Unconference Session #4 Notes – TC Camp 2016

Humor

Description:

  • Inspiration and guidelines for injecting humor into tech docs
  • Your favorite technical communicator joke

Scribe: Tom Magliery

Top takeaways:

  • Humor is conditional in many ways
    • Different things work in different media.
    • Different things work for different audiences.
    • (Ironically) Using humor is contrary to the idea of removing distraction.

Notes:

  • Salesforce won an award for humor in tech docs for Trailhead.
  • The danger of humor is that it’s cultural.
  • What’s funny in one context isn’t in another.
  • Lawyers and politicians are fair game.
  • What can be done in tech docs?
  • Lighter tone as appropriate.
  • Use puns and wordplay to catch the user’s eye.
  • Writers can be more liberal in internal communications.
  • Epigrams could be useful.
  • Metrics showed humor made readers more receptive, and they read more.
  • Use juxtaposition, surprise, hyperbole, irony, puns.
  • More about SFDC (?) — funny things tend to be re-tweeted

Going Mobile

Description

  • Content for mobile devices.

Scribe: Laurie d’Armien

Top takeaways:

  • Consider user’s environment.

Notes:

  • Consider space for content: length and width per device.
  • Use responsive app design and ensure content fits on all devices
  • Reference Ann Rockley for mobile content
  • Examples: DITA, epub, iPad
  • Style guide is essential
  • Reference Pronto forums for examples of responsive help

Taming the MS Word Monster When Moving to XML

Description:

  • Top gotchas when moving from Word to XML.

Scribe: Ben Colborn

Top takeaways:

Essential is some kind of consistent taxonomy structure

Notes:

  • Tech pubs and education solutions/collaboration
  • Difficulty in setting standards across organizations.
  • Reduce overlap by converting legacy documents to structured
  • Separate authoring from publishing
  • Everyone says the want XML for reuse, but they really want control over Word.
  • Can have any number of info types as long as authors understand them.

Tools:

  • Word2DITA-DITA2Word
  • DITA2PPT-HTML5
  • D4P
  • SimplyXML
  • Adobe

TC in an Agile Environment

Description:

  • While an Agile environment spurs a wide variety of experiences, writers must ensure that docs are complete every sprint, and that reviews are built in to the plan.

Scribe: Elizabeth Semmelmeyer

Top takeaways:

  • Wide variety of experiences.
  • Need to include docs as part of the process.
  • Agile often gets blamed, but it’s really implementation.

Notes:

  • Agile is designed for small teams.
  • Significant lack of design docs.
  • Big picture isn’t detailed; best to start with a small piece.
  • Doc tasks must be visible, and included in sprints.
  • Reviews should cross multiple scrum teams.
  • Constant refactoring.
  • The time to bring up issues is in the retrospectives. Track issues at each scrum team meeting.
  • Writers are on multiple teams. Writers shouldn’t be on multiple scrum teams.
  • Scrum master creates stories and facilitates meetings. Should assign owners to reviews.
  • Dev has other priorities.
  • Many meetings aren’t relevant to documentation.
  • Content spread across scrums; multiple doc tasks.
  • Complete doc tasks every sprint.
  • Ensure team gets scrum training.

Tools:

  • JIRA
  • Rally

Promote Yourself via Social Media

Description:

  • Using social media for self promotion and job searches.

Scribe: Talya Flowers

Top takeaways:

  • Join different groups related to your field.
  • Connect with like minded individuals in your field.
  • Step outside your comfort zone
  • If you have 500+ followers, you are an influencer.
  • Participate by liking, following various blogs, sharing relevant articles, and making a presence in your communities to expand horizons and jobs will come to you!

Notes:

  • Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn used by majority in group
  • Twitter is nebulous because of the 140 character restriction.
  • Use relevant hashtags. Post articles of interest to show that you’re relevant and knowledgeable.
  • Use HootSuite to post to multiple social media sites at once, tracks hits and likes even geographically.
  • Use LinkedIn to promote your business. It’s visible to prospective employers.
  • Business vs. Personal:
  • Be cautious about the content you post
  • Personal and business should not mix
  • Twitter is the best option for self promotion; potential employers can see how active you are and how much you think about it.
  • Use best judgement and be polite.
  • Retweets, @ mentions, and hashtags affect number of hits
  • Write reviews
  • Best time to tweet is during commute hours
  • Use polls

Tools:

  • Hoot Suite
  • Periscope to do mobile broadcasts from cell phones
  • Skype for podcasts; accepts multiple participants

Keeping up with Industry Trends

Description:

  • How to keep your skills honed.

Scribe: Jessi Lawrence

Top takeaways:

  • Have a desire and make the effort
  • Network. Participate in communities, blogs, etc.
  • Create a community.
  • Reach out: at conferences engage with vendors, speakers, peers
  • Research competitor’s docs

Notes:

  • “Current” is already behind. How do we anticipate?
  • What do we do? Conferences, networking, etc.
  • Keep abreast of new books and articles
  • What are other people doing?
  • What do other groups use for tools?
  • Explore terminology on the web
  • Use consultants. They need to keep on top of what’s happening in the field.
  • Always look for things to learn
  • Attend Write the Docs meetups
  • Slack
  • Techwrl blogs
  • LinkedIn groups
  • Read the requirements for job postings.
  • Ask others to explain new trends and teach others.
  • Git is collaborative and has sandboxes to try new things (all in markdown)