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UA Europe Conference

Produced by:
UA Europe logo
in association with: WritersUA (formerly WinWriters)

UA Europe Conference

The Conference for
Software User Assistance
Professionals

UA Europe 2012 in Dublin, Ireland

Photo of The Liffey River in Dublin

Conference overview

UA Europe 2012 took place in Dublin, Ireland, on June 14th - 15th, 2012 and was attended by delegates from 20 different countries throughout the world.

Topics included:
* collaborative authoring, * HTML5 for technical communicators, * single sourcing to multiple media and for multiple products, * CSS3 for Help Authors, * embedded Help, * cloud-based authoring, * all about hyperlinks, * getting feedback from users, * generating good PDFs, * mobile user assistance, * usability testing on a tight budget, * structured authoring, * localization in an Agile environment, * what is just enough documentation, and much more!

Photo of Matthew Ellison

Keynote revealed
three critical keys to success

Matthew Ellison opened the UA Europe conference in Dublin by revealing his top three tips for developing successful software user assistance in 2012. These were based, not only on his wide-ranging knowledge of current tools and technologies, but also on his experience as an avid (and often frustrated!) user of Help.

The themes established in Matthew's keynote were developed by other speakers throughout the rest of UA Europe 2012.

Dr Tony Self presented closing session

We were delighted to welcome back to the UA Europe conference one of our most informative and popular previous speakers, Dr Tony Self. Tony gained his PhD in semantic mark-up languages last year, and was also the winner of the ISTC's 2011 Horace Hockley Award for his outstanding contribution to the international technical communication community.

Tony closed the conference with a session entitled Any Colour... so long as it is black in which he expanded on the theme of his feature article in the current issue of the ISTC's Communicator journal. Tony asserted that the technical communication community can learn valuable lessons from the direction that car manufacturing has taken since Henry Ford revolutionised the industry with his production line for the Model T.

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UA Europe 2012 Speaker Index

Photograph of Cecilia Dobner (Autodesk)
Karin
Dahlgren
Photograph of Cecilia Dobner (Autodesk)
Cecilia
Dobner
Photograph of Matthew Ellison
Matthew
Ellison
Photograph of Ray Gallon
Ray
Gallon
Photograph of Dave Gash
Dave
Gash
Photograph of Leah Guren
Leah
Guren
Photograph of Colum McAndrew
Colum
McAndrew
Photograph of Keren Okman
Julian
Murfitt
Photograph of Sarah O'Keefe
Sarah
O'Keefe
Photograph of Keren Okman
Keren
Okman
Photograph of Ulrike Parson
Ulrike
Parson
Photograph of Ellis Pratt
Ellis
Pratt
Photograph of Dr Tony Self
Dr Tony
Self
Photograph of Dominic Smith
Dominic
Smith

 

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Karin Dahlgren (QlikTech)

Photograph of Karin Dahlgren (QlikTech)

For more than 10 years, Karin worked at Beijer Electronics where she was in charge of documentation for a range of automation products developed in Sweden, Germany and Taiwan. There she led the migration to a major new XML-based system that published to a range of formats and that made it easy to add new products and brands.

In 2011 Karin joined QlikTech, a fast-growing company in the business discovery area, where she is part of QlikTech R&D, based in Lund, Sweden. At QlikTech, Karin's main authoring tool is MadCap Flare, and large parts of QlikTech's software documentation are included in a single source project.

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Cecilia Dobner (Autodesk)

Photograph of Cecilia Dobner (Autodesk)

Cecilia has been working in the localization industry for more than 12 years. She is currently leading the Autodesk Publishing Technologies Process Analysts group, with focus on the collaboration with the User Assistance development teams, aiming to guarantee an optimum customer experience at global levels. In her role Cecilia provides globalization guidance to help design new learning strategies based on tools and processes to ensure that the content source is localization ready, and that the publication technologies are localization enabled.

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Matthew Ellison

Photograph of Matthew Ellison

Matthew has 25 years of experience as a user assistance professional in the software industry. Much of this time was spent managing a team of writers and trainers at a UK-based consultancy company, before enjoying a period in the US as Director of the WinWriters (now WritersUA) Conference.

Matthew has been a highly rated and respected speaker at conferences and training events throughout the world since 1997, and has covered a diverse range of topics from context-sensitive Help, to the Spice Girls! He now runs UA Europe, an independent UK-based training and consulting company that specialises in user assistance design and technology.

