded the Judges’ Choice Inspire Award to Jo-Ann Fogg. She described how VMware modified the feedback mechanisms available on their online topics to get more actionable feedback from their users. Previously using a five-star rating scale with a comments field, her team has adopted a simple “Was this information helpful? — Yes or No.” If a user answers “No” on a given topic, they will be provided with three choices of why that topic was not helpful: “This page didn’t answer my question,” “The information is wrong,” or “This page is too detailed or hard to understand.” After selecting one of these choices, the user is presented with a comment field to provide additional, more specific feedback. Her team has found that they receive more useful feedback through this mechanism. Instead of seeing a 1-star rating on a topic without any idea why, all negative feedback comes through with a basic justification.

The Community Choice Inspire Award went to Kathryn Showers for her work across her organization to connect all writing teams. Working toward the goal of holding a Writers’ Summit, she created a collaboration portal where all writers regardless of location or team could access necessary information. This information included writing tips of the day, commonly needed links, and other helpful information. After many months of discussion, the Writers’ Summit took off, with other teams and departments, such as marketing, asking if they could be involved. The website has also been more successful than she imagined it would be, with both training and marketing groups asking if they could provide information for their technical documentation peers. With the success of these initiatives, the Writers’ Summit is looking to be a regular event for Kathryn’s organization.

Congratulations to all those who participated. We look forward to more inspirational submissions next year.