At tcworld India, I'll be talking about content, but not about content as a static entity. I'm going to talk about structured content - specifically about the secret lives of structured content. And that kind of content has many more lives than the nine lives of a cat. So come along and learn about those lives.
Structured content is powerful. Structure lets content perform at optimal levels, delivering from multiple content sources, to multiple audiences, into multiple channels, through multiple interfaces, and often with more complexity. As we're challenged to meet the needs of more market segments with personalised content in an increasing number of contexts, it's critical to understand how much structure to apply, and how to make that structure stand up under the stresses of complexity and scale.
At one end of the spectrum, structured content helps with automation of delivering content between software systems. At the other end of the spectrum, content can support systems in very sophisticated ways. Picture the following situation. A driver (or passenger) asks their car whether the tire pressure is low. The remote monitor remotely checks the car, determines whether the tire pressure is at optimum pressure, whether it's not optimum yet within the acceptable limit, or too high or low to be within the acceptable limit. Then, the software pulls the best "state" from the allowable options, which sets off a chain reaction: the virtual assistant reads out the appropriate phrase, sends a visual icon to the head console, and sends a short message to the mobile app with a link to the online instructions for how to keep your tire pressure at the optimum level. To deliver content into this type of scenario means having new content types, including "read-aloud" content and stand-alone icons.
This takes structured content to a whole new level - one that will support technical communicators during a time of exponentially-expanding outputs to multiple channels. Technical communicators have always been at the forefront of dealing with content complexity, and this jump in complexity expands the need for structure even more. My workshop will cover the processes for structuring content, and demonstrate the operational and business benefits that accrue as the sturdiness of the structures increase.