Matthew holds a B.Sc. in Electronic Engineering and a Post-Graduate Certificate of Education from Bristol University in the UK. In 2009 he was the winner of the prestigious Horace Hockley award that is presented annually by the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ISTC). In addition to his various consulting assignments for UA Europe, Matthew is currently a visiting lecturer on the MA Technical Communication course at Portsmouth University. He also a certified instructor for Captivate, Flare, Help & Manual, RoboHelp, and WebWorks ePublisher.

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Ray Gallon (Culturecom)

Photograph of Ray Gallon

Ray has been working in communications in one form or another for an entire lifetime. He is currently an independent consultant, specializing in the convergence of user guidance and usability. Ray began his communications career as a radio producer and journalist.

As a technical communicator he has worked with companies such as General Electric Medical Systems, Alcatel, and Ilog-IBM. Ray is currently president of the France chapter of the Society for Technical Communications (STC). He is a frequent speaker on technical communications themes, as well as topics related to media and to new technologies. He shares his life between the Languedoc region of France and the city of Barcelona, Spain.

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Dave Gash (HyperTrain dot Com)

Photograph of Dave Gash

Dave Gash is the owner of HyperTrain dot Com, a Southern California firm specialising in training and consulting for hypertext developers. A veteran software professional with over thirty years of development, documentation, and training experience, Dave holds degrees in Business and Computer Science, and is well known in the technical publications community as an interesting and engaging technical instructor. Dave is a popular speaker at User Assistance seminars and conferences in the US and around the world.

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Leah Guren (Cow TC)

Photograph of Leah Guren

Leah Guren is the owner/operator of Cow TC. She has been active in the field of technical communication since 1980 as a writer, manager, Help author, and consultant. She now devotes her time to consulting and teaching courses and seminars in technical communication, primarily in Israel and Europe. Her clients include some of the top hi-tech companies internationally, including Intel, IBM, and Microsoft. Her usability work focuses heavily on cultural and linguistic issues, including her research on BDBL (bidirectional bilingual) web site content. Leah is an internationally-recognized speaker in the field of technical communication and is currently serving on the board of directors of STC (Society for Technical Communication).

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Colum McAndrew (IDBS)

Photograph of Colum McAndrew

Colum is a Senior Technical Writer for IDBS based in Guildford, UK. A user of Adobe RoboHelp since 1999, he can frequently be found on that product’s support forums offering advice to other users. He also writes the RoboColum(n) technical authoring blog which focuses largely on RoboHelp, RoboHelp Server and other Adobe Technical Communications Suite products. Twitter: @robocolumn.

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Julian Murfitt (Mekon)

Photograph of Julian Murfitt

Julian is Managing Director and co-founder of leading specialist content systems consultancy Mekon Ltd. Originally trained as a mechanical engineer, he worked as a Solutions Architect during the 1980s. Many of his clients were early adopters of Desktop Publishing at the leading edge of marketing material production.

In 1990 Julian formed Mekon to capitalise on the growing demand for technical document solutions. He led the development of the first structured (XML) standard for AIPs (Aeronautical Information Publications) used in civil aviation authorities coupled with several large Civil Aviation documentation projects. Julian takes an active role in the S1000D community, and until recently sat on the council of the ISTC (Institute for Scientific and Technical Communicators). At Mekon, Julian focuses on strategic management and can be found presenting at conferences on content management and XML publishing.

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Sarah O'Keefe (Scriptorium)

Photograph of Sarah O'Keefe

Sarah O’Keefe, President, is the chocoholic founder of Scriptorium Publishing. The company is based in Durham, North Carolina, USA. As a speaker, Sarah strives to balance entertainment and information.

Scriptorium specializes in streamlining publishing processes for clients in telecommunications, defence, technology, and other content-rich industries. Typical projects are content strategy for technical communication, XML implementation, and build automation for publishing systems.

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Keren Okman (SAP)

Photograph of Keren Okman

Based in Israel, Keren has 16 years of experience as a user assistance professional. She has worked on CRM, Billing, and SCM products, writing and editing technical and end-user documentation as well as producing training and marketing materials. She took her first steps in the world of UA for mobile devices when she joined SAP Labs Israel in 2001, working with WAP 2.0 technologies and such handheld devices as the HP iPAQ. Keren is currently leading the company’s Mobile UA Guidelines Project and designing the UA for a number of the company’s innovative business apps.

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Ulrike Parson

Photograph of Ulrike Parson

Ulrike is the owner of parson communication, a documentation service provider specialized in software and process documentation. She looks back on more than 15 years of professional experience in technical writing.

