Dr Hans van der Meij: Designing Procedures That Work

People often experience difficulties when trying to accomplish a procedural task such as formatting a text, assembling a cupboard, or preparing a dish called Kong Bao Chicken. Part of their problem stems from lack of high quality instructions. In this talk I will advance a set of guidelines for the design of instructions that assist users in achieving their goals. My dual aim is to offer theory-based or empirically-tested guidelines (akin to Fleming & Levie’s “Instructional message design”), and to advance these guidelines in a manner that takes the reader no more than one or two minutes to digest these (akin to Parker’s “One minute designer”). In my talk I will present a subset of the guidelines whose usage I will illustrate across tasks and media such as paper, online help and video.


Hans van der Meij is a senior researcher and lecturer in instructional technology at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. His research interests are questioning, technical documentation (e.g., instructional design, minimalism, self-study materials, video), and the functional integration of ICT in education. He received awards from the American Society for Technical Communication (STC) and from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE ) for papers on technical documentation. The two most recent ones involve his research on instructional video. In addition, he was awarded a ‘landmark paper’ award by IEEE for a publication on minimalism (with John Carroll).


Mikko Villi: Käyttäjät Sosialisessa Mediassa: Tietoa sosiaaliseen mediaan tuottavat ja tietoa siellä jakavat käyttäjät ja käyttäjäyhteisöt

Esityksessäni viittaan termillä ”käyttäjä” sosiaalisessa mediassa ja muualla verkossa enemmän tai vähemmän aktiivisesti toimiviin ihmisiin. Sosiaaliseen mediaan nivoutuva osallistuvan kulttuurin käsite sisältää ajatuksen tuotannon ja kulutuksen rajojen liudentumisesta. Sosiaalisessa mediassa käyttäjät voivat osallistua sisältöjen tuotantoon ja kiertokulkuun omimalla ja kierrättämällä sisältöjä tai luomalla omia sisältöjään. Tästä toiminnasta he harvemmin saavat rahallista korvausta. Pikemminkin käyttäjät ansaitsevat toimillaan muiden ihailua, arvostusta ja huomiota. Esityksessäni tarkastelen erilaisia osallistumisen muotoja verkkoympäristössä sekä käyttäjien rooleja kuluttajina, tuotteina, tuottajina sekä jakelijoina. Olennaista on, että sosiaalisessa mediassa käyttäjien toiminta ja vuorovaikutus on yhteisöllistä.


Dosentti, TaT, VTM Mikko Villi on Helsingin yliopiston viestinnän oppiaineen yliopistonlehtori ja Viestinnän tutkimuskeskus CRC:n tutkimusjohtaja. Hän on työskennellyt tutkijana Aalto-yliopiston kauppakorkeakoulussa, Taideteollisessa korkeakoulussa, Tampereen yliopistossa sekä Tokion yliopistossa. Hänen tutkimuksensa kohdistuu mediajohtamiseen, journalismiin, sosiaaliseen mediaan ja visuaaliseen mobiiliviestintään.


Marie-Louise Flacke: Authoring for dynamic information management: think minimalism!


Authoring for dynamic information management: think minimalism!

Too often, documentation means producing word and pdf user guides.
Pressing the « Export to pdf » button is not exactly providing dynamic info management, since :« PDFs are sometimes too big to load on a mobile device, require a lot of scrolling, and can be difficult to read on smaller screens. »

Developing content for the 21st Century means developing information for Mobile, Agile, Augmented Reality, Continuous deployment, Internet of Things (IoT), Twitter, etc.
 Since “Smart Products need smart content”, we should consider adopting the 4 “Minimalism” principles to provide useful, usable content to be shared and delivered in any format.

  • Write Task-oriented
  • Put the user in their environment
  • Help the user troubleshoot his tasks
  • Increase findability

This presentation will demonstrate how the 4 minimalism-principles help technical communicators provide content that fits into each device and each format while delivering the « minimal viable content » to end-users.

Adding dynamics in our information management is vital since users turn to Twitter and to forums…and neglect the well-crafted (paper) user’s manual. Time for us to reconsider our documentation processes.


