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September 19, 2017

NORDIC TechKomm 2017 in Copenhagen:

From Structured Content Authoring to Metadata and Chatbots

Kiriaki Kampouridou

For the second time in a row, NORDIC TechKomm 2017 took place in Copenhagen in association with tekom Europe and the Finnish Technical Communications Society STVY. International TC experts gave current insights into the world of User Experience to an audience from over ten countries on September 12-13.

The conference program covered a wide range of aspects in the field of User Experience. In presentations as well as in various workshops, the participants got the opportunity to dive into topics such as dynamic delivery, metadata, and structured content authoring or chatbots.

Expert Presentations and a Lot of Interactive Experience

The first conference day started with two presentations on migration projects of Finnish companies: Hanna Heinonen spoke about the development project of the Finnish company Kone that replaced SGML-based authoring with XML. Katy Greatrex presented the example of the company Vaisala, which had moved from creating traditional, linear documentation towards creating topic-based documentation in DITA XML in order to optimize publishing to various print and online help media.

The importance of metadata for the creation of intelligent content was demonstrated in the presentation by Ulrike Parson who, in this context, explained the principles of the newly developed tekom standard "iiRDS".  
The metadata issue also plays a central role with respect to the chatbots: Chatbots know nothing – and the right powerfood for chatbots would be modular well-structured content with rich metadata, as Steffen Frederiksen described in his session "Feeding the Chatbot".

And what are some of the factors that have an impact on the preparation and delivery of content to support an offline mobile app strategy? Joe Girling gave an interesting overview of the different solutions in his talk "Accessing Content Wherever You Go – From Knowledge Base to Mobile App".

Interactive Sessions

Participants also gained the opportunity to exchange ideas, personal experiences, and their point of view during the interactive sessions. Divided into small groups, they discussed topics such as "Future requirements for technical writers", "UX", and "Mobile Documentation".  

They showed a lot of interest and were very engaged in exchanging their own ideas during the interactive sessions and workshops. At the end of the conference day, the participants presented their results from the interactive sessions.

Workshops on the Second Day: From Structured Content to Molecular Information

The second day offered a variety of workshops where the participants learned more about the various aspects of UX, such as how to approach the inclusive content design, how to improve your documentation skills, or working with the OpenAPI specification and how to use it for documentation, including publication.

Other workshops covered topics such as the concept of molecular information: In this workshop, moderated by Ray Gallon, the participants put themselves in the position of people who need to use volatile molecular information, so that, as information producers, they could better understand how to meet users' needs.
Finally, the role of an intense "team play" by all departments of the organization to achieve an improved UX took center stage at the workshop delivered by Christian Dethlefsen.

Many Networking Opportunities

The coffee breaks and the networking dinner also offered a good way to exchange and network with speakers, sponsors and peers. This created a relaxed and communicative environment and a positive atmosphere.
For us, it was a great opportunity to meet the tech comm community in Denmark, as well as to meet our Finnish Partner STVY and to see how the conference has attracted even more people this year.