The clients of parson communication include international and regional companies from various branches, such as software development, logistics, education, or healthcare. They profit from the extensive know-how of parson communication in structured authoring, implementing XML-based documentation solutions, agile project management, and training.

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Ellis Pratt (Cherryleaf)

Photograph of Ellis Pratt

Ellis is Sales and Marketing Director at Cherryleaf, a technical writing training, recruitment and consultancy company. He has over fifteen years experience working in the field of documentation, having worked for TMS, Digitext and Cherryleaf. His regular articles on technical communication have resulted him in being ranked by MindTouch as the most the influential blogger on technical communication in Europe. Ellis is a regular speaker at conferences, and he brings humour, real life stories and practical applications to his keynote talks and seminars. He is the author of Tech Writing 2.0 — The application of Web 2.0 technologies to technical documentation, So you want to become a technical author, and Network to Get Work. Ellis has a BA in Business Studies and is an Associate of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

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Dr Tony Self (HyperWrite)

Photograph of Dr Tony Self

Based in Melbourne, Australia, Dr Tony Self has over 30 years of experience as a technical communicator. For over 20 years, Tony has worked in the areas of online help systems, computer-based training, and electronic documents. In 1993, he founded HyperWrite, a company providing training and consultancy in structured authoring, Help systems, DITA, and technology strategy. Tony completed his PhD in semantic mark-up languages in 2011, and his book The DITA Style Guide was published in the same year. He is a member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee (and chair of the DITA Help Subcommittee), and is an adjunct teaching fellow at Swinburne University. Tony won the ISTC Horace Hockley award in 2011. A fhios ag Antaine cúpla focal na Gaeilge.

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Dominic Smith (Red Gate Software)

Photograph of Dominic Smith

Dominic is a Technical Author who found himself turned into a Project Manager in Red Gate’s .NET Developer Tools division, which develops productivity tools for other software developers. His main interest is working with User Experience professionals to provide requisite knowledge within products, before users realise they need it.

Dominic has a PhD in Hispanic Studies and an MPhil in Corpus Linguistics, both from the University of Birmingham. He tweets about a wide range of topics as @dnas2, and feels distinctly uncomfortable writing about himself in the third-person.

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UA Europe 2012 Session Index

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UA Europe 2012 Session Descriptions

Current User Assistance Trends and Technologies

Panelists include:

Ankur Jain (Technical Communication Suite Product Manager, Adobe)
Rachel Potts (ISTC)
Mike Hamilton (VP, Product Evangelism, MadCap Software)
George Cristian Bina (Managing Partner, SyncRO Soft - <oXygen/>)
Dennis Crane (CEO, Dr.Explain)
Chaired by Leah Guren (Cow TC)

This lively panel session will explore a range of key technology trends and challenges that are facing today's user assistance professionals. There will be an opportunity to put questions to the panel from the audience.

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Any Colour... so long as it is black

Dr Tony Self

Henry Ford revolutionised car manufacture when his production line replaced the method where cars were hand-made by artisans. Famously, Henry Ford offered the Model T in "any colour... so long as it is black". There are parallels in technical communication. Many technical communicators are still clinging to hand-crafted documentation, creating custom layouts and "tweaking" formatting, when new modular methods are vastly more efficient. The age of offering documents in any "colour" the customer wants is over. And just as car manufacture has long since moved to automation, technical communication too must embrace automation, with XML providing the technology platform to make this possible.

You will learn:

  • How car manufacture can be an allegory for the technical communication profession
  • How the car industry coped with transformational process engineering
  • What dangers may lie ahead for technical communicators
  • Why increased efficiency in documentation does not necessarily mean reduced quality

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The Future of Help is Embedded and Dynamic (and Social)

Julian Murfitt

The User Assistance community has been discussing leveraging the user community as contributors, and having Help content treated more as ‘part of the product’, and not an afterthought.

‘Embedded’ Help is user assistance that displays directly inside products—set inside a software UI or displayed through a display panel on a hardware device like a printer LCD or in-car data display. Although there are many benefits to this approach, having to prepare Help for embedded display, in electronic user assistance (CHM, Eclipse and web), and often print presents quite a challenge to the authoring team responsible. And what about user-generated content?

You will learn:

  • The challenges and benefits of embedding Help for users and authors
  • About effectively single-sourcing for embedded display inside products and other formats
  • How to prepare for user contributions at the same time
  • How standards like DITA make this single-sourcing and delivery easier and more cost effective

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Usability Testing: Down, Dirty, and Doable!

