#Mlearncon Keynote: Karen McGrane: Wysiwyg is dead!


A really great keynote. Based on the description of the Keynote I assumed that she would speak on responsive design and stuff like that. But no, she addressed the real issue. We need a new paradigm for authoring! This is really what we as a vendor of an authoring tool are struggling with. The cool thing about this presentation was that I sort of knew all she was telling, but at the same time it is an eye-opener for me. I had all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle and she showed me the total picture. Things are falling into place for me. I think I can begin with solving the puzzle now.

What her story comes down too is that with the way we edit and mark up content still is like we are creating a paper document. We are creating pages with book like mark-up. But with the rise of the web and especially mobile, we no longer know what kind of device or platform our content has to show up on. This means several things.

We have to structure our content in a different way and we have to use semantic metadata. This means that we need to replace our current styling info with a meaningful mark-up. So not a ‘Heading 1’, but ‘most important title’. Not normal but ‘central message’ or something like that. The third thing is that we need to create content packages. For example the title of a piece, or the introduction need to have different versions (short, medium, long), so we can use the most appropriate one for the device the user has. The short one will be used for a smart phone, the medium one for a tablet. And finally our big challenge: a new authoring experience. At Easygenerator we moved away from the wysiwyg editor we had and went for a ‘Wysiwym’ (what you see is what you mean) approach. I knew this is the right direction, but at the same time I was having doubts, because our users are demanding Wysiwyg. She cleared my doubts, we just have to find the proper form for the authoring interface, a new paradigm.

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