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The DocMuc conference is an annual event about all things documentation – or “user assistance” (UA) as we call it at SAP –  and is organized by Prof. Dr. Gertrud Grünwied and the students of the technical documentation and communication department at the University of Applied Sciences Munich. This year, major themes of the conference were semantic technologies in technical communication, software documentation and user assistance, and internal communication – from requirements analysis to quality documentation.

We’re proud to say that this year, four SAP user assistance experts were invited by the DocMuc organizers to speak at the conference, with Jody Byrne from the central user assistance group at SAP even catching the keynote speech slot.

  Jody Byrne talking about how the online world affects human communication

The keynote focused on the cyberpsychology of user assistance and how despite all the new technologies emerging in technical communication (ML, AR, VR, you name it), the human component of communication is more important than ever. Jody Byrne explained that it is the job of professional communicators to ensure communication is effective, especially if it is powered by AI. To do this, we will need a solid understanding of how humans communicate in online environments. The talk was well received and some of the participants mentioned at the end of the conference that they would have appreciated even more time spent talking about this important topic.

 

In the continuous delivery scenario, new features can be shipped any time.

But they have to come with UI texts, in-app help, and documentation.

In their presentation Schreibst Du noch oder lieferst Du schon? (English: Still writing or already shipping content?), Sven Gierse and Stefanie Schmitt from the SAP Cloud Platform team introduced attendees to the continuous delivery model for software and how feature-driven user assistance can be produced and delivered in this working mode. The presentation was supported by a lively discussion with the audience about shipping features in short delivery cycles. Key takeaway: Close collaboration is a must. Content creation and decision making (when is a feature including user assistance and translation ready to be shipped?) need a high degree of automation.

Sven also acted as an expert in a panel discussion on semantic technologies, which focused on classification of content.

And then, Andrea Gocke, also from the central user assistance team at SAP, came, saw, and (style) guided conference participants through the style guide universe at SAP.

Comparing style guides to a merry-go-round. In her talk, Andrea Gocke showed that the two have more in common than one may think!

In her presentation Ein Styleguide kommt selten allein (English: There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all style guide), she explained the “minimum style guide philosophy” – what is at the heart of a style guide? – and introduced the audience to the various SAP-internal style guide for all things user assistance, such as the SAP Style Guide for Technical Communication.

The SAP UA contributions were a great addition to the conference, received very positive feedback, and caused lively discussions.

Want to find out more about the DocMuc conference? Visit the official website.

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