No, minimalism has nothing to do with cutting words, nor with re-inventing grammar to shorten sentences. Minimalism means you provide useful and usable (minimalist) content. Tailored to fit the

user’s needs, the Minimalist approach to instructional design is the perfect step for ensuring a dynamic information management.

One-day workshop « Minimalism for authoring »

During this session you’ll learn how to put the user’s needs and objectives in the forefront of your documentation process and make sure you provide your users with only the information they need, and only this (« the minimal viable amount of information »).Discussions will be based on the four basic principles of minimalism:

  • Select an action oriented approach (Skip useless information)
  • Anchor the tool in the task domain (Consider the user’s working environment)
  • Support Error Recognition and Recovery (Think troubleshooting)
  • Support reading to do, study and locate (Focus on findability)

Together with real-life examples, participants will analyse BEFORE/AFTER solutions and get ready for a successful move to genuine minimalist documentation. If you are considering migrating your documentation to DITA or getting ready for dynamic delivery, minimalism is a must to ensure you don’t put your migration at stake.

Bring your own content

If you are upgrading your documentation to guarantee it will be read and used by end-users, bring some of your own examples. Within the group, we’ll examine the elements to be improved.

About Minimalism

Minimalism is an action- and task-oriented approach to instruction and documentation that emphasizes the importance of realistic activities and experiences for effective learning and information seeking. Since 1990, when the approach was defined in John Carroll’s The Nurnberg Funnel, much work has been done to apply, refine, and broaden the minimalist approach to technical communication.


Marie-Louise Flacke's professional skills and interests range from DITA authoring to bid writing, readability indices and eye-tracking. She also provides technical writing courses at various French Universities, focusing on minimalism and usability testing.

Advocating user-friendly documentation, she designed the first technical writing e-learning program in French. Additionaly, she has been involved in upgrading and downsizing the documentation supporting Air Traffic Controllers management systems. More recently, she designed end-user documentation for the Brussels-based European Council, and later provided BaFin-compliant documentation to the Deutsche Boerse.

Recently, she presented:

  • "Designing user-friendly, usable healthcare documentation: switch to minimalism!" at the Scientific Conference on Strategic Development And Performance in Healthcare Institutions, National Guard Health Affairs, in Rhiyad, Saudi Arabia
  • "Minimalist authoring... who cares?" at the Information Energy Conference in Utrecht, Netherlands
  • "Mehr Effizienz für Ihre Doku - (Minimalismus? ... ohne mich!)" at tecom Schweiz conference, Olten, Switzerland


Ray Gallon: The User at the Centre of Technological Confusion

There’s a lot of talk today about three important technologies:

  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Assisted (or Augmented) Reality (AR)
  • Human Bionics

What happens when these technologies start to interact (and they will)?

These technologies are not just tools, they are what Thomas Kuhn called “paradigm shifts” in technology; they are environments in which work and play get done, and in some cases, life support systems.

What happens when these technologies start interacting?


  • Heart pacemaker connected via internet to the hospital.
  • Contact lenses that include not only vision correction, but screens showing our calendars, or other applications in virtual 3D space, so we can directly manipulate data with our hands.
  • AR remote controls allow you to perform direct manipulation (via  robots) of mechanical parts or medical procedures, wherever you may be, and wherever the objects you need to manipulate may be.

How will we deliver information to users about technologies, when the technologies themselves become the information delivery method? How will we provide appropriate, valid, relevant information in a constantly changing and evolving situation?

In a world where context is everything, the challenges for information delivery explode. In this presentation, I don’t pretend to have the answers to questions that are certainly going to be with us over the next few years. I do present some of the questions we need to ask, and propose some ways to start looking at, and dealing with, the complexity implied in them.


Ray Gallon is cofounder and researcher, with Dr. Neus Lorenzo, of The Transformation Society, and owner of Culturecom, a consultancy specialized in business process improvement through communication. He is a frequent speaker on communications topics throughout the world, and Transformation Society webinars and guest blogs are featured in Adobe’s thought leader series.

Ray is a member of the international board of directors of the Society for Technical Communication (STC), and former president of STC France. He is a member of the new OASIS Foundation technical committee developing standards and best practices for Augmented Reality in Information Products (ARIP).

