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Online Help Conference 2003
SEATTLE - One of the longest running conferences dedicated to user assistance professionals opened its 11th incarnation here in February. While the economy caused a hit in attendance, the content was as stellar as ever.
Still, more than 400 people made their way to the Seattle Sharaton, long the conference's home, to hear some of the top names in user assistance skills and technologies share their knowledge. Opening the conference this year was Jeff Johnson, author of the book GUI Bloopers: Don'ts and Do's for Software Developers and Web Designers.
As usual, the conference offered sessions for user assistance professionals at all levels. Many beginners took advantage of the LaunchPad program, a series of sessions designed to improve key core skills, with mentors to guide program members to appropriate sessions and answer any questions. I tended to hit many of the advanced sessions, focusing on new tools and technologies. The sessions I attended (with speakers):
As you might have noticed, I had to skip some sessions. This is not uncommon at this conference; there is so much good content it is impossible to get to everything. (And one session was a substitute for a canceled sessions, another case where I would have had to make a choice.) Fortunately, all conference attendees receive complete proceedings with all speakers' slides.
Probably the biggest news that came out of the conference was something that Microsoft announced just a few weeks earlier: development on the Help technology they had announced 2 years earlier, Microsoft Help 2.0, was ending. There was little insight and only a few clues about how Microsoft will fill that void, but we were told it'll be part of the next OS iteration.
The other news was that the conference won't be in it's home of Seattle next year. After a 2-year foray down the Left Coast (to San Diego and Santa Clara) and a 2-year return to its home, the conference is again heading south. The dates and location will be announced after arrangements have been finalized.
All content Copyright © 2002-3 Chuck Martin