Rewriting the rules for TRIRIGA docs


Veni, vidi, vici! TRIRIGA, TRIRIGAFEEDIA, and TRIRIGA UX! But to start off, happy anniversary! Believe it or not, November 2015 not only witnessed the 2nd anniversary of my quiet “bright blue” tech blog at jay.manaloto.ibm, but also the 10th anniversary of my tech career at TRIRIGA. From the old TRIRIGA days of co-locating at the office to the global IBM days of telecommuting from home. Not a bad deal.

So why have I returned? To be honest, I was always going to return. But this year has been especially consuming, fascinating, and satisfying with my exploration of new TRIRIGA territories, namely TRIRIGAFEEDIA and TRIRIGA UX. With the former, if you remember, I created “an experimental WordPress hub that collects feeds”. With the latter, I recently dove into the world of Google Polymer.

TRIRIGA UX Article 1

TRIRIGA UX Article 1

Hi, my name is Jay, and I’m an IBM TRIRIGA information developer at IBM. I’ve always been pretty transparent about the origin of my TRIRIGAFEEDIA blog. But now that IBM has announced the releases of IBM TRIRIGA 10.5.0 and IBM TRIRIGA Application Platform 3.5.0 with its UX Framework, I can finally reveal the origin, design, and development of my TRIRIGA UX Articles. Wanna find out?

What TRIRIGA rules did I rewrite?

TRIRIGAFEEDIA blog

My exploration of new TRIRIGA territories was a perfect opportunity to rewrite a few TRIRIGA rules. Last year, in a previous post, I asked: “Why not build a WordPress presence that collects tedious-to-search articles then streams them as more visible posts? In turn, why not feed this WordPress stream into a Twitter stream?” So I built TRIRIGAFEEDIA to boost the searchability of our less visible articles.

How does this affect our TRIRIGA docs? While it doesn’t directly impact how our Knowledge Center product topics or developerWorks wiki pages or Support Portal tech notes are written, reposting them into a “single, searchable, and social stream” can ease the frustration of finding them in the first place. And for many folks, that’s half the battle. I mean, it’s all part of the same user experience, right?

Secondly, one benefit that I didn’t expect was the wider sense of context. What do I mean by that? Again, while it doesn’t directly impact how our TRIRIGA docs are written, seeing where and how often the activity pops up from writers, developers, support, and customers in the TRIRIGA community can give a sense of the product strengths and weaknesses. From there, I can add posts to fill the gaps.

Rewritten rule: Don’t expect posts in your company’s social media channels to be easily searchable or findable. If necessary, build your own socio-mobile presence to boost them from those channels.

TRIRIGA UX articles

Earlier this year, in January 2015, I was given the golden opportunity to create a brand new vision of TRIRIGA documentation in which to introduce our brand new TRIRIGA UX Framework. Basically, our “user experience” (UX) application framework follows a model-view-controller (MVC) approach for building apps. In turn, the view layer is built upon the Polymer library of reusable web components.

How do we get customers to be excited about a new framework? From my high-level discussions with development managers, they wanted the docs to be “cool”, “exciting”, “consumable”, and “accessible”. So based on their words, I formulated a new vision of “cool, casual, and consumable” articles, written in the same conversational and colorful way as I’d write one of my own blog posts.

Thus, the TRIRIGA UX Articles were born! In terms of “cool”, I ignored the old-school Knowledge Center and borrowed the big bold visual impact of WordPress blog posts. In terms of “casual”, I sprinkled some rhetorical questions, metaphors, slang, and humor. In terms of “consumable”, I split the mobile-friendly PDF content into more-digestible chunks for slightly-different audiences.

But by ignoring the Knowledge Center, did I ignore its DITA-XML too? Yes, definitely. Then what did I use? Naturally, I chose Microsoft Word DOC. Why not? Ever since my mobile PDF experiments from 2 years ago, it was the simplest choice for mobile-friendly PDFs. In fact, being away from DITA-XML for 12 full months was an eye-opening and liberating experience. Like my human voice was finally freed!

Rewritten rule: Don’t expect your topic-based XML-authored documentation to generate the same impact as social media. If necessary, explore socio-mobile alternatives to boost reader engagement.

How is TRIRIGAFEEDIA doing?

To add to the November anniversaries, on November 23, 2015,“TRIRIGAFEEDIA exceeded 20,000 hits in less than 12 months! To put this into perspective, while it reached its first 10,000 hits in less than 8 months, it reached its second 10,000 hits in just over 4 months!” Clearly, the blog is doing well. But not only that, the rule that it rewrote for TRIRIGA documentation seems to be running on the right track.

TRIRIGAFEEDIA

TRIRIGAFEEDIA

TRIRIGAFEEDIA

TRIRIGAFEEDIA

TRIRIGAFEEDIA

TRIRIGAFEEDIA

How are the TRIRIGA UX articles doing?

It’s tough to project the impact of the TRIRIGA UX Articles so soon after their December release. But based on the occasional compliments from the development team and the beta customers over the last 10 months, the direction is clearly favorable. While delivering our product documentation like flashy blog posts is refreshingly unorthodox, I expect the rewritten rule to be on the right track too.

TRIRIGA UX Article 1

TRIRIGA UX Article 1

TRIRIGA UX Article 2

TRIRIGA UX Article 2

TRIRIGA UX Article 3

TRIRIGA UX Article 3

TRIRIGA UX Article 4

TRIRIGA UX Article 4

TRIRIGA UX Article 5

TRIRIGA UX Article 5

What are my final thoughts?

During any discussion about TRIRIGA product documentation, two factors typically come to mind — globalization and social media. Yet more often than not, they also seem to be in direct conflict with each other. Let me explain. First, with globalization, I’m referring to simplifying my writing style and grammar in the English language, so that translations into a dozen other languages are more efficient.

Second, with social media, I’m referring to our developerWorks wiki pages, forum replies, and blog posts, which act as secondary supporting docs to our primary Knowledge Center docs. Sadly, while our TRIRIGA Knowledge Center docs are translated into Czech, Chinese, and others, our TRIRIGA developerWorks posts are English only. After all, TRIRIGA is based in Las Vegas. Notice the conflict?

Luckily, I don’t have to worry about globalizing, simplifying, or watering down my TRIRIGAFEEDIA social streams on WordPress and Twitter. On the other hand, my TRIRIGA UX Articles are a bit tricky. While their style resembles secondary social media — PDFs delivered on wiki pages and written like “cool, casual, and consumable” blog posts — their content rises to the level of primary product docs.

By its very nature, social media isn’t meant to slow down for globalization. Besides, how do I water down my articles without killing their original exciting intent? Do I scrape off the rhetorical questions, metaphors, slang, and humor? Do I delete the engaging English screenshots? Fortunately, I have a dual-delivery brainstorm. What other rules will be rewritten? Who knows? But I can’t wait to find out!

Do I have an update?

Two weeks after rewriting the rules for TRIRIGA docs, I delighted users by killing XML robots!

STC Intercom: February 2015

STC Intercom: February 2015

Five months after rewriting the rules for TRIRIGA docs, I animated ideas in Adobe Captivate 9!

TRIRIGA UX Lesson 1

TRIRIGA UX Lesson 1

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5 thoughts on “Rewriting the rules for TRIRIGA docs

  1. Pingback: Feeding the frenzy for TRIRIGA feeds | jay.manaloto.ibm

  2. Pingback: Pouring Polymer onto TRIRIGA docs | jay.manaloto.ibm

  3. Pingback: Delighting users by killing XML robots | jay.manaloto.ibm

  4. Pingback: Restyling PDF manuals for mobile | jay.manaloto.ibm

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