In our 2017 DITA Satisfaction survey, we learned that many companies that have adopted the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) aren’t 100% satisfied with their DITA implementation. In fact, 62% of respondents report having problems—some major, some minor. 

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Common DITA Challenges

We asked survey respondents to rank their biggest DITA challenges.

Here are the top ten:

  1. Lack of a proper content reuse strategy
  2. Making DITA do what we need it to
  3. Lack of training designed to equip staff with knowledge/skills needed
  4. Understanding about how software works
  5. Developing style sheets and other rules for content
  6. Enforcing the rules for content
  7. Finding skilled and experienced employees
  8. Lack of understanding about how to create DITA content
  9. What to measure and how to measure it
  10. Translation challenges introduced by DITA content

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The Benefits of DITA

While the primary focus of the survey was to identify the level of satisfaction amongst organizations that have adopted DITA, it also uncovered the most often cited benefits. Not surprisingly, improvements in content consistency and content usability we the most common benefits reported by the 250 organizations that responded to the survey.

While translation savings was lower on the list of benefits than anticipated, that’s likely due to the fact that they survey did not segregate the respondents by the number of languages produced. It’s likely that amongst those companies that produce multilingual content using DITA, translation savings rank higher.

Overcoming DITA satisfaction challenges

If your organization uses DITA (or is planning to in the future) check out this useful and actionable series of articles from Rob Hanna, a DITA expert and a long-time member of the technical committee that manages the DITA standard. Rob has parsed the survey data and shared his views on how you might tackle some of the biggest challenges facing DITA users.

He’s organized his thoughts into three categories—skills development, technology issues, and management. And, he’s pointed out some important, often-overlooked factors for your consideration.

Getting a copy of the DITA Satisfaction Survey results

Our 2017 DITA Satisfaction Survey Report provides a high-level understanding of the top challenges facing technical communication teams that have adopted DITA. If you have not received a copy of the survey summary report (aggregate results for technical communication professionals working at 250 companies in 25 countries around the world), you can download your copy here.