Improving structured content for authors

Bill Swallow / Content strategyLeave a Comment

compass and notebook

Structured content authoring tools behave differently than traditional tools like Microsoft Word, which causes difficulty or reluctance among authors to use them. Structured content imposes strict rules around content purpose (semantics) and placement. These tools diverge from the traditional WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) look and feel, which can be jarring for many authors. Fortunately, many structured authoring tools can be modified to feel less imposing.

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DITA to PowerPoint: Exploring the challenges

Simon Bate / White papersLeave a Comment

Lists in PowerPoint

PDF format at the end of this post.

We’ve worked on a few DITA-to-PowerPoint projects. In some cases, the project sounded like a natural fit. In other cases, the fit was less than compelling. Even in projects that seemed to have a natural fit, we encountered bumps in the road with the DITA content, the design of the slide masters, or both.

There are many good reasons to create a DITA-to-PowerPoint conversion. It’s an attractive idea to use the same material for slides and student materials (such as handouts). A DITA-to-PowerPoint conversion also allows you to create slides by reusing content from your existing topics. 

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DITA for small teams (podcast)

Gretyl Kinsey / Podcast, Podcast transcriptLeave a Comment

Scriptorium owl wearing headphones

In episode 93 of The Content Strategy Experts podcast, Gretyl Kinsey and Sarah O’Keefe talk about how to determine whether DITA XML is a good fit for smaller content requirements.

“Scalability or anticipated scale is actually a good reason to implement DITA for a small team.”

–Sarah O’Keefe

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Content operations (ContentOps)

Sarah O'Keefe / Content strategyLeave a Comment

materials for designing and planning for building a house

Content operations (or ContentOps) refers to the system your organization uses to develop, deploy, and deliver customer-facing information. Rahel Bailie refers to it as the way that your organization operationalizes your content strategy.

Over at easyDITA, there’s a more aspirational definition, which includes the purpose of good ContentOps:

Content Operations — ContentOps — is the infrastructure that maximizes your content creators’ efforts and guards against procedural errors by automating as much of the content development process as possible. 

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How to align your content strategy with your company’s needs (podcast)

Elizabeth Patterson / Podcast, Podcast transcriptLeave a Comment

Scriptorium owl wearing headphones

In episode 92 of The Content Strategy Experts podcast, Elizabeth Patterson and Alan Pringle share how you get started with a content strategy project and what you can do if you really don’t have a solid grasp on your needs.

“It’s about opening yourself up to getting feedback from someone who’s done this stuff before, and may come up with some solutions that you didn’t necessarily consider in your own thinking.”

–Alan Pringle

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Developing a strategy for learning content

Gretyl Kinsey / Content strategy, DITALeave a Comment

stack of textbooks

Learning content is any material used for educational purposes, including e-learning courses, training guides, instructor guides, instructional videos, and more. This might represent the bulk of the content you produce, or it might be just one part of your overall content set. Either way, it’s important to develop a plan for creating, updating, and delivering learning content as efficiently as possible. Here are some tips for addressing learning content as part of your content strategy.

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The content lifecycle: Archiving

Elizabeth Patterson / Content strategy1 Comment

filing system

You’ve started developing a content strategy and are getting a better grasp on the content lifecycle. But what do you do about older content? It’s not as relevant as your most recent content, but there are still times when it proves useful. Your archiving approach is an important part of your content strategy and is often overlooked. 

If you are moving from one content environment to another, you only want to convert what’s necessary. Archiving and organizing your content will help you decide what legacy content you want to convert. Here are some things to keep in mind when putting a plan in place for archiving content. 

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