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How can Technical Writers Support Voice Automation?

Dec 6, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions  //  No Comments

What is voice automation? Voice automation enables digital devices to interact with users via sound. Chances are, if you own a smartphone, you’ve already conversed with Siri, or one of her sisters.

Voice automation is everywhere these days. It’s proven to be successful for GPS navigation programs and even home automation systems. Thanks to voice automation, we now have intelligent assistant technologies such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Bixby.  The potential of voice automation doesn’t stop there. Medicine, engineering, and finance are just some of the industries that can integrate voice automation into their processes, products, and services.

Some might think that voice automation will eventually take over the functions of a technical writer. However, Saiff Solutions’ webinar with Precision Content on neuroscience, chatbots, voice, and microcontent suggests otherwise. In our previous microcontent blog, we discussed how we can narrow down content into its most simplified form through microcontent.

Microcontent

Microcontent is a unit of structured information that can be easily processed by both the human brain and machines. This is exactly what we need to feed voice automation with more precise information. Technical communicators are best equipped with the skills needed to produce voice automation-ready microcontent.

Now, how exactly can technical writers support voice automation? Here are three good ways:

  • Technical writers can identify user intent.

Technical writers are known to be experts in audience analysis, and audience analysis is the best method to identify user intent. User intent is one of the most crucial parts of microcontent. The intent declares the function of the information.

  • Technical writers can apply user intent to content.

Once technical writers get a full grasp of their audience’s intent, they can determine the writing structure needed for microcontent. According to Saiff Solutions’ and Precision Content’s webinar “The Future is Now: Neuroscience, Chatbots, Voice, and Microcontent,” microcontent sentences change tense and perspective depending on reader intent. This shapes the authoring of your content, thus enabling voice automation to be more eloquent and conversational.

  • Technical writers can adapt to any business that  requires the development of voice automation.

Technical writers can adapt to any technical field, and the same goes for microcontent. Won’t it be interesting to experience voice automation everywhere? The adaptability of technical writers opens endless possibilities for voice automation.

Imagine the possibilities of this growing content delivery system! With voice automation, you can:

  • Expand the capabilities of AI
  • Contribute to the development of eLearning
  • Enhance your marketing and technical content

So, if you want to learn more about how voice automation can make your content shine, see our previous webinar with Precision Content here and view the slide deck here.

Watch out for our microcontent blog series on the Saiff Solutions blog page here.

Welcome to the Saiff Solutions Blog!

Dec 4, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

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Below you will find our latest and greatest blog posts.

Click here for the complete list of blog posts sorted by title

Breakthrough: Saiff Solutions Kicks off LavaCon 2018!

Nov 29, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Events, LavaCon, News  //  No Comments

Lavacon 2018 at the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel in New Orleans, LA, was the largest LavaCon yet! From October 21 to 24, over 550 content strategy experts and enthusiasts participated from all over the world. The participants were in for four days of educational and fun sessions on technical communications.

Saiff Solutions unloaded a lot of firepower in this year’s LavaCon! Barry Saiff, Founder and CEO of Saiff Solutions, was accompanied by two of our strategic partners: William Schwartz and Darryl Dobin. William Schwartz is the representative of Alpha CRC. Darryl Dobin is the representative of Fitch Group. We were also joined by Michelle McNabb, Owner and Event Marketing Strategist of Emenee Marketing and Events.

Barry’s new book, Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer, was available for the first time at LavaCon! The book was published on October 20, 2018 by XML Press, as part of the Content Wrangler Content Strategy Series. Barry signed copies of the book as requested by delighted recipients. In addition to Barry’s book, Saiff Solutions also debuted short videos showcasing our Multimedia and Technical Writing services.

Barry showcases his new book, Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer, at Mag’s 940 bar.

On Saturday, October 20, Saiff Solutions met with our partner and fellow LavaCon sponsor, Precision Content, to deepen and expand our strategic partnership. In this year’s LavaCon, we also welcomed our strategic partner and guest, Panviva, represented by Stephen Pappas. We were pleased to be situated next to our partner, Adobe.

Saiff Solutions led and hosted two breakout sessions and a workshop, and sponsored events throughout the conference. Saiff Solutions sponsored a coffee table, providing complimentary coffee for all the participants during the conference. On Sunday, October 21, at 9:00 AM, Barry spearheaded a workshop on how to effectively manage documentation teams. Participants engaged in exercises and lively conversations.

On Sunday night, Saiff Solutions also sponsored a fun opening reception at Mag’s 940 bar along Elysian Fields Avenue. Barry spoke for a couple of minutes to welcome the participants.

