April 4, 2016

Event report

What do you do to ensure the quality of documentation deliverables?

Holger Thater, Per Harbo Sørensen and Dorte Breitenstein Kristensen

At this tekom event, we focused on different feedback and reviewing methods and techniques that you can use to ensure and continuously increase the quality of your technical communication.

The event took place on Monday, 4 April, 2016 at 14.00 in Aarhus.

It was a joint event with the strategic partner Aarhus University.

See the full agende here: Link to agenda

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Welcome and News from tekom

Link to presentation

Per Harbo Sørensen informed about coming events and news from tekom Danmark and tekom Europe.

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Keynote: What does this thing do?

Link to presentation

Alice Jane Emanuel-Hart
Senior Technical Writer, SimCorp A/S

The focus of our profession is to answer this question as seamlessly and painlessly as possible. Easy, right? And yet, no. Does user assistance, technical design, and product usability require quality to succeed? How does the human brain react to errors and inconsistency in content?
Quality is a key part of the ingeniousness that makes rapid cognitive uptake possible. Quality is not an added something in technical communication. The fact is, that for improved cognitive uptake in user assistance, technical design, and product usability, quality is the core to being understood.
Take the simple idea of weighting and rating easily defined technical communication components. Use your results to create metrics, track progress over time, and develop concrete plans for improvement.
You can start to identify quality in everything you produce. You can make confident choices about the direction you want your technical communication to take.

Bio

Alice Jane Emanuel-Hart is a long-time technical communicator specialising in complex content. These days, Ms Hart writes, edits, illuminates, analyses, and organises for high-end technical users at SimCorp A/S. This makes Ms Hart split her time between Amsterdam and Copenhagen. She spends a lot of time riding a bicycle in the rain.


Alice Jane Emanuel-Hart

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Presentation 2:
Peer feedback for study purposes and professional purposes?

Link to presentation
Carmen Heine, Associate Professor, Aarhus University

Marian Flanagan, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University

Feedback and reviewing are quality assurance techniques crucial to professional practice. Best practice approaches for professionals and students in the text production professions about feedback practices are yet to be developed, tested and implemented into workflows and teaching. Moving beyond mere proof-reading, important issues of peer feedback include but are not limited to: content knowledge, linguistic knowledge, L1/L2 proficiency, knowledge about feedback types, revision types and implementation types, role definitions, relationships, authorship, ownership and responsibility and – most importantly – dialogue. We will present a student peer-feedback study from an undergraduate web-based communication and translation course at Aarhus University and discuss our findings in relation to professional work practices in technical communication.

Carmen HeineMarian Flanagan

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Presentation 3:

Technical communication in online communities - Users of technical products helping and advising each other on discussion boards

Link to presentation

Eveliina Salmela, ph.d. student, University of Vaasa

Today people seek more and more information and help from various online communities. From the technical communication’s point of view, discussion boards can help users to solve problems that user documentation can’t. Discussion boards can provide tailored information: solutions for particular needs and circumstances of the help-seeker. Technical communicators can also have roles as moderators or participants of discussion boards dealing with different kinds of technical products. Because of this role, it is important for technical communicators to understand the needs and expectations of help-seekers and the mechanisms that guide the conversation on discussion boards. (Steehouder 2002.)

I will present my study which deals with requesting and providing information related to heat pumps on online discussion boards. Heat pumps are complex technical products which many people with no technical expertise have in their homes and thus they may cause need for information or advice. In my presentation I will discuss my findings about how help-seekers request for help or information, what kind of reaction his/her request has on discussion board and how advice or information is constructed in the message threads.

Steehouder, M. (2002). Beyond Technical Communication. Users helping each other. Paper presented at the IPCC 2002. Reflections on communication, Boston.

Eveliina Salmela

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