This is a young conference (this is the 2nd year) that is focused entirely on the documentation of software. As such, the talks were fairly focused and largely applicable to many of my primary documentation and online help development tasks. Several of the major software companies were represented, including Google, Mozilla, and Yahoo, and many young innovative companies and contractors gave the most relevant talks.
Some talks centered around Application Programming Interface (API) authoring, which is not part of my core skillset.
Interestingly, several talks were given by software coders/programmers who advocated having the docs written by the coders by exporting fields in their code or read-me file. This applied mainly to API authoring where the audience is fellow coders.
One of the interesting suggestions that I’d like to explore is creating documentation as ePub files. I think especially an advanced iBook (where you can embed videos, etc.) might be powerful for users. It can combine documentation with informal learning strategies and be viewable on multiple devices.
Write the Docs is a two-day conference focused on documentation systems, tech writing theory, and information delivery.
Writing and maintaining documentation involves the talents of a multidisciplinary community of technical writers, designers, typesetters, developers, support teams, marketers, and many others.
This conference creates a time and a place for this community of documentarians to share information, discuss ideas, and work together to improve the art and science of documentation.
We invite all those who write the docs to spread the word:
Docs or it didn't happen!
Main website: http://conf.writethedocs.org/na/2014/index.html
List of presentations and speakers: http://docs.writethedocs.org/2014/na/talks/
Videos of presentations: http://videos.writethedocs.org/category/2/na-2014
Some of my favorite talks were:
Christina Elmore - Death by Documentation
The urge to document is at the root of many bad presentation habits.
Despite a renaissance in the art of presentation - think TED Talks, Nancy Duarte, Prezi, and Ignite – we still experience more bad presentations than any lifetime deserves. Even with compelling content and conquered nerves, a presenter’s visual materials can totally tank a talk. And documentation is often to blame.
The real culprit is a conflation of documentation and presentation. Many slide collections end up being an awkward mash-up of the two, and documents suffer when we force them into the mental model of a presentation. (NASA and the military offer striking examples of these failures.) Why have the differences between documentation and presentation been lost? How can we make better sense of these two forms to create more engaging presentations and better documents?
What I liked About It
I learned much about presenting here. I don’t know why I didn’t put it together before. So this was more of personal awakening where I could see the opportunities I missed during my presentation, and many ways to improve for my next.