Leah Guren

You understand the importance of usability testing for a product's success. You may have even been involved in some way in a product usability test. But are you currently conducting basic usability testing of your Help system? Perhaps you think that it will be too expensive and time-consuming, or that you need to hire a special consultant. Maybe you want to do it, but don't know how to sell the idea to management. Well, never fear! Usability testing can be done on a very small budget and in a lot less time than you may think.

You will learn:

  • Basic concepts and terminology of usability testing and how they apply to Help
  • Key tasks in the high-level procedure of usability testing
  • How to avoid the most common mistakes
  • How to interview testers more effectively
  • How to interpret results

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HTML5 for Technical Authors

Sarah O’Keefe

This session provides an introduction to HTML5 and discusses how the technology might fit into technical authoring efforts. You will see examples of the new HTML5 markup, learn about the state of browser support for HTML5, and explore the connection between HTML5 and mobile content. The session will also include a discussion of output options and explore the relationship between HTML 5 and XML.

You will learn:

  • Important new tags and features available in HTML5
  • What distinguishes HTML5 from previous versions of HTML
  • What HTML5 offers to technical communicators
  • Whether HTML5 is right for you

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CSS3 for Help Authors

Dr Tony Self

Many of the limitations that Web developers and Help authors used to criticise CSS for have been eliminated in the latest version of the W3C standard. The usefulness of CSS now extends well beyond formatting Web pages to page layout. Multiple columns, embedded fonts, conditional rules, speech style, and template layouts are some of the powerful enhancements in CSS3. With this new power comes responsibility! We need to understand how to use CSS3 wisely. And taking advantage of CSS wisely means reducing development and maintenance costs. In this session, we will review the new functionality through demonstrations.

You will learn:

  • The underlying principles of Cascading Style Sheets
  • What new features have been introduced in CSS3
  • Which browsers and other processors support CSS3
  • Which Authoring Tools support CSS3
  • What future lies ahead for CSS implementations

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Getting Over WYSIWYG: A Painless Introduction to Structured Authoring

Dave Gash

Today, many writers must give up visual control of their content and work within fixed, often restrictive, environments in the name of "Structured Authoring". But why is this, and what's in it for the authors? This session lays out the basics of Structured Authoring and examines its benefits, requirements, and pitfalls to give you a clear grasp of concepts and techniques before you dive into tools and technologies. Specifically, we'll look at the advantages Structured Authoring can bring to individual authors, writing teams, and companies, so you'll soon think of Structured Authoring as your new best friend!

You will learn:

  • The rationale and concepts behind Structured Authoring
  • Strategies and processes that support Structured Authoring
  • How Semantic Markup and Structured Authoring fit together
  • How to get started with Structured Authoring

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All About Hyperlinks

Matthew Ellison

It has been said that getting users to your content is all about Search Engine Optimization, and that getting users to stay in your content is all about effective linking. This presentation examines the critical (and often overlooked) subject of hyperlinks. It discusses why hyperlinks are so important, and the various ways in which your users might benefit from them. We'll also look at the usability of links, where best to place them, and how to word them. We'll look at a variety of possible linking strategies for ensuring that users do not miss the critical information that they need, and yet are also not diverted unnecessarily away from their key information needs. Finally, we'll weigh up the pros and cons of using keyword-driven links (as in the form of ALinks, "See Also" controls, and the other specialist Help controls provided by some of the Help Authoring Tools), and we'll consider the potential of "soft linking", an emerging technique that makes hyperlinks easier to create and maintain.

You will learn:

  • When and how users actually follow hyperlinks
  • How to make it easier for users to select the most relevant links for them
  • How to ensure that your hyperlinks don't take your users off-track
  • When it makes sense to use keyword-driven links
  • What are soft links, and how they might be relevant to software user assistance

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Case Study: Localization in an Agile Environment

Cecilia Dobner (Autodesk)

The Agile Manifesto welcomes changing requirements throughout the entire project cycle; it promotes shorter timescales and is based on face-to-face conversations of self-organized teams. But what does all this mean to Localization? Traditionally, Localization has worked with its counterparts to promote precise planning and scheduling and stability of source code and doc content; how can Localization work with an Agile Development environment and even take benefit from it? Autodesk Localization Services (LS) has been working for the past nine months on developing an Agile Localization approach — collecting information on how the development teams are applying Agile, and defining Localization strategies based on continuous development and continuous translation.

