Archive for November, 2011

#tcworld 2011 #tekom 2011

The big event of the tcworld event calendar, the tcworld annual conference, was held last month in Wiesbaden, Germany from October 18 to October 20. I had to deliver two presentations and conduct two tutorials. Thanks to an extremely disciplined and curious audience, those five hours turned out to be a rewarding experience for me. And when some of the attendees wrote back to share a few nice words … (by now, you must have guessed that I am no jetsetting ‘conferencer’).

More importantly, the three days gave me a chance to meet scores of technical communication and localization professionals. In the course of Q&A sessions, panel discussions, and informal chats, I learned about perspectives that usually come from working on different projects in different geos.

The content strategy track on the second day was a big draw for all of us who have been reading up about this trendy topic and even implementing it in some form or the other. The track, anchored by Scott Abel (Twitter: @scottabel), ran the entire day and as expected (see his Twitter bio), Scott was marvelous as the anchor.
In between my two presentations scheduled that day, I could catch the panel discussion and the presentations by Rahel Anne Bailey (Twitter: @rahelab) and and Joe Gollner (Twitter: @joegollner). Tekom has uploaded some of the presentations on the tekom-WebPortal. I strongly recommend checking out their slides.

On the last day, I randomly chose a presentation titled The Rhymes and Rhythms of Multimedia Localization and was thoroughly surprised. The presenter Maria Azqueta from Seprotec shared insights from a project in which she worked with more than 40 translators and reviewers to localize videos in 3 key languages and 4 dialects. I loved the audio samples and the quality of her presentation. Maria’s slides are also available on the tekom-WebPortal.

Next tcworld annual conference
October 23 to 25, 2012 same place

The Extras
Wiesbaden is a small picturesque city where the old and the new coexist beautifully. The conference venue was a stone’s throw from the hotel where I stayed. My stay was brief, and the days were spent in the conference. But the weather and the clean wide sidewalks were ideal for long walks, and I seized every opportunity to walk down to the city center.

More pictures

Scannable and visual docs

Someone once tweeted “Learners are always two clicks away from Angry Birds. And that’s why you’d better make teaching & learning engaging.”
The more I sift through user feedback, the more I get convinced that users today are in no mood to read long texty paragraphs. They want scannable and visual presentation of information. Keeping this in mind, we are trying to enhance our knowledgebase articles and Help pages, especially the ones that are most-viewed.
I shared some examples of this initiative in the tekom conference last month at Wiesbaden, Germany.

Example 1

This document is one of our most-read knowledgebase articles. Over the years and over many updates, it had become an information dump. In an effort to cover all scenarios, reported by users over the years, readability and findability suffered. A complete revamp was done, and you can see how instructional design strategies, such as branching and chunking, were applied to transform a long linear doc into a visual doc.

Example 2
Adobe Illustrator type tools

In this example from the Adobe Illustrator documentation, graphics and intelligent structuring are used to present information in a visual and easy-to-scan layout. Detailed information has been layered to allow for different user levels and needs.

Do you have any example of visual docs? Any example of scannable and visual docs that do not have graphics?