Nov 122014
Updated: May 16, 2015

This post describes the November 2014 program

This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series 2014-15 Program Chronicles

On November 19, 2014, Joshua Breault and Patty Gale present on how to create a user community to the New England chapter of the STC.

We produced PDFs and HTML Help for annual releases of our software, but did anyone read them? Who accessed the help? How did they get there? Did users have questions about our help? Suggestions? Examples to share?

With no way to answer these questions, we embarked on a journey to move our online help system to a wiki. Our goal: To engage our users, building a community where users can ask and answer questions, add their own content, and even (gasp!) edit existing help topics.

The result? For the first time ever, we engaged in daily conversations with our users, analyzed metrics to measure and monitor their usage of the help, and improved the quality of our help content using their direct input with fast turn-around times.

Learn how we moved our Technical Publications output from HTML Help to the exciting world of WikiHelp. Hear about the challenges we encountered along the way and what we learned from our users. See how we refined our approach over time, carrying forward the best parts of this experience.

This presentation will be especially valuable if your organization is considering a similar move to wiki-based help or another online platform that allows user engagement. If your organization is already doing this, please come and share what you have learned, so the group can benefit from our combined experiences.

Joshua BreaultAbout Joshua Breault

As a content engineer/production specialist for a learning content team at Autodesk, Josh Breault creates state of the art end-user documentation deliverables for highly technical design software. He is involved with the entire documentation production process from initial project setup within the content management system (CMS) to the production and release of the final output. Areas of focus include: the production of single-sourced DITA XML-based technical end-user documentation for use in multiple online and offline formats; DITA; social/community learning and collaboration; and web analytics.
About Patty GalePatty Gale
As a learning content developer for a technical writing team at Autodesk, Patty Gale is involved in many aspects of the design, development, and production of learning content for 3D modeling software. As the information architect and content strategist for her team, she develops and maintains guidelines for the migration of help content from a book-based orientation to a DITA-compliant framework. A technical communicator for over 25 years, Patty has worked at businesses all sizes, from small start-ups to large corporations. Whether the sole writer or part of a larger team, Patty enjoys learning new technologies and determining the most effective way to share important information with users. She has received multiple awards from her employers and STC competitions, including an International Award of Distinguished Technical Communication. In a presentation at the STC Summit 2014, she described her team’s service-oriented approach to working in an Agile environment. Patty holds Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Business Management.
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