The reception featured a drag show by Princess Stephanie, which set the mood and paved the way to a delightful night for the 100+ speakers and conference participants.

On Tuesday, at 12:45 PM, Barry read excerpts from his new book, Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer outside the Astor Ballroom. During lunch, Barry led a Q&A session in the Astor Ballroom, where five people won chocolates that he brought all the way from the Philippines.

On Wednesday, at 9:00 AM, Barry went deeper into the misunderstood yet exciting world of outsourcing technical writing. A dozen people attended and the participants had a variety of experiences – from people working at outsourcing firms to managers of technical writers to technical writers. The participants shared their experiences and asked excellent questions. The breakout session was very active and informative.

Saiff Solutions is grateful to everyone who attended our events, drank our coffee, took home a book, talked to us, or in other ways made this our best LavaCon ever! We are excited by the new relationships we started and the existing relationships we deepened. To everyone we met at LavaCon, and to all of those we haven’t met yet, we stand ready to support you, assist you, learn from you, and grow with you.

If you want to know more about Saiff Solutions, let us know here. We’d love to discuss with you the latest trends and innovations in technical communication.

Is Your Content Driving Away Readers? Try Motion Infographics!

Nov 13, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy, Reference Articles  //  No Comments

You work hard to develop your text content, only to have readers click right past it. How can you transform the content from a slow read to catchy eye candy? Motion infographics might be the answer to visually and quickly relay your message to your audience.

After all, the problem isn’t necessarily with the content. Instead, the form of the content could make reader comprehension less likely. On average, humans only read 20% of the text they see, and just scan the rest. With visual information, however, people remember 80% of what they see. What’s more, they understand visual information faster – 60,000 times faster – than they understand text!

In other words, if you want to communicate effectively with your audience, text-only strategies represent an enormous wasted opportunity.

Want to learn more about motion infographics and how they can help you present your content for maximum impact? Check out our blog. Our multimedia team has also collected several great articles on the subject:

13 Reasons Why Your Brain Craves Infographics
By NeoMam Studios
This explains why infographics are digested by the brain more fully  than other types of content.

5 Reasons Why You Should Use A Motion Graphics Video
By YumYum Videos
The article describes how motion infographics can be an effective tool in turning your complex information into an enticing read.

3 Ways to Turn Your Infographic into an Engaging Animated Infographic
By Column Five Media
If you’re already familiar with basic infographics, check out this article and learn how to add animation.

The Power of Visual Communication Infographic
By Wyzowl
This article describes the relationships that infographics create between writers and readers.

Know more about what’s going on in technical communication! Fill in the fields at the top of your screen to subscribe to our newsletter. Get the latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events in your inbox.

 

How You Can Use Motion Infographics

Nov 8, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Infographics help readers understand complex concepts. Given the plethora of infographics available online, how can you make sure your content stands out?

We have shown you what makes motion infographics different from stationary infographics and how to create motion infographics. Now it is time to learn how you can use motion infographics to build a memorable brand for your business.

Whether you are explaining how a car engine works or explaining how a cheetah is faster than a greyhound, using motion infographics can help your reader easily visualize any concept.

Here are some useful links from our multimedia team on using motion infographics to create memorable content:

  • Types of Motion Graphics

From Motion UX
This article contains several examples of where you can use motion infographics, from explainer videos to product marketing. Read it here.

  • 5 Ways You Can use Motion Infographics

From e-m marketing
This article introduces 5 ways to use motion infographics in your digital marketing content. Read it here.

  • How to Promote Your Business with Motion Graphics

From Renderforest
This article explains how you can incorporate motion graphics into your marketing strategy. Read it here.

  • 20 Creative Branding Examples Using Motion Graphics

From Advids Video Creation Service
This article provides 20 examples of using motion graphics to represent your brand. Read it here.

If you missed our free webinar on September 13, click on the links to view the recording and the slide deck. Learn about the future of microcontent with host, Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, and his guests, Rob Hanna of Precision Content Authoring Services, and Barry Saiff of Saiff Solutions.

Subscribe to our newsletter and gain access to the latest tech comm trends. Fill out the short form at the top of the screen and get the latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events in your inbox.

What is Microcontent?

Oct 25, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Companies often overlook content organization. Some companies publish content on their websites without proper planning and analysis of the structure. Some websites have a pile of PDFs, and Google doesn’t search within them. On far too many websites, audiences grope blindly to find the content they need.

