Ballard Session 1

Ballard (MGH 284) - Session 1

Main Hackpad: InfoCampSeattle2017 

Title: Tactics for Making Deep Research Information Accessible to people who are Experts in Different Domains

Presenter(s): Group Presentations (Geoff Morris)


Official Notes:

What happens when information exists that you are unaware of... for example

Presenter’s organization has a lot of information that would be invaluable for people outside of their direct team/organization, but they don’t have a knowledge management team/person available to set up a system

Goal of session: if you had one or two people, what type of system could they set up? What strategies could be successful in his organization?

How are process documents shared currently? - Sharepoint and Wikis is used to share information, technical documentation is stored in Git repository, also uses markdown. Will need to write domain specifics 

One Idea: using software that determines reading level to see if documentation is accessible to non-technical people (for salespeople, for example). Wouldn’t solve the problem, but could identify problematic pages. 

Team uses personas to help inform how they approach writing documentation (who is this document for?) - though 90% of the documentation is not usable for anyone other than the developers who wrote it.

Impact of UAT (User Accessibility Testing) - 

Hard to keep up with it due to constant changes in the environment (changes in processes, permissions, etc)

How do you approach this in a Task Driven Development (TDD)? If our systems have this many components, TDD needs to include this as a part of the process (thinking about use cases, etc)

Working with a team in the Philippines required better documentation of use cases, which helped push the team towards developing documentation. Question of how much documentation to provide - for example, if they’re a team that is providing technical support, there are benefits to allowing this team to figure it out as they go (or have them write the documentation). 

How searchable are your sharepoint sites? Are there alerts that are sent out when something changes? 

From a government perspective:

When it comes to developers, we expect them to be unable to communicate to the general population - how to bridge the gap? When experts are communicating, sometimes it can alienate their audiences (or make them feel dumb)

Open City Apps - City of Chicago

Journals and Scientific information being Siloed - Question of Disciplines being able to interface

Good news on the API fronts - there are 3 only major API systems 

As technology progresses, there is more demand for information in the public. For example, information security - so much more knowledge is required now to safely protect your data. Making this (and other types of information) accessible to people of all skill levels is more important than every

Question of how much to dumb down documentation - finding the sweet spot of having sufficient documentation that is still accessible (and not insultingly simplistic) 

One idea is to have developers try to figure out something outside of their domain, to provide more perspective and empathy. Bring back what they learned to the process of developing documentation for their domain - what was helpful, what was frustrating, etc. 

Limitation of Wikis: having to learn another tool to share information. Can be intimidating for less technical people, adds more work to the task of sharing their information. 


Collaborative Notes:

This is in many ways a translation challenge: there has to be a way to alert the writers to update the documentation for each use case, when the master (detailed) information gets updated. Otherwise it’ll fragment and become inconsistent.

Would correctly reduce the language to a simpler level? It’s an automated tool that purports to convert standard English (including 30,000 scientific words) into basic English. [caveat: I haven’t tried this! No promises.]

Librarians--Wil Saunders is coordinating volunteers to organize metadata for government data. Reach out to him! I think it’s