Conference Room Prototyping: A user-centered approach to choosing a CCMS

Organizations put a lot of effort into the selection of DITA tools. However, they tend to focus on the feature list and technical specifications, rather than the key team processes and functions that the tool should support. The reason is that gathering requirements and evaluating systems is hard. It is much easier to compare a list of check boxes than to really understand what you need from a product and how the product meets those needs. Experience shows that the key to better tool selection is prototyping. In Mekon’s work with medical device and semiconductor manufacturers, software houses and professional publishers, we have found that it is best to involve authors and other stakeholders from the very beginning, working towards hands-on evaluations of the tools under consideration. Modelling real-life use enables stakeholders to make an informed choice, while learning more about what authoring in DITA is really like, day-to-day. It also serves as a catalyst for the managed process of change that needs to accompany any CCMS implementation. In this presentation, Rachel Johnston will share best practices, tips, and lessons learned from many prototyping projects, so that you can adapt the process to suit your organization’s individual requirements.

What can attendees expect to learn?
Participants will learn:

  • How prototyping reduces project risk
  • Why user experience is important in selecting DITA tools, and the various tradeoffs that you may need to negotiate
  • What metrics can be used to evaluate the tools and how the data may surprise you

Meet the Presenter

Rachel Johnston is a consultant and DITA trainer for Mekon, helping businesses to negotiate the changing landscape of information development and modernise their content while keeping their sanity.

As a former technical writer with over ten years’ experience she’s still close to the profession and understands the challenges facing documentation teams. She regularly works with authors on the ground to understand the change management, workflow and training needs involved in the move to structured authoring.


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