Online readers forage for information, hopping from site to site until they find what they need. So how do you get them to stop and notice your pages? By delivering easy-to-read content that actually answers their questions.

Microcontent makes that possible.

Not only does microcontent address specific questions, but it also assesses the reader’s context and intent. Microcontent presents information in the simplest and most concrete way possible. The question remains: where do technical communicators fit in this new content delivery?

This may seem like a big leap from traditional authoring, but microcontent demands the skills of technical writers even more. The world will always need translators and documentation teams for content creation. Precision Content’s post The Rise of Microcontent perfectly explains how technical writers shape this new delivery of information.

Want more information on microcontent? Watch BrightTalk’s recorded webinar The Future is now: Neuroscience, Chatbots, Voice, and Microcontent.

 

Top 12 Companies Attending Lavacon 2018

Oct 17, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

LavaCon 2018  is almost here, and the Astor Crowne Plaza Hotel will soon be filled with content professionals from different countries, October 21 to 24. It’s a much awaited event for technical communicators everywhere. Make sure to check out our top twelve companies at LavaCon.

Check out the top twelve companies that attend LavaCon.

Check out the top twelve companies that attend LavaCon.

In alphabetical order, here are our top twelve:

Adobe Technical Communication

Adobe, one of the world’s leading software corporations,  is expected to promote Adobe Technical Communication Suite 2019 in the conference. The toolkit includes five of its leading content creation software applications: Adobe Framemaker, Adobe Robohelp, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Acrobat, and Adobe Presenter. As a plus, Adobe will hold a free certificate-granting workshop about content creation on Sunday. Be sure to check that out!

For more information visit www.adobe.com

EasyDITA

EasyDITA is a next generation, enterprise-level content platform. EasyDITA centralizes authoring, editing, and the digital distribution of knowledge products and assets. Their method makes structured content easier for writers, content managers, companies, organizations, and their end-users.

For more information visit www.easydita.com

Iridize

Iridize provides a unique employee learning module called the Context Aware Product Learning Mastery Suite. This learning module specifically orients employees to new web applications. Iridize makes sure that the learning experience is perfectly fit to the needs of the learner.

For more information visit www.iridize.com

Oxygen

The oXygen XML editor offers ready-to-use DITA support including visual editing, DITA-OT integration, DITA maps manager and much more. Its change tracking and annotation support, coupled with the possibility to create simplified user interfaces and its availability across platforms make it an ideal tool for capturing content from SMEs or for reviewing DITA documents.

For more information visit www.oxygenxml.com

Precision Content

Precision Content Authoring Solutions Inc. is a full-service solution provider to medium- and large-scale organizations around the globe. Precision Content helps their customers to better understand and solve their content challenges. Their core services involve designing and implementing innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions for authoring, managing, and publishing high-value content.

For more information visit at www.precisioncontent.com

Saiff Solutions

Saiff Solutions is a technical writing outsourcing company based in the Philippines. They provide superior process and product documentation efficiently and effectively at prices that yield extraordinary value. Join Barry Saiff, Founder & CEO for “Managing Content Development Teams: Inner Mastery for Outer Success” on Sunday, October 21 at 9:00 AM. Stop by the Saiff Solutions table to pick up a copy of Barry’s new book, Outsourcing Technical Writing: A Primer, being published on October 20, 2018 by XML Press as part of the Content Wrangler Content Strategy Series.

For more information visit www.saiffsolutions.com/home

Scriptorium

Since 1997, Scriptorium Publishing has been helping companies solve business problems and achieve strategic goals. They evaluate content challenges, recommend solutions, and implement tools and technologies that make solutions possible. Their services include content strategy, localization strategy, implementation and training, and support and maintenance. Join Sarah O’Keefe, Founder & Chief Executive Officer for “Minimum Viable Infrastructure for Enterprise Content ” on Tuesday, October 23.

For more information visit www.scriptorium.com

Stilo

Stilo International provides exceptional tools to help organizations implement structured content solutions using XML. Their tools help organizations to automate the conversion of content to various source formats including FrameMaker, Word, InDesign, RoboHelp, and DITA XML. Stilo also offers AuthorBridge, a new Guided + Fluid DITA authoring solution for SMEs and occasional contributors.

Learn more at www.stilo.com

Vasont Systems

Vasont is one of the leading content management software providers in the technical communication industry. They provide content management to a variety of industries, including manufacturing, technology, publishing, financial, and healthcare. As a matter of fact, Vasont has been included multiple times in the EContent 100 list of “best and brightest digital content companies.”

