What is COMtecnica Conference

HOW CAN I MAKE MY INFORMATION MORE INTELLIGENT TODAY?
To answer this question, professionals in technical communication met last week on April 11-12 at the COMTecnica conference in Bologna, Italy. In two days, participants received insights on how to improve their content by gaining professional tips and networking with experts and like-minded people.
At the end, they were able to come closer to an answer: to make their information more intelligent, technical communicators should focus on implementing structured and dynamic content and consider more usability aspects.
For the third time in a row, COMTecnica was hosted by tekom Europe in cooperation with COM&TEC. The main topic of COMTecnica 2018 was intelligent information with the focus on smart processes for content delivery. The participants, mainly from Italy, were able to benefit from the great variety of international speakers and meeting new people as well as strengthening their community along the associations of tekom Europe and COM&TEC.

University patronage

Diving Into Intelligent Information: This Is What the Experts Recommended
Focusing on Smart Processes
Jang Graat, a known speaker at tcworld and tekom Europe conferences, started the conference with a presentation on extreme single-sourcing, or in other words: “writing once, publishing everywhere”. The concept of repurposing content was mentioned by different experts, for example by Robert Kratky in his presentation on Going Modular: Turning Legacy Docs Into User Story-Based Content. The audience listened with great interest to his tips on repurposing existing content into user story-based content.
Another important aspect of smart process is delivering dynamic content, so that users can access the specific information demanded in that moment. To deliver dynamic content, technical communicators should adapt metadata and taxonomies so they can integrate their CCMS in the most modern platforms, as presented by Davide Osta in his workshop.

Usability Remains the Core of TC
What do good technical contents have in common? They are understood well on the first reading. Tiziana Sicilia, the president of COM&TEC, and Nicola Mastidoro underscored in their introduction speech: “We can only know our content is good if we ask our readers”. Nicola Mastidoro asked readers how well they understood different documentation abstracts and applied a readability index. The result of the test showed that avoiding long words, reducing synonyms and spacing text with bullet points all increase readability.
A highlight for the participants was the workshop and presentation of internationally known speaker Leah Guren, who took the participants on a journey to the secrets of user compliance and good content for localization. One participant said: “I have already applied suggestions and best practices for localization; I appreciated a lot of stories and how to ‘sell’ the ideas to stakeholders.”

Chatbots: A Good Topic for Discussion
Special attention was paid to the topic of chatbots: The audience asked, for example, “Can a chatbot reuse the information I create? Do users really like chatbots?” Although chatbot conversations can be built up in a comprehensible way, as Priscill Orue and Tomasz Prus showed in their presentation, chatbots are still on the road to becoming more natural and intelligent.

Networking opportunities and the Italian context
Networking Opportunities and Italian Ambience The interactive session, workshops and coffee breaks were a great opportunity to network with old colleagues, meet fellow participants and speakers, or make new contacts.

Quotes to GO
“If the paragraph has to be reread than it is not readable enough.” – Nicola Mastidoro
“Teamwork across departments is important. Technical communicators should work with technical manufacturers as well.” – Tiziana Sicilia
“The chatbot is as intelligent as the knowledge source that it is connected to. The core of a chatbot is the decision tree that is capturing all possible situations.” – Fabrice Lecroix
“Keep it simple. Don’t worry about not being sophisticated enough.” – Leah Guren
“There are many factors that influence user compliance, such as age, culture and education. But nothing is changing user behavior more than technology!” – Leah Guren

The Program

REGISTRATION OPEN
REGISTRATION OPEN

08:30 - 09:15


WELCOME BY COM&TEC AND TEKOM EUROPE
WELCOME BY COM&TEC AND TEKOM EUROPE

09:15 - 09:25


READABILITY IN TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION: TOOLS AND ANALYSIS
READABILITY IN TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION: TOOLS AND ANALYSIS

09:25 - 10:00


EXTREME SINGLE-SOURCING: ADDING DATA QUERIES TO STRUCTURED CONTENT
EXTREME SINGLE-SOURCING: ADDING DATA QUERIES TO STRUCTURED CONTENT

10:00 - 10:35

True single sourcing implies there is only one location where content is edited – all other locations are referencing this unique item.
Nowadays, many companies are using a CCMS to implement this winning strategy. But we are not doing this with product data – yet. This presentation shows how data queries into a variety of databases can be added to structured content, allowing a simple refresh on publish to make the content show the latest updated data items. The method even allows refreshing the data items each time the HTML page is loaded.


