Four years in and the MadWorld 2016 technical communication and content strategy conference is proud to be among the leading educational events for technical writers, documentation managers and content strategists around the world. Taking place on the shores of Mission Bay in San Diego, the stage is set for the main conference on Monday, April 11 and Tuesday, April 12. Not to mention, attendees can also take advantage of extensive workshops during the optional Advanced Training Workshop on Wednesday, April 13.

Lounge 14

The incredible lineup of hand-selected speakers and panelists is comprised of many of the industries' most revered experts and is after all what makes the conference so unique. This esteemed group of experts is eagerly awaiting the conference in April, and in the meantime is excited to share what they're most looking forward to. Why don't we get to know one of them, shall we?

Q&A: MadWorld 2016 Speaker Justin Brock

photo of Justin Brock

Justin Brock is the SEO Strategist at Bomgar Corporation. In his former role as technical writer, Brock developed a search engine friendly approach to MadCap Flare Webhelp targets and created an open source project (Flarestrap) which helped define the SEO requirements for webhelp built with Flare.

What was your favorite part of MadWorld 2015?

This will be my first time attending MadWorld and also my first time in San Diego! I'm really pumped about both firsts.

What makes MadWorld different from other industry conferences?

Given it’s my first time at MadWorld, I’m looking to the wide range of sessions and the extensive lineup of industry speakers and experts. That said, one thing that separates MadCap Software from its competitors is its focus. At MadCap, the focus of the entire company is on improving productivity for technical writers and content accessibility for their customers' customers. This focus lets them innovate in ways that competitive products just can't.

Tell us a little bit about your MadWorld 2016 sessions.

I have only spent about two years of the past decade as a technical writer. The rest of the time I've been in SEO, digital marketing, and product marketing. That outside experience gives me a little different angle and perspective when it comes to techcomm.

When I was a technical writer, I started a little project called Flarestrap. It was basically a webhelp target that used Twitter Bootstrap, some 301 redirects, and a certifiably crazy approach to Flare snippets to make a SEO-friendly webhelp with MadCap Flare. Most of the webhelp targets then used the tripane, which is really horrible for SEO. The Flarestrap approach got the content out of the tripane so Google could crawl it. My first session, "Case Study: Behind Bomgar’s Online Help: How We Used MadCap Flare to Improve SEO and User Experience", will cover this process.

A lot has changed since then. Now, Flare 11 bakes in capabilities that I was just hacking together back then. Many of the principles of findability are still the same, though. So we'll be talking about how to make your content findable before people get to your site (this is the SEO part). I'll also try to blow up everyone's concept of a Flare Snippet. And in my second session, "Building on Foundation: Layouts that Rock MadCap Flare Top Nav Advanced", we'll delve into ways to use analytics to measure how users interact with your web help... with real life examples from the Bomgar docs site.

Excluding your sessions, which MadWorld sessions will you be lining up for?

I will certainly check out Scott DeLoach's sessions: "An Introduction to CSS" and "Extending HTML5 Targets with jQuery". He got us off to a good start when we first moved to Flare from Word and InDesign. I've got to hear Robert Hays from eBay, too. Both his sessions, "Case Study: Using MadCap Flare in an Agile SDLC" and "The Ones and Zeros of Interfacing with Developers" look great. Other than that, I'm probably going to ride most of the advanced track.

Do you plan on doing anything fun (besides MadWorld, of course) while you're in San Diego?

Are you kidding! San Diego looks awesome! My wife may join me (for moral support, of course). When I'm not at the conference, we're going to explore the town... if she's not too sunburned.

MadWorld 2016 will be held at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa in Mission Bay, our largest venue to date, so we have to ask you a beach-related question. What’s your favorite seaside activity?

I love snorkeling. My son has tried to teach me skim boarding, too, but I'm not so great. I think I'll just stick to snorkeling.

Encinitas Pacific Shore View  Courtesy Joanne DiBona

Gearing up for his first-ever MadWorld, Justin Brock has the right idea - soaking up both the education and the scenery while in paradise is precisely what we would do too. And snorkeling is never a bad idea, especially when the Pacific is so warm. We get it. When you're coming all the way from Jackson, Mississippi, you want to take advantage of all that southern California has to offer.

For more MadWorld 2016 information be sure to check out our conference website. You’ll find details about the schedule, speakers and more. But don't delay - conference packages and tickets for the advanced workshop are limited. Reserve your spot today!

We hope to see you in San Diego in April!