You will learn:

  • How Autodesk LS relates to Development teams
  • Which are the points of contact between Autodesk LS and Autodesk Dev teams
  • Autodesk Localization Services workflow samples
  • What are the opportunities for localization in an Agile environment

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Case Study: Help! I Need Feedback. Where Do I Start?

Colum McAndrew

Getting user feedback on documentation is a hot topic for Technical Communicators. It causes much soul searching on how best to achieve it. In this session, we'll describe how Adobe RoboHelp Server was implemented at IDBS to complement our existing Adobe RoboHelp documentation. We'll explain how this helped us to identify areas where our documentation could be improved. The session will also demonstrate how Adobe RoboHelp Server highlighted areas where our application's interface and usability could be further improved.

You will learn about the:

  • Feedback options considered by IDBS
  • Positives and negatives of implementing Adobe RoboHelp Server
  • Adobe RoboHelp Server’s reporting capabilities
  • Usability, UI and help changes implemented

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Case Study: Chaotic Wiki meets Structured Authoring

Ulrike Parson

Wikis are old, and so are the problems that wiki authors and readers struggle with. Collaborative authoring in wikis might tap new synergies but often the outcome is as chaotic as a humming beehive. So how can you structure your content? How can you make it accessible? How can you organize reviews and input supply?

Technical writing had to deal with these problems before and found one answer in structured, XML-based authoring. This presentation shows a solution for structured authoring in a wiki by using additional metadata and forms. The case study is based on a MediaWiki enhanced with the open-source Semantic Bundle extensions. We will demonstrate how forms enable writers to structure their content in a DITA-similar way in topic types such as task, reference, and concept. We will also demonstrate how metadata is used to enhance content navigation and access to information, as well as to manage an authoring and review workflow.

You will learn:

  • How to realize structured authoring in a wiki
  • How to enhance content navigation and access to information by means of semantic information
  • How to use metadata to improve your workflow and collaboration with developers

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Case Study: What's Just Enough Documentation?

Dominic Smith (Red Gate Software)

The Lean Startup movement has taken Silicon Valley by storm. Eric Ries describes how teams working on new products in uncertain markets can learn by practising very fast iterations to gather actionable data from users to guide further development. The Runtime Analytics project at Red Gate is using this approach to develop such a product.

Technical Authors at Red Gate have always been more involved with development projects than at many companies, and our focus on embedded assistance and strings, rather than manuals, is vital when working on such projects.

In this presentation, I give some practical advice based on over six months’ experience authoring in a Lean Startup environment. What does Minimum Viable Documentation look like? Should you experiment with embedded UA? What happens if you have multiple ‘latest’ versions of the product? And crucially, how can we best offer user assistance when working so rapidly?

You will learn:

  • How Lean Startups can minimise waste and risk by running quick experiments to gain data from users
  • What problems are caused for user assistance by frequent iterations of the software
  • What is the minimum level of user assistance that we should focus on initially?
  • How should we add to this initial user assistance based on users' questions and feedback?

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Case Study: Mobile UA Best Practices for Business and Enterprise Apps

Keren Okman (SAP)

Producing quality user assistance (UA) for business and enterprise apps can be tricky. More often than not, the UA for such apps must tie into the UA considerations of other apps or even an entire suite of products. To avoid complexity while enhancing usability, you can implement best practices that keep it SIMPLE: Scalable, Intuitive, Multi-Platform, Legal, and Extensible. The presentation covers best practices for the entire product lifecycle, from idea to download.

You will learn:

  • Do’s and don’ts for the UA of business and enterprise apps
  • Innovative ways to quickly produce mobile UA at a low cost to the organization
  • Best practices for using people-centric language and dealing with translation and localization constraints
  • Tips and tricks for achieving ongoing improvement of the UA through social networks and customer co-innovation

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Single-sourcing Your Print-based Documentation
(or How to Generate Good PDFs)

Sarah O'Keefe and Matthew Ellison

As user assistance developers, we are often called upon to generate print-based documentation (usually PDF files) from the same content source as we use for our on-screen Help. And this is a challenge not only from a technical point of view, but also because the expectations of our end-users for on-screen Help and for print-based documentation are often completely different.

This session explores a range of tools, techniques, and best practices for generating effective and professionally formatted PDFs from a single source. In the first part of the presentation, Sarah O'Keefe shows how to set up a PDF/print publishing workflow for a DITA source, and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using various tools including the DITA Open Toolkit and Adobe FrameMaker.