COFFEE BREAK
COFFEE BREAK

10:35 - 11:00


CONVERSATIONAL DESIGN FOR CHATBOTS: THE EVOLUTION OF TECHNICAL COMMUNICATORS’ ROLES
CONVERSATIONAL DESIGN FOR CHATBOTS: THE EVOLUTION OF TECHNICAL COMMUNICATORS’ ROLES

11:00 - 11:35

In this presentation, we’ll explain that in the development of chatbots, technical communicators have evolved from writing documentation – sometimes seen as an observing role -, to being active participants.
The role of technical communicators in the development of conversational interfaces is an essential one: once dominated by GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces), software is moving on towards conversation-based applications.
Three AI-based technologies will have a significant impact in the upcoming years: cognitive automation, intelligent automation and computer vision. Intelligent automation (best understood as augmented intelligence) is one of the most popular implementations, because it works with natural language processing.
Based on intelligent automation, conversational interfaces (chatbots) are widespread due to their ability to interact with smart devices and systems using natural language. These interfaces are built into messaging bots — simple, text-based chatbot-like agents that allow users to access information, use services or be entertained across a wide variety of platforms.
Chatbots come naturally to current users, who were raised with communication devices. People expect to download an application, and begin working with it, within minutes. This is true for everyday tasks as well as in enterprises.


GOING MODULAR: TURNING LEGACY DOCS INTO USER STORY-BASED CONTENT
GOING MODULAR: TURNING LEGACY DOCS INTO USER STORY-BASED CONTENT

11:35 - 12:10

How to adapt the big guides of yesterday into modularized narratives that are easy to maintain, scale well, and still allow for a ‘guide-like’ experience when it is required?
This presentation will describe the work documentation writers at Red Hat are doing to solve this problem: re-purposing the existing body of documentation into modular units that can be combined into user-story-based content. The talk will also outline how to leverage the modular structure of content to present it to users in a dynamic manner — using a metadata-based, hierarchical navigation.


PRESENTATION BY ADOBE
PRESENTATION BY ADOBE

12:10 - 12:30


LUNCH
LUNCH

12:30 - 13:30


INTERACTIVE SESSION
INTERACTIVE SESSION

13:30 - 14:35


SECRETS OF USER COMPLIANCE LEAH GUREN
SECRETS OF USER COMPLIANCE LEAH GUREN

14:35 - 15:10

Professional TCs carefully analyze content and write the best possible information for their users.
But how do they know what level of user compliance is occurring (that is, are the users are actually following the instructions)? This session examines the factors that influence user compliance, including age, education, culture, and industry. It covers commonly-used techniques that do NOT work to improve user compliance, while recommending methods that may help.


SAFETY LIFE CYCLE: DEFINITION OF THE SAFETY LIFECYCLE PLAN FOR INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT SIL CERTIFICATION
SAFETY LIFE CYCLE: DEFINITION OF THE SAFETY LIFECYCLE PLAN FOR INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT SIL CERTIFICATION

15:10 - 15:45

Presentation in Italian: The compliance with the IEC 61508 should be obtained through a complex process of 16 phases called Safety Life-cycle.

Starting from the conceptual idea of the “safety function” up to the dismission of the “safety instrumented system” at the end of the lifetime, the safety life-cycle covers all aspects related to the management of the functional safety and meet all the requirements contained in 7 standards and that’s not too easy especially when trying to demonstrate the compliance of a system component prior to putting it in operation.

How to identify the requirements applicable to each device? Why do I need to plan the functional safety of the entire device lifetime? Is it related to a sort of after-sale guarantee? How can my device meet the requirements related to use or maintenance? How can I identify the safety function implemented by my component independently by the rest of the system? These and other questions related to safety life-cycle will be replied through practical examples based on HON previous experiences by highlighting limits and potential consequences on the SIL compliance evaluation.


COFFEE BREAK
COFFEE BREAK

15-45 : 16:10


YOU CREATE INDIVIDUAL SAFETY SIGNS! ARE THEY RELIABLY DETECTED?
YOU CREATE INDIVIDUAL SAFETY SIGNS! ARE THEY RELIABLY DETECTED?

