tech comm – elearning – information experience

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soap! conference Krakow round-up

Chalk board at soap! conferencesoap! is a technical communication conference for all stakeholders in this industry. The audience was a mix of writers, editors, UX, engineers, product managers, and translators. I met lovely people from start-ups and multi-nationals from all over Central and Eastern Europe. has a great write-up of the conference on their blog. It’s in Polish, but Google Translate does a pretty good job. The conference sessions were all in English over a two-day period, with the exception of one workshop run in Polish on the first evening.

This post hooks you up with some of the presentations from day 2. My previous post gives you a taste of day 1.

Rahel Bailie of Intentional Design presented the keynote, Do You Trust Me Now? Creating technical content in the age of social media. New vocab and things to think about: edutainment = elearning with entertainment elements; ephemeral content for business use; and putting the customer at the centre of omnichannel experiences.

The day then split into two tracks. I followed Ray Gallon, who talked about using content and tech comm to build a better end-to-end customer experience. He mentioned Tin Can API as an interesting “lightweight SCORM” development. If elearning is your thing, it’s worth checking out.

Noz Urbina‘s Messages for your manager about content covered a lot more than the title suggests. On one level, it was about the language you use when pursuing content strategy within your organisation’s overall business strategy. Somehow within 35 minutes, Noz also layered in a tour of modern content architecture, examples of metadata in action, and an inspiring pep-talk for tech comm professionals.

Agnieszka Tkaczyk told her team’s story about getting started with infographics at IBM and the lessons learned along the way. Two 3’s to remember: infographics work well as stories with an introduction, a middle, and an end; and they usually include three components – a data visualisation (e.g. chart), an image, and text. In tech comm, they may not substitute detailed instructions, but they help draw the user in. However, enterprise audiences beware – they can be perceived as not “serious” enough!

soap conference soap

soapy giveaways

This was only the second year of soap! and it has doubled in size and duration. At under GBP 100 it is great value-for-money.

More importantly, soap! is an enthusiastic, optimistic, and very friendly meeting of tech comm minds. Big thanks to the soap! team for all the hard work and fun.


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sponge, bubbles, soap and a dog

So glad I made it

I nearly didn’t land in Krakow at all. The pilot made one missed approach.

“We get three attempts, then we have to land somewhere else” explained the senior cabin crew member to his junior counterpart.

At the second attempt, we made it. And I’m on my way to soap! conference, hosted at hub:raum, an innovation hub for Central and Eastern European startups. It’s light, bright, buzzing and there’s a cute dog too.

This is soap!’s second year. @RayGallon does a nice tweet, which sums up why I want to be here.

The cute dog is a bonus.

Takeaways so far

Kasia Mrowca and Sabina Misiarz-Filipek talk about feature development and elearning respectively – their lessons apply equally to any aspect of tech comm:

“Easy to add features, hard to make the app simple” – Kasia Mrowca on feature gluttony

“The client knows what they want it to look like, but not the goal that it is trying to achieve” – Sabina Misiarz-Filipek on elearning

I really liked Kevin Duncan’s talk which pulled in highlights from The Diagrams Book. 50 ways to solve any problem visually. My kind of communication.

And Rajeev Kumar Tiwari and Rajesh Khurana, conferenced in from India – two tech writers utterly committed to UX. Impressive.

Day 2

The last day opens with Rahel Bailie, then splits into two tracks: sponge and bubbles. Sponge includes Noz Urbina on Messages for your manager about content, and bubbles has Ray Gallon on a Your most important business asset, build better end-to-end customer experience. And lots more. Looking forward to it, and to seeing the cute dog again.