For more information visit www.vasont.com

Webworks

Webworks is the flagship publishing brand of Quadralay Corporation. Webworks believes that publishing is the first step to three goals: increasing product value, creating customer loyalty, and realizing documentation potential. Thus, they provide automated delivery of online content to multiple formats, languages, and devices. Webworks excels at conversions. Their tools can assist you in converting between almost any two formats.

For more information visit www.webworks.com

WittyParrot

WittyParrot is a knowledge automation, collaboration, and communication platform that makes accessing information easy with just a few clicks, without navigating complex portals. More than a file sharing and storage solution, it enables you to discover, classify, assemble, deliver, and track all the content you need to work more effectively. Witty Parrot centralizes all of your company’s messaging, marketing assets, and best practice communications, enabling your organization to speak with one voice.

For more information visit www.wittyparrot.com

Zoomin

Zoomin is a publishing solutions company that is primarily focused on enabling companies to deliver dynamic content to their customers. They can take structured and unstructured content and turn it into one format, creating a unified content experience for customers. As a matter of fact, Zoomin has been recognized by EContent Magazine as one of its Trendsetting Products for 2017. Join Pam Goodrich, Technical Documentation Manager, Cherwell, and Joe Gelb, Zoomin Software on Tuesday, October 23rd for “A Journey to Intelligent Content Delivery.”

Visit www.zoominsoftware.com for more information.

Never miss the opportunity to meet the best content strategists, documentation managers, and other content professionals at LavaCon. For more information, visit Lavacon 2018.

How to Create Motion Infographics Part 2

Sep 27, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Content Strategy, How-To  //  No Comments

How to Create Motion Infographics part 2

Tweaking a static infographic to include animated elements can help you stand out. If you’re not sure where to begin, let us help!

Visual content is one of the best ways to keep your reader engaged on your blog or website. In today’s digital age, readers often suffer from text overload. A colorful image or two can sustain readers’ interest. Animating your images keeps readers’ eyes from wandering away from your page.

When it comes to creating infographics, you have lots of great tools at your disposal. Applications like Adobe After Effects or Illustrator can help you design powerful, effective images. 

Our multimedia team uses GIF formatting to create motion infographics. Among a variety of formatting options, GIF is the most effective and cost-efficient. GIFs contain micro-animations – continuously moving images that catch the attention of your audience.

If you want to know more about how our multimedia team creates motion infographics, here is a quick primer:

  1. We use Adobe Illustrator to create images based on a client’s needs.
  2. We use Autodesk Maya to create a 3D model of the image to be animated. The movement is drawn frame-by-frame, and is called an image sequence.
  3. We then import the image sequence into Adobe Media Encoder CC.
  4. In Adobe Media Encoder CC, we render the moving image as an .Mp4 file to reduce the file size without compromising quality.
  5. Lastly, we use Adobe After Effects CC to add text and graphics that support the infographic.

If you want to deepen your knowledge on motion infographics, our multimedia team has shared some useful tips:

  • 4 Must-Have Motion Graphic Design Applications
    From Adorama Learning Center

    This article provides a list of four must-have applications for aspiring video editors, videographers, and motion graphic designers. Read it here.
  • 7 Motion Design Lessons Learned the Hard Way
    From Pond5 Blog

    This article shares seven key lessons that you need to learn to succeed in motion design. Read it here.
  • Layout Cheat Sheet: Making the Best Out of Visual Arrangement
    From Piktochart

    This article teaches the importance of using white space and layout arrangement to take your infographics to the next level. Read it here.
  • Motion Graphics Software You Should Know
    From RocketStock

    This article compiles a list of motion graphics software perfect for bringing your ideas to life. Read it here.

Missed our September 13 webinar? View the recording here, and the slide deck here. Discover the future of microcontent with host Scott Abel of The Content Wrangler, and special guests Rob Hanna of Precision Content Authoring Solutions and Barry Saiff of Saiff Solutions.

Want to know more about what’s going on in technical communication? Fill in the fields at the top of your screen to subscribe to our newsletter. Get the latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events in your inbox.

Motion Infographics Part 1: How to Create Effective, Engaging Visual Content

Aug 14, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Design 4 (1)

How do you turn content into a visual masterpiece that can provide people with an easy, enjoyable, and effective learning experience? Could motion infographics be the answer?

Motion infographics combine the best elements of minimalism, instructional design, and information architecture to produce content that enables people to learn quickly and painlessly. Motion infographics don’t merely make learning fun and easy. They have the potential to revolutionize technical documentation by simplifying complex topics and fully engaging users.