16:10 - 16:45

ISO 7010 provides us with some safety signs. Depending on the application, however, these are often either too general, too specific or not available for the specific case.

In order to warn the user as precisely as possible, safety signs must be created on the basis of ISO 3864. ISO 9186 provides us with test methods for comprehensibility and visual quality to determine whether these safety signs are sufficiently accurately recognized. The lecture presents the standard-based creation process for safety signs and test methods in practice.

Outline:

– Illustrating the normative connections between standards for the creation of symbols for safety signs / symbols on devices / symbols in product documentation
– The development of a security sign (ISO 3864) in theory and using the example
– Testing the self-developed safety mark for comprehensibility and visual quality (ISO 9186)


OPEN DISCUSSION
OPEN DISCUSSION

16:45


NETWORKING EVENT
NETWORKING EVENT

20:00


REGISTRATION OPEN
REGISTRATION OPEN

08:30 - 9:00


GLOBAL AUDIT: MAKING YOUR CONTENT READY FOR LOCALIZATION
GLOBAL AUDIT: MAKING YOUR CONTENT READY FOR LOCALIZATION

09:00 - 10:30


COFFEE BREAK
COFFEE BREAK

10:30 - 10:45


HOW TO STRUCTURE THE INFORMATION MODEL TO DYNAMICALLY DELIVER VALUE-ADDED CONTENTS
HOW TO STRUCTURE THE INFORMATION MODEL TO DYNAMICALLY DELIVER VALUE-ADDED CONTENTS

10:45 - 12:15

Workshop in Italian: Come strutturare il modello di informazione su CCMS per pubblicare dinamicamente i contenuti

Nella prima parte del workshop presenterò un semplice modello di informazione (tipo di contenuti, granularità, metadati e tassonomie) che consenta al redattore tecnico di creare moduli facilmente richiamabili e riutilizzabili.

Nella seconda parte del workshop farò applicare ai partecipanti il modello di informazione a moduli strutturati di un testo tecnico campione, in modo che questi possano essere richiamati on demand dall’utente finale oppure visualizzati all’accadere di eventi come allarmi o scadenziario di manutenzione programmata.

Contenuti: Tratterò gli aspetti base dell’informazione strutturata e modulare nel contesto di intelligent information. La possibilità di pubblicare e trasferire all’utente finale le informazioni digitalizzate in modo automatizzato è una sfida che si può vincere solo con l’ausilio di un modello di informazione ben definito e strutturato. Attualmente, la maggior parte dei redattori con CCMS si focalizza sulla produzione efficiente di documenti tecnici come interi manuali d’uso e manutenzione. Ma se spostiamo l’attenzione alle richieste effettive degli utilizzatori, ciascuno di essi vorrebbe poter accedere tempo reale ad una piccola parte delle informazioni prodotte (e non di ricercare le informazioni su documenti voluminosi non facilmente reperibili).

Per raggiungere questo obiettivo, gli utilizzatori esperti di CCMS potranno utilizzare i concetti illustrati in questo workshop per definire per ridefinire il modello di informazione della propria documentazione, adattando granularità, metadati e tassonomie in modo da poter integrare il proprio CCMS con le più avanzate piattaforme di pubblicazione di pubblicazione dinamica dei contenuti in accordo con i requisiti di Industria 4.0.

In the first part of this workshop I’ll present a simple information model (information type, granularity, taxonomy and metadata) allowing the technical writer to build up information modules that can be dynamically recalled.

In the second part I’ll let the attendees apply these structures to some sample information modules in order to deliver them to the end user by query, or to display them by triggering of events such as alarms or scheduled maintenance.


LUNCH
LUNCH

12:15 - 13:15


FROM STATIC BOOKS TO DYNAMIC SEMANTIC PUBLISHING FOR YOUR DOCUMENTATION
FROM STATIC BOOKS TO DYNAMIC SEMANTIC PUBLISHING FOR YOUR DOCUMENTATION

13:15 - 13:45

Tool Presentation by Fluid Topics: Authoring solutions have greatly evolved over the last 10 years but publishing is still stuck in a “static, flat and fat” document generation model.

This presentation will explain how to switch from a PDF and print-oriented view to a new Web and user centric approach. By using Semantic Web technologies for content modeling and enrichment, advanced Web 2.0 interfaces and social oriented features, organizations can change the way users access, read and value their documentation.


