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 Van Tomme is an open source strategist and architect. He is the CEO and co-founder of Pronovix. He’s got a degree in bioengineering and is a regular speaker at conferences in the API, DevRel, and technical writing communities. For a few years now he’s been building bridges between the documentation and Drupal community. He is co-organiser of the London Write the Docs meetup, and cheerleader for the Amsterdam and Brussels Write the Docs meetup groups. This year he is working on a number of new initiatives to help API product owners learn from their peers (API the Docs and the API product owner masterminds).