Speed Dating Wins Kudos at the 2015 Best Practices Conference

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JoAnn Hackos, Comtech Services, Inc.

Well—not really speed dating, but close. The first-ever Best Practices Demo Jam brought together people who had developed their great ideas with those who wanted an opportunity to see what they had done. Each Demo presenter got 10 minutes to show off a development before the bell rang and the crowd moved to another presentation.

Berry Braster, Sales Director at Etteplan, showed us how to use visual search and augmented reality in combination with the necessary steps within a content strategy to improve your service business in particular and technical documentation in general.

Rhonda Truitt, Global Director at Huawei for Technical Communication Innovation and Best Practices, demonstrated their first foray into an augmented reality procedure for service technicians. She argues that Augmented Reality (AR) is replacing user manuals at an increasing rate.

Patrick Baker, VP of Development and Professional Services, showcased Stilo’s AuthorBridge guided authoring environment to help SMEs contribute to new and existing DITA topics while having no prior knowledge of XML.

As XML Technology Specialist at JustSystems/XMetaL, Tom Magliery introduced their new release of XMetaL Author, with full advanced-authoring support for DITA 1.3 features and functionality, the first authoring environment to do so.

Did you know that structured PDFs can be automatically converted to semantic XML? Michael Miller, Antenna House VP, introduced the process his team uses to create rich XML content, ready for multiple uses, out of the original PDFs.

Joe Storbeck demonstrated JANA’s Perseus™ XML List Management Utility, a web-based data management application that simplifies the creation and handling of large amounts of XML list data.

Introducing Semantic Intelligence Tooling into the authoring process is key to creating an engaging authoring environment. Jan Benedictus from Fonto/XML explained how to provide authors with real-time feedback on content-quality and pro-actively suggest tags, links, and consistent language.

Russ Routh showed us how the HP Enterprise Knowledge Management group is using QR codes to enhance the customer mobile information experience. QR codes on HP ProLiant servers provide an HP mobile information experience to customers by providing contextual access to out-of-box setup for configuring, installing, and getting their server up and running.

Demonstrating the Astoria WebApp, Bill Gamboa, showed us a feature that will enable collaboration with the content developers on your team, as well as with others in your organization, to ensure your content is ready for prime-time. With the WebApp, reviewers and SMEs can “pitch-in” and get content ready using their browser or mobile device.

At Jake Gaylord’s jam table, we learned how Almon is using new software and techniques to communicate in a non-verbal manner. He applied new graphics-based standards and symbols to rich visual information to communicate technical information to a global audience. These files can be deployed across multiple platforms to maximize audience reach.

Patrick Quinlan sets the direction for the support.citrix.com and discussion.citrix.com sites, as well as managing the implementation of Knowledge-Centered Support for Citrix Technical Support engineers. He showed us how Citrix is using Natural Language Processing to identify duplicate article content on their support site.

A demonstration of the IXIASOFT DITA CMS by Keith Schengili-Roberts helped participants understand how to manage modular content based on DITA and to optimize content reuse. Clearly, using a standard like DITA and using a CCMS, like IXIASOFT’s DITA CMS, allows for content reuse and makes it easy for teams to collaboratively create content in an efficient and accurate way.

Sachin Shimoga explained that the Ericsson IPOS CPI team was required to simplify the process of documenting the Management Information Base (MIB) help because the process had become tedious and time consuming. They developed a process to extract the reference help content dynamically from the engineering source MIB files. The source is already verified and validated during the software development life cycle.

Andreas Espeborn from Atlas Copco helped participants learn about the challenges of creating a global collaboration platform for technical information and getting top management as well as staff onboard on such a long-term development. They had a vision they named DocMine –targeting a global collaboration platform for Atlas Copco customers, as well as their own product support and service business functions.

Kim Shain and Lauren Grau helped us explore Trailhead, an online learning path for Salesforce’s technology platform. They demoed Trailhead’s fun, guided, and challenging user experience which offers real-time validation and celebrates achievements. Participants learned how working with a standard like DITA and using a CCMS allows for content reuse and makes it easy for teams to collaboratively create content in an efficient and accurate way.

Charles Dowdell, AGCO, provided information about the processes he used to bring together a global information-development team, all working to develop standard DITA content that is reused worldwide and throughout the agricultural equipment product line.

Training organizations are still hesitant at embracing DITA. One key reason is the lack of output like Powerpoint, Camtasia, or Madcap Flare. Scott Hudson demonstrated Comtech’s transform to produce interactive e-learning outputs like those from traditional learning and training development tools. This transform reuses content also intended for documentation. Scott also demonstrated browser-based rendering of DITA content, including marketing and eLearning material.