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Adobe Day @ Lavacon 2013 – Rich Media in Framemaker with Matt Sullivan

photo from www.portlandoregon.gov/parks
Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden
photo from http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks

Matt Sullivan presented the last individual presentation for Adobe Day at Lavacon 2013, and it was a little different than what I had seen before. To me, it was like Portland’s Crystal Spring Rhododendron Gardens, because while Portland is known for its rose gardens, here’s something that’s different, but not out of place either.

MattSullivan
Matt Sullivan doing his presentation.

Matt recently co-authored the book, Unstructured Framemaker 11 with Sarah O’Keefe, and took the time to show us some of the more special features of Framemaker 11, specifically in reference to the use of rich media and XML. What made this a different presentation from what I had seen before was two-fold. First, Adobe prides itself in presenting these Adobe Day Thought Leadership events as the antithesis of a long commercial for the Adobe Technical Communications Suite applications, so having this presentation about Framemaker specifically seemed to go against that. But the deeper the presentation went, it was obvious that it wasn’t as much about how to include rich media in Framemaker (although that was certainly presented), it was about opening up minds to the idea of using rich media in digital documentation, and Framemaker happened to be the tool used to demonstrate this. Matt Sullivan is one of the foremost experts out there on the use of Framemaker (he did co-author a book, after all, and I’ve seen the book–it’s a hefty tome), so this made a lot of sense. The second part that seemed different was that it was a demonstration at all. As mentioned before, I was a little confused that an aspect of Framemaker was being demonstrated.  For those who were familiar with the product, it was easier to follow along. For those who weren’t as familiar with the product, they could keep up, but it didn’t necessarily have the same impact, but opened eyes to possibilities.

All that aside, Matt gave a lively demonstration of how one can produce rich media output from DITA/XML. Because this was a live demo, it was hard to track all the nuances of the presentation, so there weren’t a lot of notes taken as it would be difficult to describe the processes step-by-step as he was doing them. The audience went along for the journey through these processes, and we could see how Matt used Framemaker to include of rich media. Matt showed us how one can place videos, flash components, and other multimedia into Framemaker docs. He also showed us how to integrate these into the DITA map, and how a PDF document can be produced for both print and interactive versions. One of the best examples Matt showed us was  how 3D models can be used in Framemaker documents in addition to control tables. Matt explained that the beauty of the ability to add rich media to documentation is that it’s all about the single-sourcing features to be able to integrate the rich media.  The other part of what makes it optimal is that rich media can be saved to online formats. He stressed that rich media can be used in unstructured Framemaker as well as structured Framemaker.

Matt has also done several Adobe webinars covering much of the information presented in this presentation and more. As a refresher, he offered a 45-minute demo with the details found at http://wp.me/p1KX8V-4P, which is also available on his blog at http://mattrsullivan.com.

While it was a little difficult to cover and summarize this presentation (no fault of Matt’s–he did an excellent job), as I said before, this was something new for me to experience at an Adobe Day.  I learned not only about how to include multimedia objects in Framemaker specifically, but Matt was also showing how valuable rich media can be when used correctly and methodically in almost any kind of documentation and content out there, which is really the more important part of the bigger picture. As technical communicators, we need to remember that we don’t have to be limited by text and stand-alone images.

(Matt, if you need to correct anything I’ve said here or would like to add anything, please feel free to add in the Comments section!)

Next in the Adobe Day -Lavacon 2013 coverage: Val Swisher’s presentation.

(Yes, I’m going backwards with how everything was presented. Why? Because I can. 🙂 )

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Everything’s Coming Up Roses! : Why I’ll be going to Adobe Day at Lavacon 2013

Ethel Merman can't wait to go to Adobe Day at Lavacon 2013--and she's been gone almost 30 years!
Ethel Merman can’t wait to go to Adobe Day at Lavacon 2013–and she’s been gone almost 30 years!

A little more than a month from this writing, Adobe will be hosting an Adobe Day event at the 2013 LavaCon Conference on Social Media and Content Strategies. It will feel a little sentimental for me, because I felt like I had come into my own when attending the same event last year. I remember my excitement at hearing all the speakers and learning so much information from them as a newly-minted technical communicator. All the information that I soaked in during last year’s Lavacon Adobe Day was put to good use, as I was able to use the information when speaking at interviews when I was job searching. I’m confident that the information I learned at the event helped me get the job I have right now.

Now, I’m excited that Adobe is bringing the event back to Lavacon this year.  I think I’m just as excited as last year, to be honest! Having now attended two Adobe Day events (the other being the one at the 2013 STC Summit), I know I’m in for a great time.

AdobeDayLavacon2013AdAdobe has adopted a theme around the location of the Lavacon Adobe Day, namely around Portland, Oregon’s nickname of “The City of Roses.”  I got to thinking about this, and it seems totally appropriate.  If you think about it, technical communicators are the gardeners and landscapers of content and technical communication. We need to sow and care for our documentation as if they are our gardens and plants.  I know that I grow with each event with my own knowledge, and that’s why I like attending them.

