Last week, I presented an evolved version of my "AI the docs!” talk. This time with the subtitle “Conversational UI, Embedded Help and Artificial Help. A fertile ground for minimalism and DITA" at CIDM's European DITA conference in Munich, 2016 November 14-15.

Video recording:

I started my talk from the same base concepts as my talk at Write the Docs Prague, but the structure was much better and there were several new insights that I think can be valuable if you are considering the space.

Bring Clippy back

In my talk I focussed on:

why teaching through conversation is back and why I believe this is the future of documentation, even if manuals will remain relevant and never completely go away.

3 trends that drive the need for AI in the documentation space

  • The single user context: a shift from “download and study the manual” towards a “stream and learn as you go” mode of action with a 1-user-context.
  • Flowing: a shift towards smaller chunks of content with more interaction possibilities.
  • Stigmergy: how groups can work together by embedding signals into their environment and become collectively smarter than any single one of their members.

6 technologies that can help support and documentation teams to start experimenting with the precursors of AI

  • Marketing personalisation (profile)
  • Graph databases (behaviour)
  • Minimalism / DITA (content)
  • Documentation as an API (delivery)
  • Messaging (bot)
  • Embedded docs (interruption model)



You can find the slides here.

Interested in how AI and new/rediscovered interaction models for software documentation could redefine technical writing and its deliverables? Check out the Artificial Intelligence blog post series!



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About the author

Kristof van Tomme

CEO, Co-founder

Kristof is a Drupal strategist and architect with a degree in bioengineering. He started his career as a technology manager. At Pronovix, the company he co-founded, he’s been focussing on Drupal since 4.7. Recently his interest in DITA and reusable, single source documentation have culminated in the WalkHub.net project, an open source project that aims to become the GitHub of website documentation.

He initiated and later became the co-organizer of an introductory Drupal course at the University of Szeged (Hungary). As a permanent member of the Drupal Association, he was at some point the lead for the selection task force for European Drupalcons and of the inaugural Nomination Committee. Among others, he was the initiator and (co-)lead of Drupalcon Szeged (2008), DrupalCXO Brussels (2010), Drupal Developer Days Brussels (2011) and Drupal Government Days (2011). Currently he is involved in the organization of the Write the docs unconference in Berlin (2014 July).