The Breakdown: Yesterday, February 16, 2011, before the Intelligent Content Conference officially began, there was a day of Pre-Conference Workshops. Here’s a summary of what I heard.
Ann Rockley, Intelligent Content Eye-Opener: Content Strategy
In the first workshop, organizer and conference founder Ann Rockley answered the question “What is Intelligent Content?” In brief, it is content that is:
- Structurally Rich
- Semantically Categorized
- Easily Discoverable
- Efficiently Reusable
- Dynamically Reconfigurable
Now, for anyone who still thinks this is a conference that’s just about the technical side of content, I would like to point out that the subtitle of this opening workshop was “Content Strategy.” And indeed the rest of the talk was about exactly the kind of practices we content strategists often do – gathering business requirements, auditing and analyzing content, defining the structure of content, identifying a reuse strategy, and creating a taxonomy.
I’m excited about potential crossover between the “technical communications” community and the “content strategy” community. There’s a lot that both can learn from each other.
Joe Gollner, Implementing Intelligent Content Solutions
Next up, co-organizer Joe Gollner provided his take on how to make these strategies into realities. In this talk he got down to brass tacks a bit more, but framed the discussion in language and concepts that would be accessible to business owners, as well as content professionals and technologists. He talked about balancing business considerations, opening communication channels, assembling the implementation team, managing risks, addressing legacy content, processes and controls, and battling entropy and “barnaclization” (which is a great way of describing scope creep).
Gollner described “Intelligent Content” as requiring a balance between knowledge, technology and business. I have long held the same belief (if by “knowledge” you mean messaging, communication, or editorial goals). But, based on my many years working in the User Experience group at Razorfish, I would also include user needs in that mix.
Gollner had several practical suggestions on how to get to implementation, several of which are described in this post he wrote last year called Seven Steps to Intelligent Content. The rest of his tips would be hard for me to cover without just recreating his entire deck here, so let’s hope he posts it online at some point.
David Clemons, Please, Turn Your Mobile Device On!
In the afternoon there were three very interesting sounding workshops taking place at once: one on developing a corporate social strategy, one on developing a mobile workforce, and one on the ROI of DITA.
I decided to go to the mobile workshop led by David Clemons. If you followed the #icc11 Twitter stream during this part of the day, it might have seemed like the social workshop was the only one going on (but, then, it makes sense that the social-oriented people would tweet a lot, right?). Trust me, though, there was a lot going on in the mobile workshop as well.
Clemons discussed the need to publish content to a wide variety of mobile platforms, and some of the considerations for doing so. Then he demonstrated one of the tools offered by his company, Push Mobile Media. It’s a tool called LearnCast which allows people to create and publish cross-platform mobile courseware pretty easily. We got into small groups and each group created mobile courseware and then tested it out on our various mobile devices. It was great, after a day of listening, to do some hands-on work with content.
The pre-conference workshops were a great intro for the conference. See also: