Last week saw the 2017 edition of Tekom/TCWorld, the world's largest technical communication conference. Tekom/TCWorld is always a highlight of the techcomm calendar and this year, true to form, K15t Software had a strong presence at the event.
I had the opportunity to attend the conference as part of our team – here's a collection of some highlights that I hope will be interesting for you.
The DocOps approach: moving from DITA to Confluence
In his talk Right Concepts, Wrong Tools, Matt Reiner explained how moving from a DITA-based authoring system to Atlassian Confluence extended with Scroll apps unlocked his team's collaborative potential. It let them successfully adopt an agile DocOps approach.
Although structured content authoring in DITA had some practical use in their case, Matt explained how moving to Confluence vastly improved his org's technical content creation processes:
- Confluence's collaborative features let stakeholders review content instantly
- Using the Scroll Versions app, he can now publish content with a single click, with no specialist technical knowledge required
- On-boarding new tech writers is much quicker – reduced from 2 weeks to 4 hours
See the whole story for yourself, Matt's presentation is below.
UX principles make your docs reader-friendly
Information architecture is always a hot topic in techcomm, so I was excited when I heard that Carl Carlheim-Gyllensköld was holding a session entitled Technical Communication Based on Human Behaviour.
Carl gave many tips on structuring and designing your docs to make them more effective. My personal favorites were:
- People only read about 60% of text online, so use headings effectively
- Put your article's key info at the beginning and the end
- Don't give your stressed, rushed readers lots of things to remember
You can see the slides from the talk as a PDF here on the Tekom website.
Use help center metrics to inform content marketing
Davin Pukulis (our own Director of Marketing here at K15t) described how help center metrics can be used to inform and improve content creation decisions.
The key take-aways from the session were;
- Focus on actionable data, and formulate specific actions to take on that data
- Find out what your readers are looking for the most, then create marketing content focused on those areas;
- monitoring page views
- listing the help site's most-searched terms
- measuring time on page and number of returning users (high figures imply that these subjects are difficult to grasp, and that users may benefit from having more content in these areas)
You can find out more about the talk on the Tekom website.
Enlite and collaborative techcomm a hit
Last year the K15t team showed our documentation solution Enlite at Tekom in beta form. This year the solution, based on a custom-tailored form of Atlassian Confluence, was rolled out as a full release. We were thrilled to see a great crowd of interested folks visit the Enlite booth over all three days. And we were excited by the positive feedback we received from those who took part in demos of Enlite.
Enlite officially has breakthrough momentum with early users, and there is genuine buzz about this technical communication solution that emphasizes simplicity and a modern, collaborative approach. That, combined with the diverse array of thought-provoking presentations, made this a standout year for me at Tekom/TCWorld.