Ray has over 20 years experience in the technical content industries, and is a former awardwinning radio journalist and manager. Ray has taught in university and professional settings in five countries on three continents. He shares his life between Barcelona, Spain, and the Languedoc region of France, and works everywhere.


Iida Hänninen, Anu Lampinen, Kaisa Saano, Sampo Savolainen: Teknisen viestinnän tutkimuskimara (salama-alustus)

Tampereen yliopiston teknisen viestinnän tutkielmaseminaarin opiskelijat esittävät alustavia suunnitelmia tutkielmansa aiheesta.


We are students of the Technical Communications Program, and we are taking part in the technical communications thesis seminar held at the university of Tampere this year. We all have some working experience from various ends of the field, and we will graduate within the next three years. As our studies in technical communication have progressed, we have become increasingly interested in usability and better user experiences, in software as well as hardware.

Iida Hämäläinen is a translation major, who wants to write and design text. After her traineeship in heavy industry documentation, Iida is also interested in work safety and accessibility. Her pro gradu thesis will focus on usable medical writing.

Anu Lampinen is an inhouse translator majoring in Philology. She interned in information architecture and web communications, and is interested in user experience and the psychology of usability.

Kaisa Saano is working as an intern in a documentation project for software products in the field of information and communications industry. Kaisa is interested in accessible UX design, usability in documentation, and efficient internal communication in the workplace.

Sampo Savolainen is an English Translation major interested in the intersection of information design and user experience. After working as a research assistant at the University of Tampere Game Research Lab, he decided to embark on a thesis quest of finding out if tutorials in digital games actually need to be awful or whether they could contribute meaningfully to the playing experience instead.


Laura Katajisto: Sisällön haku responsiivisille verkkosivuille metadatan avulla

Miten toimittaa sisältöä tehokkaasti responsiivisille verkkosivuille, kun resurssit ovat rajalliset ja verkkosivujen määrä suuri? Avuksi tulee metadata. Miten sitten hallita metadataa? Tämä esitys esittelee, miten Nokia/Microsoft Mobile käyttää DITA-speksin erikoisempiin keksintöihin kuuluvia subject scheme -tiedostoja metadatan hallintaan ja kuinka niiden avulla jaellaan dynaamisesti sisältöä kuluttajille.


Laura Katajisto is a Solution Manager at Microsoft Mobile, formerly of Nokia. She has been working in technical communication since 2002. Laura started in localization, continued as a technical writer, and moved on to become an information designer before switching to development roles. During the past four years Laura has been the project manager / system analyst of the "next generation" content management, localization, and distribution system used for producing support content for phones and their accessories first at Nokia and then at Microsoft. An experienced speaker in international conferences, Laura holds and has held multiple roles in the Finnish Technical Communication Society, and dreams of some day writing her PhD about DITA in DITA.


Jan Krebber: “Lean – agile – minimum viable product. - Workshop

These are the current hypes which appear not only at the startup scene. However, all of these hypes usually focus on the technical part of a product. But this is just a part of the success story.

People buying products do not care how much time it took to implement it; they evaluate how well it is working against the costs and their needs. However, in reality development teams have little to no expertise to design for an improved user experience (consisting of so much more than just some nice graphics or pleasing haptics).

This workshop will give an introduction how to enable these development teams to apply at least fundamental UX techniques and how to increase the “bang for the buck”. This is especially important for startups but also holds for existing products and services which are continuously developed further.

The methods:

  • Are easy to learn and to apply – basically when people left the seminar they should be able to utilize the methods introduced
  • Fit perfectly into development cycles like sprints
  • Help prioritizing work

One of the core techniques to improve the design for user experience is to observe people using a product or prototype.

However, many ways have been proven not to work in common industrial environments. Large studies at the end of a product development phase are unlikely to result in any changes except fixing typos. This is again due to the nature of development: there will be already a wellstocked backlog of bugs and UX flaws to be fixed. No matter how bad their effect is, they will be put to the end of that list and the changes are unlikely to make it for the release. The other problem is the sheer amount of usability flaws found during large tests which prevents people to even look at the reports.

The solution is to test continuously with few people and maybe even subcontract the service to a specialist. If done right from the start, (e.g. competitor analysis, paper prototypes) these studies will help to understand the priority of features and they will simplify the product remarkably for the people who are going to use them and for the people who are going to implement them.

