Re: SIGDOC '94

Subject: Re: SIGDOC '94
From: WandaJane Phillips <wandajp -at- ANDYNE -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 1994 22:46:15 GMT

In article <9410111802 -dot- AA12241 -at- barney -dot- alias -dot- com>
Pat Anderson <panderson -at- alias -dot- com> writes:

> So--did anybody go?

> I missed it this year, and was hoping to hear something about it.

yep, I went. It was my first SIGDOC. The best part, for me, was the
Sunday tutorial on contextual inquiry. My boss came along with me,
which was very interesting... resulted in lots of new *jobs* for me and
a complete redesign of our project documentation. *yahoo* :>

The tutorial was great, well presented, detailed and lots of structured
practice. We felt it was an excellent concept and Mary Beth Raven did
an excellent job getting the info across. Even though the mountains
were very distracting for us newbies.

The other sessions that I sat in on were not consistently up to that
same level. Admittedly MB had a whole day to structure and others
shared hour and a half sessions. But, I was surprized to see that few
people had well-prepared slides and talks. I only saw one computer used
for presenting, pardon my frustration, but having *speakers* read their
bulleted lists off to me does NOT constitute a presentation. I can do
that part.

I concentrated on online help/documentation and Bellcore is doing some
interesting work there. A bit radical for the average user, I think,
but a *wave* I've heard pounding against the beaches of tech
communication for a few years (GO ONLINE - EVERYTHING!! - ALL OF IT!!
DO IT NOW!!). So my boss got all het up, he'd love to go ONLINE ONLINE
ALL THE WAY. I've got a bit of hesitation, I know that as a user I LIKE
MANUALS. Recent usability testing here has shown that a lot of users
like manuals -- even if they don't actually crack the cover! I watched
one person lay their hand on the manual, and then, reassured, try to
use the software.

We also looked in on sessions covering uniting/merging/combining
various documentation processes. This interested us because that is
what we do - primarily because we have limited resources for
development, but look forward to the day when we're a really big
company and lots of people develop information that supports the users.
GO ONLINE. subliminal messages may appear at random - beware!

Bellcore identified a visual display method for presenting information
online in a task oriented fashion. the visual display allows users to
navigate through the entire ... hmm they had a word for it ...
scenario. a scenario has a set of tasks, and each task has a set of
steps. now my boss (I see by my notes) wants Windows to support the Mac
Guide (with coach marks etc)... GO ONLINE.

One fellow, Cox from a Hong Kong university, spoke about a model for a
search engine that sounded so radical that I really didn't understand
it. it did sound like it would be a very effective search strategy for
images and sounds, rather than text.

I really liked the elk on the lawn. there was a herd of elk hanging
around, one male and a whack of *ladies*. you had to watch out for
bucky, though. he had a tendency to rush people.

so, I haven't really digested the event, I've been trying to get on top
of the list of projects!! GO ONLINE.

... waja ...
opinions?! opinions?! we don't need no stinking opinions!
don't sit under the Bodhi tree with anyone else but me... anyone else
but me...

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