I had the real honour this morning to give the keynote presentation at the Content Management Strategies/DITA North America conference in La Jolla, California this morning. Titled “The Rainmaker, The Cloud and The Downspout” I talked about DITA metrics, what I have found in my survey of who and where DITA is being used, and how technical writers need to engage with their audience in order to stay relevant to their users.
Here is the original Prezi version of the presentation, and here is the same in PDF format.
Apparently there was an audience of just over 300 people in attendance, and despite some initial jitters, I think things went well. What I found interesting afterwards was the fact that different parts of the presentation resonated with different people, so everyone has a different perspective to contribute. The DITA metrics portion was of real interest to those people who are either looking to start doing this themselves, and I had some good questions afterwards asking me how I might approach tackling metrics gathering from other angles (including at least one scenario that I had never run across before, and one which I am thinking about blogging about at a later date). Many people were interested in the distribution of firms using DITA, and there is considerable interest for more knowledge in this area, with people wanting to know such things as how pervasively DITA is within the organizations listed, what are the types of software tools these firms are using, and even how the number of DITA implementations I have found compares to the total number of technical documentation that is being created using other tools and methods. There were several people who were telling me about their own experiences in trying to reach out and better connect with their audience, including at least one other case where a firm is finding that their customers are finding and posting solutions in online forums and on YouTube for issues they are finding with their product. The feedback is great and clearly there is considerable interest in these area, which I hope (time and resources allowing) I will be able to tackle in the future.
It is the end of the day and I have gone to many interesting sessions today, and I hope to provide some summaries of some of the things that were said in upcoming posts.