And how is it that we describe growing roses? I believe the expression is that roses are “cultivated”, which implies to me that they aren’t just grown, but they are carefully tended to, bad stuff weeded out, and they are pruned until they are just right, much like technical communication should be.  If these steps are done correctly, diligently, and thoughtfully, rose plants should bloom in full.  The same applies to our documentation–our gardens! The speakers at Adobe Day will be helping us learn the tools and methods we need to make our “gardens” grow!

I’ve seen many of the speakers listed for the event before, speaking about different topics. They always have fantastic insights. I’m also looking forward to seeing some other presenters that I haven’t heard from before.  The great thing about Adobe Day events is that isn’t never the same thing twice.  Topics change and shift with the times, and the talks reflect of that reality.  World-class experts helping us all learn how to make our “gardens” grow on a global scale? Priceless.  The fact that the event is FREE and that it’s not a big info-mercial for Adobe is an added bonus. Adobe makes a very concerted effort to make sure that the event is topic-centric, not software endorsement-centric.  Their goal is to help technical communicators grow in knowledge, and the thought leadership they gather for each of these events are top notch.  Who wouldn’t want to go to something like that?

As I said earlier, I feel that I grow each time that I attend an Adobe Day event.  I’ve already seen how it has helped open my mind, and that knowledge has given me a boost both in job interviews and in the workplace.  I bring back the best ideas to help me not only grow my own career, but to also help the company I work for grow with the times as well.  The last thing any company needs is to be in the weeds, and these talks definitely help with the weeding process of what best practices are to be used. The best ideas are cultivated and presented to us!

So, if you are going to Lavacon this year, or if you are going to be in the Portland, Oregon area on the morning of October 20th, I strongly encourage you to attend this great event. I’ll definitely be there in full force, and I’ll be covering the event live through my Twitter feed as well.

If you do decide to go, be sure to register at the link below, so they know you are coming. They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but that’s included in the event, too, so sign up here:
http://adobedayatlavacon2013.campaignsandevents.com/

See you there!

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Recap of the Adobe Day “Coachella” – Tech Comm Rock Stars abound!

KSM ROTHBURY packing up 5Adobe Day at the 2013 STC Summit was really great. It took me a while to digest all my own notes and relive the moments promoting the rock stars of tech comm. But like all good music festivals, the “Coachella” of tech comm had to end, but with great memories of fantastic information that will stay with me for a long time. Hopefully you enjoyed this “magical mystery tour” as well!

There were several people from Adobe that were truly instrumental in making this event a success, but I have to “give it up” for the two Masters of Ceremony of the event, Saibal Bhatacharjee and Maxwell Hoffmann.

Saibal
Saibal Bhattacharjee

MaxwellHoffmann
Maxwell Hoffmann

So many people know them from the Adobe TCS webinars, blogs, and other social media outlets. I know they’ve been two of my greatest supporters, so I want to thank them for inviting me to the event, and as always, making me feel welcome both during Adobe Day, as well as during the STC Summit.

If you missed my series for this Adobe Day event, here’s a recap, so you can relive the day yourself:

 macca

Maybe I’m Amazed I met this Tech Comm legend…

 Jagged+Little+Pill

How does that jagged little pill of content strategy go down?

 Peter-Fonda-and-Dennis-Hopper-in-Easy-Rider

Get your motor runnin’…Head out on the [mobile] highway…

 Coldplay2

XML Metrics are the Coldplay of the Tech Comm World

 coachella

If Tech Comm had its own Coachella, how would it be done?

I hope you’ve enjoyed all the articles. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to comment below!

The next time there is an Adobe Day near you, or if you have the opportunity to go to one, I strongly encourage you to go! I’ve now been to two of them, and both were different.  It’s amazing to see how perspectives change on the “hot” issues of tech comm in a mere few months! I was glad to hear from leading experts on the pressing topics of the day. And I have to say, I’ve learned so much from both visits. I can honestly say, as well, that both provided information that were applicable to my job, even as a new technical communicator.  Keeping up with current trends in technical communication is important, because technology is changing fast, and technical communicators need to keep up with not only the technology itself, but the needs that new technology presents. Adobe does a nice job of bringing the best thought leadership from around the globe to talk about these issues  for free. How can you pass that up?

Thanks again, Adobe, for an amazing opportunity to attend this free event!

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Adobe Day – BYOT

See on Scoop.itM-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications

Danielle M. Villegas‘s insight:

I like the idea of a BYOT–Bring Your Own Thoughts–as the theme of Adobe Day at the 2013 STC Summit. I’ll be there, and definitely bringing my own thoughts! 

 

(Although I had hoped that the "T" stood for tequila, since Adobe Day is on Cinco de Mayo–a great idea for a fiesta. Oh well…probably tequila at 8:00AM might not be a good idea… 😉 )

–techcommgeekmom

See on www.campaignsandmedia.com