DITA and IoT: A love affair…

Presentation Abstract

Users don’t read our documentation (paper, pdf, 400-page manuals, etc.) because it does not meet their needs. When something goes wrong, users search whatever information is available immediately, anywhere, in any format.

Can we help?

Providing the right content–Users seek external information exclusively when trying to solve a problem. DITA already provides a solution: the Troubleshooting topic (in various flavours).

Providing the right format–Because DITA topics are modular, they can be adapted to various delivery channels. For Troubleshooting, this means the same information can easily be delivered through Chatbots, Twitter, WebPage, Paper and on multiple devices: mobile phones, SmartGlasses, Augmented Reality, etc.

Maximising the benefits of a DITA implementation–Written once, the troubleshooting content can be re-used not only in a troubleshooting guide, a QuickStart Guide, a Web Page, but also in multiple IoT variations. Think of Twitter messages, Chatbot conversations or Augmented Reality sessions.

Providing Worldline payment terminals examples will demonstrate that a high level of re-use is feasible.

What can attendees expect to learn?

People attending the presentation will learn how to:

– focus on the users’ problem-solving needs
– handle the three types of troubleshooting topic
– view how the topic content fits in several IoT options (including Chatbots)
– considerably increase the re-use rate of their DITA content

Meet the Presenters

Niels Grundtvig Nielsen (Atos Expert, tekom.be Initiative Committee) started as a technical author by rewriting a word-processor manual to find out how to use the word-processor. “That’s what we meant to say!” said the developers who had produced the original.”That’s what we needed to know!” said the secretaries with a samizdat copy of the new manual on their desks. The drive – helping people find and understand the information they need – is still the same decades later: the options for delivering the information have multiplied, and intrigue him.


Trained in structured documentation at the American University of Paris, Marie-Louise pursued her professional career by combining her participation to professional conferences together with practicing technical communication, both as Sr technical writer in Continental Europe (EUROCONTROL, EU Commission, Vodafone Telematics, Deutsche Boerse, Roche Diagnostics, etc.), course developer at French universities (Université de Haute-Bretagne, Université Paris Denis Diderot, Université Catholique de l’Ouest) and workshop developer.

Her main professional interests are minimalism (and its application in DITA), usability, troubleshooting information and customer experience.

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