The ups and downs of adopting DITA

In January 2016 Brunswick Corporation, parent company of Life Fitness, announced the acquisition of Cybex International. Two technical publication teams were now merged together. How would we function as one team and create documentation using the same tools? Cybex team members used DITA (Xdocs and Oxygen) to create their documentation. Life Fitness team members used InDesign. The Tech Pub Manager made the decision that we would all use DITA. The frustrations, struggles, and successes will be discussed by tech writers from both sides of the acquisition. Topics covered:

• Reactions / Attitudes to Acquisition

• Attitudes / Biases on Adobe InDesign vs DITA

• Struggles of Training / Adopting DITA

• Benefits and Sticking Points of Adopting DITA

• 2-Year Progress Report

What can the audience expect to learn?

This presentation will benefit those debating moving toward a content management system / DITA as well as those who are curious about how a merger and adoption of DITA can work. One side of the merger had to accept the decision to switch from using InDesign and learn how to create documentation using DITA and a content management system. Hopefully, the audience can avoid stumbling blocks we faced and implement practices that were successful for us.

Meet the presenter

As a Technical Writer at Life Fitness, Tina creates and illustrates installation and operation manuals while meeting tight deadlines. Her 10-year experience at Life Fitness allows her to provide guidance to Technical Publications staff on documentation and workflow processes. Tina holds a B.A. degree in English from Northern Illinois University.



As a Technical Writer and Illustrator at Cybex, Cameron creates assembly and owner’s manuals for both Strength and Cardio product lines. After 6 years at Cybex, 4 of them spent using DITA, he is able to work across multiple product lines providing technical documentation as well as illustrative support to other departments. Cameron holds a B.F.A degree in Graphic Design from Minnesota State University, Mankato.


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