The talk will list several (competing) resources and services and demonstrate the techniques with a reallife example.


Jan is a UX evangelist, trainer, startup mentor, author, and service designer by heart. Working with teams from Nokia and Microsoft he earned his spores traveling the world to introduce phone operating systems to developers and UX professionals. He loves handson approaches, and if you should take one thing out of his talks it is: “Test early, test often, fail fast, fail cheap”.


Sauli Laitinen: MS Wordista rakenteiseen ja uudelleenkäytettävään asiakasdokumentaatioon - Kokemuksia uuden dokumentointiympäristön valinnasta, asentamisesta sekä käyttöön valmistautumisesta

Yli tuhannen ohjeen ylläpito, olemassa olevan sisällön tehokas uudelleenkäyttö ja käännöskulujen kurissa pitäminen ovat keskeisiä haasteita Vaisalan asiakasdokumentaatiotyössä. Tässä esityksessä kerron kuinka perustelimme näillä asioilla dokumentaatioympäristön päivityksen, valitsimme järjestelmän yli kymmenen kandidaatin joukosta ja organisoiduimme asennus sekä konfiguroitintyöhön. Lisäksi esittelen lyhyesti mitä muita valmisteluja olemme tehneet ja tekemässä valmistautuessamme muutokseen.


Työskentelen Vaisalan User Experience -ryhmässä Design Managerina. Ryhmämme on vastuussa Vaisalan asiakasdokumentaatiosta, käyttöliittymäsuunnittelusta ja teollisesta muotoilusta. Pyrimme työssämme yhdistämään kaikki edustamamme osaamiset luovalla tavalla. Tavoitteenamme on näin varmistaa Vaisalan tuotteiden tehokkuus, tarkoituksenmukaisuus ja käytön miellyttävyys. Koulutukseltani olen psykologian maisteri. Ihmisnäkökulman edustaminen ja loppukäyttäjien osallistaminen tuotekehitykseen alkaen varhaisesta konseptoinnista päättyen tuotteen markkinoilla oloon ovat minulle tärkeitä asioita.


Matti Lintunen - Lightning talk 

Content pending

Koen Lourdon - SDL Content&Analytics: Create brand advocates by delivering quality product content and personalized user assistance 

Many organizations spend a lot of time and money in engaging and convincing people to buy their products. But once achieved, how do you continue that engagement past the point of sale? While great marketing content may start the engagement, it’s not enough to sustain your customers throughout all of the critical touch points they have with your company.

Happy, satisfied customers are repeat buyers and brand advocates. The key to converting an engaged first-time buyer into a loyal customer, willing to endorse your product, is quality content that supports them throughout the entire customer journey.

Lightning talk on Tuesday: Using a ‘Structured Wiki’ for review and collaboration.

The steep learning curve for creating content in XML often prohibits the expansion of structured content beyond Technical documentation teams. Commenting and collaboration in a ‘Structured’ Wiki reinvents how content is reviewed and edited collaboratively. An editing and commenting framework allows content authors to collaborate directly with SMEs in one controlled environment and eliminates archaic review processes, such as PDF mark-up.


Koen Lourdon is a solution consultant and project manager at SDL and has been involved in various content management projects at medium and large businesses in Europe since 2000. In his role, he assists documentation teams to modernize their documentation and the associated processes to enable them to deliver documentation that is customizable, personalized and easily made available in various formats and media.

Koen has a background and degrees in marketing and in IT and vast experience in implementing component content management systems, project management, change management and guiding organizations through the paradigm shift from monolithic documents to XML / component-based documentation solutions.

Jonatan Lundin: one dynamic web knowledge base

Technical communicators know that end users want easy access to technical documentation on mobile devices. However, the information design of traditional book oriented manuals and traditional publishing formats does not satisfy the demands of the searching user. Companies have invested a lot in their existing book-oriented technical documentation and want to re-use it when going on-line. Starting from scratch to optimize content for the web, to allow end users find answers more easily than in traditional book manuals, is very often not an option. Streamlined technical documentation organizations have no possibility to extensively re-write or re-structure existing content to optimize it for mobile web devices. Companies want to have access to tools that allow them to, with a limited additional effort, make existing technical documentation a lot more user friendly on the web, yet without being forced to change anything in regards to the existing PDF-publishing process.

