Here’s what we’ve been bookmarking and reading over the past month across the fields of content strategy, tech comm, UX and digital communications recruitment. This month we’ve been delving particularly into metadata and taxonomies.
We’d like to congratulate Documation on a great event, held recently in Paris (29-30 March).
CJ Walker attended, representing Firehead as an Adobe partner, along with other partner companies (left-right): Ray Gallon, Stefan Gentz and Toni Ressaire.
“Documation was a great opportunity to catch up on developing trends in information delivery and what the future holds for the content world. We’re moving from pure documentation to an era of big data and intelligent content. The future of information is on the line – and it will need the proper tools to address the customer needs of the future,” said CJ, a digital communications recruiter whose company has also branched out into training.
Firehead runs classroom training in Adobe FrameMaker (2017 release) with a two-day introductory course approved by Adobe Technical Communication. Online training will also be available from autumn 2017.
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For those working in information and content strategy, Documation 2017 promises to hold some interesting developments.
The event takes place in Paris later this month (29-30 March) and, for the first time, content strategists and information specialists will come together in a coordinated effort to understand, discuss and begin to define the future of information in light of Industry 4.0 (the trend towards so-called ‘smart factories’, which includes cyber-physical systems, cloud computing and the Internet of Things). Continue reading
This month we welcome Frances Gordon to our job Q&A series with professionals working in digital communications. Together with her business partner, Candice Burt, Frances runs an international content strategy and plain-language business, specialising in financial content including fintech. This is a fast-growing area and one we very much wanted to know more about.
Find out how to break into the field of plain language, what the job involves day to day, and Frances’s tips on how to skill up.
You can also read more job Q&As in our ongoing Interview with a… series.
What is your job title?
I am Director of Simplified, a content and plain-language consultancy and training firm based in the UK, Portugal and South Africa.
What does your job involve?
I manage consultants – and also consult – to financial services and fintech firms that want to simplify their communications. This involves everything from positioning statements and editorial guidelines to more technical aspects of content strategy. I also quality control the Simplified training course and train a few courses a year. It’s the best way of keeping in touch with our customers and more broadly with the financial services and fintech markets.
What background/skills do you need?
I have an academic background in Linguistics (theoretical and applied). I worked for a technology company for a few years, which gave me a good foundation in the more technical aspects of content. And having a lawyer business partner has inspired me to invest in developing my knowledge of laws and legal processes. (I’m often the only non-lawyer to be found at legal and compliance conferences and seminars.)
I also think my first-ever job was important: I developed adult education materials for entrepreneurial programmes running in the poorest parts of South Africa. This included loan schemes and gave me a very good foundation in communicating financial concepts in a user-centred way.
That said, I don’t think any of this background is essential. In my view, there are two essential qualities for this work:
- You enjoy getting to grips with complex concepts. You can’t do this job if you’re bored by terms and conditions or legal contracts. You need to have a real passion for understanding what other people might just skim over.
- You need to see the importance of clear financial and legal content – to companies, to people and to society as a whole.
What is the most challenging part of being a plain language consultant?
Having enough time to read and do everything I’d like to.
And what’s the best bit?
A belief that clarifying financial content is really important work that makes a difference in the world.
What advice would you give to someone trying to get into your area?
Get as much specialist financial and legal knowledge as you can as subject matter expertise is important in this field. And never be afraid to ask questions.
What is the rate of pay?
It’s hard to generalise. It depends on where you are, what field you’re in, your experience and so on.
Is there job mobility and security?
Yes – there are no signs of running out of financial or legal content that needs to be simplified! In fact, it seems to be increasing at a rapid rate. I think this applies wherever you are. That said, I believe that the innovations in using technology to better communicate financial information are increasingly to be found in emerging markets.
Any advice on training and development options?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’d like to double the number of Simplified training courses – and I also want to extend my involvement in fintech, especially initiatives promoting financial inclusion.
Do you have a motto/guiding principle when you work?
Frances Gordon’s 20-year career has focused on helping people to find, understand and use the information they need to make informed financial decisions. In 2005, she co-founded Simplified, a training and consultancy firm based in Johannesburg, London and Lisbon. Its services include communication and content strategy, content audits, plain-language rewrites of legal and other documents, and training. Frances has also held tenures at Siegel & Gale as Head of Content Strategy (EMEA) and Barclaycard as VP of Content Strategy. She can be found on Twitter @Simplified_UK and Linked In
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Rapid mobile app development (RMAD) platforms are on the rise, allowing non-programmers to create and build apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets. The applications for business are wide-ranging and can save on the often significant time and development costs of custom-coding.
If rapid DIY app-making still sounds a little scary, then join us this Wednesday 25 January at 13.00 ECT (19.00 Central European Time) and learn about one of these platforms – ViziApps – in our joint webinar with certified ViziApps trainer Neil Perlin of Hyper/Word Services. Neil has provided training and consulting for ViziApps since the company’s founding, and also provides our online workshop training series in Creating mobile apps without coding.
In the 1990s, a business had to have a fax number to show that it was a serious business. In the 2000s, it was a website. Today, more and more businesses have mobile apps to show that they’re serious about communicating and connecting with their customers.
A custom app for mobile lets you showcase your business, bring in new clients, maybe even add new revenue streams by connecting with the mobile business generation on iPhone, iPad, and Android-based smartphones and tablets.
Your business app can include an email link, make a phone call, link to a website, show a document or a graph, add information to a database or retrieve it from the database for display in the app – and more.
So, if you have ever wanted a customised mobile app but don’t have the budget…
Or you think you can’t do it yourself because you don’t know how to code…
…then let us introduce you to a transformational new online tool that helps you develop your own app with no coding required.
Come join us for a free webinar by Firehead and Hyper/Word Services. We’ll give you an one-hour overview of how to build and develop your own mobile app through an online authoring tool called ViziApps. We review its capabilities, the process, and what you need to do to set yourself up to create and even sell your own apps.
Join the webinar
Wednesday 25 January 2017
13.00 East Coast Time
19.00 Central European Time
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to register.