The tekom Standard Process for Technical Communication
Michael Fritz, CEO of tekom/tekom Europe

In Autumn 2013, a tekom working group with representatives from both the industrial/service sector and academia established a standard process for information development in the field of technical communication. The standard process is an ideal model for actual workflows. Thus, it can serve as a reference for different considerations. It shows the relationship between work activities, tasks and challenges and the knowledge, skills and competencies required from a person working in the field of technical communication. In the future, the standard process will become the basis for defining qualifications for technical communicators as well as for training content and learning goals.

Think BIG - Key aspects of a modern content strategy
Sissi Closs, C-Topic Consulting GmbH & Hochschule Karlsruhe - Technik und Wirtschaft
Content is seen as a way to gain a competitive advantage. It must work on many devices in changing context for different user groups and purposes.

_ Borderless
_ Individual
_ Global

are properties which are more and more required for your content today to achieve an efficient user experience which integrates the different needs and goals and avoids information silos.
We will discuss key aspects of a modern content strategy which help you to fulfill these requirements.
Information Processes and Information Design for Mobile Documentation
Torsten Machert, Easybrowse GmbH
Making technical documentation available on mobile devices is more than just a matter of replacing printed documentation and distributing PDF files. Electronic publications have the potential to allow for a paradigm shift in how information is consumed. In order to be at the forefront of this change, the adoption of new documentation preparation methods are necessary. This includes the underlying data format that is required.
Documentation structures have already evolved, to not only result in a traditional printed manual,but information that is built for the needs of the user. One could even go so far as to say thatresponsive design is not only relevant for different screen sizes, but that the information, no matter HOW or WHERE it is accessed, should serve the needs of the user in the most optimal way, in a responsive way.
The results, are documentation processes whereby, those needs and interactions are at the source of problem solving, and stand in the centre of attention in technical documentation in 2014. These structures and processes must be conceived and designed bottom up. The presentation will focus on select case studies, strategies and methods for the design of optimal information structures for compelling mobile documentation.
Multi³ – Multi-channel, Multi-lingual, Multi-usage of Content
Udo Merz, euroscript international

Content is available in many different forms and many different languages within a company. The responsibility for content writing and structuring lies in the hands of different departments, follows different rules, has different goals, and yet it originates all around the same problem, describes the same products, explains the same processes, just in a different way.

For technical documentation the processes for content writing have been established within the last 10 years. Systems are available that support this process into the last detail, but what about producing marketing content? Where are the tools that support this process and where are the differences in the processes between marketing and technical documentation? Is there a common denominator linking the two processes? How can the two processes benefit from each other?

Our presentation will explain where content is used and how it can be shared; it will discuss all the channels that are relevant and must be considered; it will demonstrate the world of digital experience management with all his facets like social media, web experience or mobile solutions.
A special focus will be put on the question how to support the content creation process in view of the challenges of web experience management. We will show how content creation can be handled without buying one of the big, powerful yet expensive Marketing Resource Management systems and how you can combine content creation with localisation in an integrated approach in order to reduce the number of interfaces for the people responsible for the creation of the multi-language- content. And last but not least it will lead the way to a smoother integration of all collaborators within the complex process of marketing material production and planning.
We will show that supporting the processes of content creation and dissemination in the marketing environment leads to a significant increase of both efficiency and effectiveness, while at the same time reducing process complexity and making sure that your innovative data does not end up in the Big Data pools on the other side of the Atlantic, for re-use by “interested” third parties.

Automating Content Layout Without Losing Flexibility
Jörg Plöger, SCHEMA Group

The high cost for publishing print material in a globalized market is not only due to translation but also to costs for adapting layout for each translation. Manual tweaking in the source language is usually repeated in every target language. As a rule of thumb the DTP costs for translating technical documentation account for almost 50% of the total costs.

It comes as no surprise that the biggest advantage of DITA and XML lies in automating layout and not in reuse or other virtues. Unfortunately one of the major challenges of deploying DITA and XML lies in automating layout. Most XML-based documentation set-ups produce some kind of print output.

The XML standard proposes XSL-FO as a powerful mechanism to transform media-neutral XML content into professional looking PDF documents. Setting-up an XML / XSL-FO / PDF transformation chain is a tedious task usually performed by some technically gifted persons.

If there are just one or two layouts, this is just another hurdle in deploying XML-based documentation. But what if there are dozens, even hundreds of different layouts? Then automating layout becomes expensive and restricted to large-scale projects. Rolling out structured authoring to areas with such layout requirements is virtually impossible.

What if the required layout cannot be fully automated? Using open formats instead of PDF may pose other problems in regards of performance, security and time-consumption for fiddling layout. Since documents are to be re-generated when the content is updated, this fine-tuning has to be re-applied every time the document is updated. This might be a show stopper on an otherwise worthwhile move to DITA and XML content management.

In this presentation Jörg Plöger explains an alternative approach to tackle the challenge by allowing for automating layout without scripting and reusing fine-tuning. Layout automation and flexibility do not have to be in contradiction!

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