How is this achieved? This presentation shows, both in theory and live demos, how taxonomies are used to classify content in several book manuals. Using Excosoft Finder, the entire set of book-oriented technical documentation is deployed to an off-line or on-line single responsive web knowledge base. An Excosoft Finder web knowledge allows users to view answers (topics) as a panel stream, just like in most social media platforms today. Furthermore, users find answers through faceted navigation, faceted search and/or bottom-up navigation just like in most e-commerce sites today.


Jonatan Lundin is a senior information architect within the technical communication field, currently employed at Excosoft in Sweden. Jonatan has 20 years of experience from the technical communication industry, and 15 years of experience of designing XML topic based user documentation for large global companies. Jonatan is product manager for Excosoft Finder; an add-on to Excosoft Skribenta CCMS.

In recent years, he has focused on findability aspects of technical communication. Jonatan is an industrial PhD student at Mälardalens University, Sweden, studying information-seeking behaviors among users of technical documentation. One of the research objectives is to increase knowledge on how to design end user assistance to allow the active and searching user find the answers they are looking for. SeSAM is a spin-off from ongoing academic research.


Joakim Nybäck: Prototyping Information Models

Having a hard time finding the right level of granularity for your topics? Finding it hard to grasp what standalone topics mean in practice because your output is still a traditional book? Want to experiment with content references before you bolt down the rules for it? Nothing could be easier if you have Tiddlywiki5 at your fingertips.

A wiki? Really? Isn’t that so 2005? It can be, but not if you choose Tiddlywiki! Tiddlywiki is a little known gem of an open-source solution that offers powerful and really easy-to-use features that enable you to test your information model with a minimum of fuss, thus allowing you to iterate faster until you reach a solution.


Joakim is a technical communication professional with over a decade's worth of experience from content creation, documentation project management, selling and implementing technical communication solutions, key account management and coaching of information architects at Citec. He has a keen interest in cool tools that can help automating workflows. What is more gratifying than building a smart solution that allows you to be lazy. This spurred him to learn to program in Python, an ongoing journey.


Pekka Pietikäinen: What Skills Are Recruiters Looking for in the Field of Technical Communication?

In the field of technical communication, there have been a number of attempts to comprehensively describe the various skills and aptitudes that technical communicators must possess. Technical communication is by no means a static field, and various changes taking place in the field are also likely to have an effect on the skills and knowledge required from technical communication professionals. However, it is also probable that at least some of the skills associated with technical communication can be considered to be core skills (such as acting as an advocate of the end-user) and not as dependent on the changes brought upon by technological development, for example.

In my presentation I will discuss some new findings on this subject. As a part of my recent Master’s Thesis study I interviewed a total of nine professionals who are involved in recruiting technical communicators in Finland, to find out what sort of skills or aptitudes they require or prefer the candidates to have. These could be classified as basic skills (required from all candidates), speciality skills (that are role-specific) and non-mandatory but useful skills. What do the findings tell us about the core skills of technical communicators, as well as the current state and the possible future of the profession?


I have worked in various specialist and managerial duties in the field of technical communication since 1998. I am especially interested in such issues as working life skills, professional identity and growth, as well as professionalism in technical communication.


Jukka Sihvola: Teknisen viestinnän täydennyskoulutusta (salama-alustus)

Alustuksessa kerrotaan Tampereen yliopiston täydennyskoulutustarjonnasta. 

Yliopiston teknisen viestinnän koulutustarjotin uudistuu kaiken aikaa. Uutena kouluttautumisväylänä on nyt integroitu koulutus, jossa opiskelemaan haluava voi ilmoittautua yhteen perusopetuksessa tarjolla olevista opintojaksoista. 

Tällöin hän opiskelee ko. jakson yhdessä perusopiskelijoiden kanssa. Jos kysyntää on tarpeeksi paljon, tällainen integroitu koulutus voidaan järjestää yksinomaan työssäkäyville opiskelijoille.


YM Jukka Sihvola, jolla on pitkä kokemus täydennyskoulutusten suunnittelusta ja järjestämisestä Tampereen yliopistossa.

