Meaningful Content: Cross-Functional Techniques That Create Impact

Presenters: Bonnie Chase and Sara Feldman

In the last hour of the 2021 Summit, I was exhausted. It had been a very long day, and I was unable to give it my full undivided attention, because I was torn between focusing on ‘must attend’ meetings or preferably, sitting with Bonnie and Sara. I was so happy that I was able to sit in on their session because there was plenty of energy, knowledge, and information in that room. For those who did not attend this session, they missed a treat. Bonnie and Sara discussed the ideology of ‘content’, establishing how it was ‘purposeful’, ‘demand-driven’, and ‘contextually-relevant’. And I immediately thought to myself, “Well how is that?” And explain, they did. Content is ‘purposeful’ because we use it daily on the job in the tools we build and interact with, we use it as inspiration, and we use it as a tool for gratification. Content is ‘demand-driven’ because it is a way of promoting an achievement; or we use it to give customers an easy way of digesting information; and it can be used to collect measurements about a product or service. Additionally, content is ‘contextually-relevant’ because it says we are committed and focused, and it can move customers to a state of anticipation. Continue reading "Meaningful Content: Cross-Functional Techniques That Create Impact"

Bridging Products, Portals, and Content Gaps with Learning Maps

Presenters: Tyrin Avery and Erin Wagner Tidwell (Salesforce)

Learning Maps are a networked ecology of portals and/or products designed in such a way that people across businesses and even organizational entities are able to easily learn or locate information quickly. From a user interface (UI) perspective, Learning Maps allow the user to follow a staged path whereby selecting a topic from the path renders three additional tables of topics, narrowing the information to more specific content. The tool itself is built using CSS/HTML and some JavaScript, along with ‘Git’, an open-source tool created to control versioning, and ‘Heroku’, which functions as the publishing platform (it puts your content in the cloud). Continue reading "Bridging Products, Portals, and Content Gaps with Learning Maps"

The Art of Interviewing SMEs and Tech Comm Celebrities

This session is part of the Project Management, Leadership, and Career Development (PM) track of the Summit. The presenter of this session, Nicky Bleiel, has over 20 years of technical communication experience, is Past President of STC, and served as an STC Director-At-Large for five years. She is also a past president of the Pittsburgh Chapter of STC and has won multiple STC competition awards. In addition to these leadership positions, she has served as a judge for various STC competitions, and published and reviewed for STC Summit and STC’s journal, Technical Communication.

For today’s presentation, Ms. Bleiel presented on the key considerations for interviewing subject matter experts (SMEs) and well-known technical communicators. Before conducting your interview, make sure you are well-prepared with questions prepared and preliminary research completed. Be sure to review all product/subject-related information, diagrams and drawings, and related documentation. Do you have a good idea of the tools and technologies this SME uses in their work environment?

When starting the interview, be sure to cover the Five Ws:

• Who would use this feature?

• Why should they use this feature?

• When would users use this feature?

• When shouldn’t they use it?

• What are the prerequisites?

Continue reading "The Art of Interviewing SMEs and Tech Comm Celebrities"

Now I Get It: Three Strategies for Effectively Sharing Scientific Research

This session was part of the Content Design and Delivery (CD) track and features Dr. Jennifer Goode from Mercer University. Dr. Goode self-describes as a teacher, project manager, instructional designer and trainer, organizational expert, and holds the STC’s CPTC Foundation-level certification.

The impetus for her crafting this presentation is her experiences interacting with researchers at her university while assisting them with presenting their research information in the form of research posters. Often producers and consumers of scientific information have different perceptions of the information presented, though the expectation of understanding might have been the same. With the method crafted by Dr. Goode and her colleagues, audiences from all backgrounds find the scientific information accessible and easier to interpret. Continue reading "Now I Get It: Three Strategies for Effectively Sharing Scientific Research"