We’ve been busy bees recently, working on some new elearning courses that we plan to be introducing soon. Shortly, we’ll be offering an online course on DITA Fundamentals, and another on Content Strategy. Both courses have been written and are at the User Acceptance and Testing stage. Of these two, you’re likely to see the DITA course released first.
There are two more online courses in the pipeline, which we hope to release at some point in 2014. One relates to policies and procedures, the other to elearning/screencasting.
Our intention is to offer basic courses online, and advanced courses in traditional classroom format. Where there’s demand, we’ll also use Google Hangouts to deliver the advanced courses to overseas delegates.
One of the kind things people were saying to us at the tekom conference last week was they enjoyed reading our free illustrated guide to DITA. Indeed, we’ve been bowled over by the response to this mini graphic novel and the number of people who have downloaded it.
This prompted us to complete a second illustrated guide we had “in the works” – on content strategy.
Again, this guide takes the form of a graphic novel:
We’ve been on the road in recent days and weeks, visiting different documentation teams, and we’ve found there are distinct signs of change. In this post, I’ll look at how we’re starting to see the workflow for creating User Assistance beginning to change.
We found many documentation teams overstretched and starting to be asked how they could create content for new products that were coming along. Some organisations have decided they can only deal with this extra workload if they rethink the workflow for how content is created.
We wondered how this diagram would look if it related to content strategy. We came up with a diagram that describes the critical risk factors in content strategy – the aspects you will need to ensure you get right within the management culture that exists inside your organisation:
In a recent post on StackExchange, Dr. Chris Atherton mentioned some of the challenges email creates for organisations looking to develop an effective content or intranet strategy:
“You’re living out of your inbox and the company’s intranet. And now people are asking you whether you read that thing that they emailed you and posted on the intranet, because there’s no clearly-defined policy regarding which communiqués belong in which medium — and besides, lots of the people who’ve worked here for years still send emails and attachments, because it’s easier than figuring out the new system, even though they’ve supposedly been on the training course. (Of course, if you do have an intranet if you really want people to live there, you could ban email.)”
Email serves many functions: it’s a medium for one-to-one and one-to-many conversations (replacing the spoken word); it’s a way of communicating policy and procedures (replacing printed documents); it’s a way of sending files; it’s a way of communicating news; and so on. It does most of these inefficiently, resulting in information overload, redundancy and poor information governance. So what can we do about it?