Willam van Weelden: Great Content and SEO: A Match Made in Mountain View?

There is so much content that the greatest challenge is letting users find your content: If your content is not in the top 3 Google results, you are not being found. Being found means creating content that does make the top 3. In other words: Search Engine Optimisation or SEO.

This presentation shows how to structure your content for optimal findability for users and search engines. You will learn the basics of search engine optimisation, how to set up topics for optimal findability and how wording and sentences affect search ranking.

This presentation focusses on content rather than tools and technical solutions. Since applying SEO techniques improves your content itself, you can improve any content you create. Even if you are not publishing for the web.


Willam van Weelden is a technical writer and functional designer from the Netherlands. After studying to become a teacher he made the switch to technical documentation.

Willam is an Adobe Community Professional, ranking him among the world’s leading experts on RoboHelp. Willam’s specialties are HTML5 and RoboHelp automation. Apart from RoboHelp, Willam also has extensive experience with other industry standard programs such as Adobe Captivate and FrameMaker. You can visit Willam at www.wvanweelden.eu.


Jenni Virtaluoto: “Tech writers really do need to look beyond just tech writing” – future visions for the field in Finland

This presentation is based on my PhD study in the field of technical communication. In the study, some of the central contradictions in the technical communication activity were explored by applying activity theory on autoethnographic interview data as well as workshop data gathered at a case company. The aim of the study was twofold: 1) to investigate and describe the current status of the field in Finland, and 2) to suggest solutions to some of the problems we are facing using the tools offered by activity theory. This presentation provides an overview of the results of the study.


I am a seasoned technical writer and customer trainer, currently doing PhD studies in English Philology at the University of Oulu. I have experience in most areas of customer-facing communication: from press releases to training materials, marketing materials and user guides. In my work, I have been lucky enough to get involved with challenging, international customer projects in places as diverse as New York, Mumbai and Tokyo. I firmly believe that in order to provide high-quality information products, close contact with your readership is a must.


Jenni Virtaluoto, Pekka Pietikäinen, Tiina Lähteenmäki: Teknisen viestinnän nykytila Suomessa -kyselyn tuloksia

Miten tyytyväisiä tekniset viestijät ovat toimenkuviinsa ja työympäristöihinsä? Entäpä palkkataso, vastaako se odotuksia? Millainen koulutustaso teknisillä viestijöillä on? Kokevatko he olevansa asiantuntija-ammatissa?

Teemme syksyllä 2015 kyselyn suomalaisille teknisen viestinnän ammattilaisille. Kyselyssä kartoitamme teknisen viestinnän nykytilaa ja alalla toimivien ajatuksia tulevaisuuden suhteen. Viime vuosien heikko talouskehitys ja monien suurten työllistäjien sisäiset rakennemuutokset esimerkiksi IT-alalla ovat vaikuttaneet myös tekniseen viestintään. Kyselyn tarkoituksena on selvittää, miltä tekninen viestintä Suomessa näyttää näiden muutosten jälkeen. Kysely toteutetaan sähköisenä kyselynä elo-syyskuussa 2015 ja vastaajien tavoittamiseen käytetään STVY:n avointa Facebook-sivua, web-sivua sekä sähköpostilistaa.


Jenni Virtaluoto

I am a seasoned technical writer and customer trainer, currently doing PhD studies in English Philology at the University of Oulu. I have experience in most areas of customer-facing communication: from press releases to training materials, marketing materials and user guides. In my work, I have been lucky enough to get involved with challenging, international customer projects in places as diverse as New York, Mumbai and Tokyo. I firmly believe that in order to provide high-quality information products, close contact with your readership is a must.

Pekka Pietikäinen

I have worked in various specialist and managerial duties in the field of technical communication since 1998. I am especially interested in such issues as working life skills, professional identity and growth, as well as professionalism in technical communication.

Tiina Lähteenmäki

MA (University of Turku), Information Specialist (Helsinki University of Technology, Lifelong Learning Institute Dipoli). Communications and change management specialist, technical communicator. Since 1991 in the business. Started her career as a technical translator. Active member in the Finnish Technical Communications Society; currently the vice chair and international delegate. Enthusiastic photographer, taking care of communications and PR at Kameraseura (the Camera Association in Helsinki).