Sample the Summit Session Buffet

By James Bousquet

As always, this year’s Summit session buffet holds a rich variety of offerings. Editing, graphics, structured authoring, docs-as-code, usability, accessibility, DEI, career tips, management tips—whatever facets of tech comm you’re into, there’s plenty of variety to satisfy your individual palate.

Even though we each have our own unique set of specialties and interests, if you’re like me, you’ll still find it difficult to choose which session to attend in each time slot. (Tip for first timers: when you review the program before the conference, be sure to make a note of your second choices in case you find yourself at a session that isn’t quite what you thought. It happens—and don’t worry, switching sessions isn’t rude.)

Sometimes I can get a different perspective on something that I think I already know. Some topics are about things that I see a need for at my office. Others I simply find interesting personally, and I’m curious to learn more about them. And some are both.
One such topic for me is REST API documentation. I used to be a software developer, and things have changed substantially since then. I’ve seen API docs that I think are well done. But strangely, I’ve never had the opportunity to work on an API documentation project. That could very easily change at my current company, and I’d like to be ready. So besides my other online learning on this, I’m looking forward to “What is OpenAPI? How Writers Can Use OpenAPI for Documentation” (Robert Delwood; Monday 2–2:45 p.m.). The OpenAPI Specification has been around for more than a decade now, and the same tools that implement it, the most well-known being Swagger, can also generate the documentation. I’m keen to pick up any nuggets about the advantages—and any possible pitfalls.

Another session I plan to attend is “How to Make the Business Case for Documentation” (Caity Cronkhite; Wednesday 10–10:45 a.m.). As technical communicators, we’re passionate about how our work contributes to the customer experience and, consequently, to our companies’ success. And as someone who has moved around a fair bit over their career, I (and perhaps many of you) have experienced companies that seem to undervalue, or at least underinvest in, documentation projects. Unless we work for a documentation company, the management focus is usually on the product, and unfortunately the documentation often isn’t thought of or treated as a part of that. This presenter is going to help us to see the issue from a strategic leader’s perspective and to create a business case in those terms, using real-life data tools and proven templates.

Towards the end of any Summit, I always feel reinvigorated and re-enthused to pursue things from my favorite sessions once I'm home. This year's edition is shaping up to be a repeat of that.

Ready to feed your tech comm appetite? Register for the STC Summit now!

Don't forget to reserve your discounted hotel room through the STC Summit site before the discount rate ends on 21 April!

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