At the end of the Intelligent Content Conference, in a discussion led by conference organizers, Ann Rockley, Joe Gollner, and Scott Abel, people shared insights and questions about where this discipline will be going next and what they’d like to see discussed at the conference in the future. Hopefully some of these topics will surface in future presentations.
Right after the conference, I wrote a post about some of the content trends that had been most discussed: single-source publishing, content on mobile devices, enhanced publishing, user-aware and location-aware context, and end-to-end content strategy. But some attendees were left wondering how to evaluate when a solution would be appropriate for their clients or projects. So we’d like to see more discussion of techniques for doing upfront analysis (including ROI measurement tools) and more case studies (including metrics for measuring effectiveness).
Alignment of Inputs and Outputs
While tech writers tend to focus on the creation of content, many of the current content strategies (social integration, mobile delivery, semantic relationships) are dependent on the way the content is distributed. While DITA is a standard used to help author structured content, there are other structures that are designed to help content flow smoothly into other platforms and play nicely with other technologies. This is a specific aspect of end-to-end content strategy that not enough people are talking about yet – how do we get the input formats to align with the output formats to support the content through its entire lifecycle.
Just as we’re not going to get very far by overemphasizing one stage of the lifecycle over others, we’re going to be in a much better position to do all the things we want to do with our content if we can map these tools, technologies, and standards together in a meaningful approach with smooth transitions from one stage to the next.
Marriage of disciplines
This is something I had been talking about since the beginning of the conference, and it was the subject of my post at the end of day 1 (“An Appeal for Content Agnosticism”). Too many disciplines are having similar conversations in isolation. People practicing technical communication, web content strategy, instructional design, marketing, user experience, content analytics, social media strategy, search strategy, etc. have a lot to learn from each other. Conferences like this – and other content-focused conferences coming up this year – should help create the bridges that are needed.
So, once again, I suggest that everyone attend a conference or a meetup that’s slightly adjacent to your comfort zone. When ideas start flowing and breaking down the silos, who knows what exciting things might happen. What sort of developments would you like to see in the content disciplines?
- Intelligent Content Conference: Workshops
- ICC Day 1: An Appeal for Content Agnosticism
- ICC Day 2: What We Heard