In the second part of the presentation, Matthew Ellison surveys the support for print-based output that is provided by today's leading Help Authoring Tools. He explains the different workflows used, and assesses the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

You will learn:

  • How print-based documentation is used differently from screen-based user assistance
  • Key design consideration for print-based documentation
  • The advantages and disadvantages of using a pure XML solution such as DITA over a Help Authoring Tool
  • How to set up a PDF/print publishing workflow for a DITA source
  • How each of the leading Help Authoring Tools supports print-based output

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Needs Analysis for UA Professionals

Leah Guren

Do you confidently update your product's Help but struggle with projects that require ground-up development? Sometimes, figuring out what you need to create can seem like an insurmountable obstacle!

This session covers the basics of performing needs analysis, the process of determining what exactly has to be documented in the Help, and how. This is also an important component in estimating and budgeting.

You will learn:

  • Handy shortcuts for starting the analysis
  • The importance of identifying the main content categories
  • How to use personas as a cyclical analysis
  • How to map user workflow to task analysis
  • How to use the analysis results for project estimation

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Case Study: An Integrated Approach to UI and UA Design

Ray Gallon (Culturecom)

This case study shows how a call to produce "documentation" can lead to a complete informational subsystem design. The subject is a new application for Business Activity Monitoring that is aimed at two distinct audiences, needs two different voices, and requires two different approaches both in the interface and in the user assistance.

Ray will describe his experience of being closely involved in almost every aspect of the informational design: interface, software content and user guidance. Techniques employed to create layered user assistance include rich tool tips, a pop-up Help page with direct links to tasks, and a full classic tripane Help system. Also included in the project is the idea of customisable help at two levels: in-house consultants will be able to write modules oriented to a specific client, and end-users will be able to annotate any help page.

You will learn:

  • How the needs of user assistance invariably pull us into interface design
  • How to integrate multiple disciplines (IA, content strategy, UX, etc.) into your work as a technical communicator
  • About the role of language in UI design
  • How to use UI design tools (user stories, personas, etc.) for user assistance

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Case Study: Cloud-based Authoring

Ellis Pratt

One of the most popular developments in computing in recent years has been the emergence of cloud-based computing and Software as a Service (SaaS). So is technical writing likely to move to the Cloud? In this presentation, we look at how we implemented a cloud-based authoring solution as a way of getting developers to participate in the authoring process.

You will learn:

  • Why you might consider adopting a cloud-based solution
  • How to implement a cloud-based solution
  • The different approaches and services available
  • Lessons learned from the project — what worked and didn't work

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User Annotations with HTML5

Dave Gash

Way back in the olden days (circa 1995), users could add their own annotations to RTF-based WinHelp. Then along came HTML-based help, soon followed by WebHelp, and user annotations became practically impossible to implement. But with HTML5's local storage feature, user annotations are once again a practical and useful content-enhancement device. This session explores local storage and shows how your users can add their own notes to your WebHelp topics or Web pages. We'll see how to save and load user annotations, persist them across sessions, associate them with individual pages, and even share them among pages. After all these years, annotations are back, baby — and better than ever!

You will learn:

  • How the HTML5 localStorage object works
  • How to save and retrieve user annotations
  • How to associate annotations with specific pages
  • How to add an attractive annotation area to your pages

Case Study: Single Sourcing to Multiple Media and for Multiple Products

Karin Dahlgren (QlikTech)

When documenting software, it is common to handle the same or similar information in different authoring tools, based on output. For example, FrameMaker may be used for production of pdf files, and RoboHelp for help file creation. It then becomes necessary to update in both places when releasing a new version of the software.

From a company’s point-of view, conversion into a single source project implies benefits such as reduction of training needs for technical writers, and fewer tools to keep up-to-date and pay licenses/ maintenance for. If not before, introduction of localized documentation highlights savings that can be made by reusing information.

As a technical writer, single sourcing provides other advantages as well. Generally, tech writers are fans of structure and order, and this is an opportunity of a lifetime to clean up legacy files and rethink how documentation is organized. Structures that may once have worked well, may no longer fit software/products that have evolved.

You will learn:

  • Some traps to be avoided when creating a single source project
  • What items to consider when producing output to different media
  • On what level to establish conditions
  • What kind of information is suitable for different outputs

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Exhibitors at UA Europe 2012

Click a logo to view that company's web site.

3di logo ADAPT Localization logo Adobe logo
Dr.Explain logo ISTC logo ITR logo
MadCap Software logo Mekon logo
Oxygen XML EditorScriptorium - accelerating knowledge
Technically Write IT logo Etteplan | Tedopres logo
Write2Users logo

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