Producing effective, engaging visual content requires technical skills and design knowledge. Don’t worry, our top multimedia artists collected their top links for best practices and how-to guides on creating motion infographics. Take a look at our list of some of the best resources that can help you.

  • Animated Infographics: How Do They Work and What Makes Them Effective?
    From The Content Wrangler
    This article provides a basic tutorial and overview on how to create simple motion infographics. Read it here.
  • The Best Animation and Motion Graphics Software to Learn
    From School of Motion
    This article compiles an extensive list of applications that you need to learn to create motion infographics. Read it here.
  • Animagraffs: Education Animated by Jacob O’Neal
    From Adobe Blogs
    This article contains the fundamentals and best practices for creating motion infographics. Read it here.
  • Pro-Tips for Creating Interactive Infographics
    From Creative Bloq
    This article shares must-know tips to guide you in creating effective visual content applicable to motion infographics. Read it here.

Do you want to know more about motion infographics and other technical communication trends? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter (form above), and receive updates on our latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events.

Visual Learning Ecosystems (VLEs) Part 2: Are VLEs Really Something New?

Mar 13, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Visual Learning Ecosystems (VLEs) combine media elements such as animations, videos, graphics, and text to create large sets of educational information, presented to consumers based on their choices and their learning experiences.

VLEs can be incorporated within products, or interface with those products, to provide real-world, practical educational experiences, addressing the short attention spans and visual and auditory preferences of modern consumers. VLEs can facilitate customers through pre-sale or post-sale content, and make possible immersive, interactive, experiential learning journeys, customized based on the consumer’s wants and needs.

But are VLEs really new? Haven’t we seen all this before? Are VLEs just hype?

Let’s compare VLEs to three other types of content collections: Elearning Modules, Multi-media Presentations, and Knowledge Bases.

Elearning modules and VLEs both make use of multiple forms of media such as animations, videos, graphics, and text to facilitate a learning process.

Elearning modules are delivered through a pre-designed syllabus or curriculum. You can go through all of the materials, or just pick the parts that you want to use. However, you are confined to the pre-designed scope of that specific course. Not all of the materials may fit your learning style.

On the other hand, using VLEs, you design your own journey through a set of educational materials that matches your learning preferences and needs. If you want to learn more about a topic, VLEs can help you branch out and find more relevant information, presented in media that suit your learning style.

Elearning modules provide an interactive and practical method to educate and learn, but don’t necessarily cater to each user’s learning preferences and needs. VLEs further explore the potential of digital educational media by turning learning experiences into personalized journeys.

What about multi-media presentations? These pre-designed collections of content have been around for many decades. While they allow for a varied conglomeration of relevant information, presented in a variety of media, they are even less user-directed than elearning modules.

How about knowledge bases? Knowledge bases are often focused on post-sales content that helps consumers use products and services effectively. They can provide information in a wide variety of media. And they sometimes allow users to choose from a variety of learning options at different stages of their journey through the material.

In fact, some of the most advanced knowledge bases in use today can be accurately described as VLEs. While both knowledge bases and VLEs can focus on either post-sales help information or other types of content, knowledge bases are strongly associated with product support. The term VLE may be more appropriate to describe the wide variety of interactive, customizable content collections that enable unique user journeys through educational, marketing, pre-sales, post-sales, and even entertainment content.

Are you ready to achieve a level of success that leads the world? Contact Saiff Solutions today.

VLEs are the cutting edge of information design, interactive learning, customer service, and marketing. Have you experienced using a VLE, or something close to it? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

This is the second entry in an educational series exploring the power of VLEs. If you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter (form above), and receive updates on our latest blog posts, webinars, and other educational events.

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Saiff Solutions In The Media

- TechWhirl
- Nominated for 2015 Rice Bowl Asean Start Up

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Testimonials

“After Symantec acquired Brightmail in 2004, Barry played key roles in integrating the information development team and their content into Symantec’s then-developing Unified Content Strategy. Barry [Saiff]’s experience, product and content knowledge, and leadership qualities helped the Brightmail team to become a trailblazer within the company. The processes, tools, and practices they helped to develop for content management are used throughout the company, thanks in large part to Barry’s participation in numerous cross-departmental teams. Barry is a natural leader who can effectively contribute to any endeavor. He has a passion for serving customers that drives him to create and evangelize process improvements and to collaborate effectively with diverse groups and individuals. I would be glad to work with Barry again.”

Alexia Idoura (nee Prendergast)
Senior Manager, Symantec
February 16, 2011

Read more testimonials here.