IL MODELLO AMAZON ADATTATO ALLA COMUNICAZIONE TECNICA
IL MODELLO AMAZON ADATTATO ALLA COMUNICAZIONE TECNICA

13:45 - 14:15

Tool Presentation by SCHEMA: La digitalizzazione dei contenuti sta cambiando profondamente il panorama produttivo delle imprese. La conversione dei processi richiede nuove strategie per creare, gestire e distribuire le informazioni di prodotto.

Una piattaforma intelligente di distribuzione deve essere in grado di mettere le informazioni a disposizione di specifici gruppi di utenti. Non tutti gli utenti, infatti, richiedono di avere costantemente accesso ai contenuti online. Ogni utente, tuttavia, vuole accedere all’informazione che risolva il problema specifico del proprio prodotto, nel momento del bisogno, nella propria lingua e sul proprio dispositivo fisso o mobile. Il Content Delivery Server di SCHEMA soddisfa tutti i requisiti di distribuzione efficiente delle informazioni di prodotto.

Nella nostra presentazione apprenderete i concetti e le funzioni di base del Content Delivery Server, che integra il sistema di gestione modulare dei contenuti SCHEMA ST4 per permettere la pubblicazione dinamica dei contenuti nel contesti IoT e Industria 4.0.


COFFEE BREAK
COFFEE BREAK

14:15 - 14:30


TECHNICAL WRITING AND TRANSLATION: FROM SIMPLIFIED TECHNICAL ENGLISH TO OTHER FORMS OF CONTROLLED LANGUAGES
TECHNICAL WRITING AND TRANSLATION: FROM SIMPLIFIED TECHNICAL ENGLISH TO OTHER FORMS OF CONTROLLED LANGUAGES

14:30 - 16:00

Workshop in Italian: The purpose of this workshop is to introduce three Controlled Languages (ASD Simplified Technical English, ASD-STE100 (STE), Español Técnico Simplificado (ETS), Italiano Tecnico Semplificato (ITS®)), to explain their principles and commonalities, and to show how they interact between each other when applied in technical writing and technical translation.

Scopo di questo workshop è presentare tre Linguaggi Controllati (ASD Simplified Technical English, ASD-STE100 (STE), Español Técnico Simplificado (ETS), Italiano Tecnico Semplificato (ITS®)), spiegarne principi e affinità ed illustrarne il modo di interrelazione nell’ambito della comunicazione e traduzione tecnica.

L’ASD Simplified Technical English, ASD-STE100 (STE), è una specifica internazionale concepita per preparare documentazione tecnica attraverso l’uso di un linguaggio controllato e costituita da un insieme di Regole di Scrittura e da un Dizionario di vocaboli controllati. Il linguaggio STE è stato sviluppato dall’industria aeronautica all’inizio degli anni ottanta come guida AECMA Simplified English per aiutare i propri lettori della documentazione in lingua inglese a capire il testo, in particolare quando la lingua madre degli stessi lettori era diversa dall’inglese. Lo scopo del STE è quello di fornire ai redattori tecnici indicazioni su come scrivere testi tecnici in modo semplice, univoco e comprensibile in lettura.


ASD STANDARD, HYPERSTE SOFTWARE AND SCALABLE DICTIONARIES … THE MAGICAL TRIANGLE? YES, IF YOU CAN SET CORRECT EXPECTATIONS!
ASD STANDARD, HYPERSTE SOFTWARE AND SCALABLE DICTIONARIES … THE MAGICAL TRIANGLE? YES, IF YOU CAN SET CORRECT EXPECTATIONS!

16:00 - 16:45

In this presentation we will show that the availability of a standard, software and scalable dictionaries is not enough to warrant an efficient improvement of the quality of technical documentation.

Setting correct expectations inline with a well-established model about what is STE is crucial here, as well as having a – highly flexible – plan. We will then review a few concrete examples of ‘before’ and ‘after’ rewrite exercises from recent business cases. In the third part of the presentation/workshop we will have a demo of the most relevant functions of the HyperSTE software, including the use of scalable and modular dictionaries.


END OF EVENT
END OF EVENT

16:45


The program may be subject to small changes.
The presentations are in Italian and English.
Simultaneous translation service is available.