Portion of the STC Summit Board Meeting to Be Open to the Public

A portion of the Board of Directors meeting is open to the public and will be in Camellia 3-4. The agenda for this public portion is as follows:

1:30-2:30 PM – Public portion of the meeting
1:30-1:45 PM – Welcome and introductions
1:45 PM – Consent agenda
1:45-2:15 PM – Committees, task forces, and chair approval
2:15-2:30 PM – Next steps for scholarship committee

Gain an Edge with These Sessions!

By Roger Renteria | Technology and Development Track Manager

Hi, STC Summit Attendees! I am excited to see everyone in Washington, DC in a couple of weeks. In order to help you pick your sessions, I’ve highlighted the following from the Technology and Development track. As track manager, my team and I helped choose some wonderful sessions that offer a wide variety of topics. I hope you enjoy the conference and learn some amazing tips and techniques that you can take home and implement in your workplace.

Section 508: Are You Ready for ADA Compliance Standards?

We all need a refresher on accessibility standards. Coming up in 2018, we will be facing stricter standards for people with disabilities, which for the first time will include all types of organizations. Earl Peters will help you understand the new compliance standards, which will begin about six months from now. Learn how you can prepare your organization for the newest ADA Compliance Standards.

A Tech Writer, A Map, an App

As technical writers, some of us may shy away from creating our own apps. We know creating an app is hard, but it doesn’t always have to be that way! Sarah Maddox will help guide us in learning how to create an app. As a speaker who has presented many times at STC Summits, Sarah will show us how easy it is to put ourselves on the edge and take the jump to easily create an app!

Creating a Free Intranet using Drupal

You can’t beat free, and if you have limited budget funding, creating an intranet that your organization can use will help you collaborate with your co-workers. Kelly Simon will share with us a case study about how two technical writers and a systems administrator designed and built an intranet using internal resources. Her presentation showcases how we can gain the edge using free tools and without spending too much money to implement a system for internal corporate communication.

User Experience Strategies for Winning API Documentation

API is still hot, and while we’ve showcased API documentation at past Summits, this presentation takes a different approach: the user experience. A question that pops up a lot is “How can we make API documentation better for our users?” Eric Cressey will share practical advice for working with API documentation teams and tips for creating a great user experience.

Design and Testing Sessions to Give You the Edge

By Michael Opsteegh | Design & Testing Track Manager

As you plan your STC Summit schedule, I highly encourage you to check out the variety of sessions offered in the design and testing track. These sessions were hand-picked from many excellent proposals for the Summit, and they were selected specifically to help you “Gain the Edge to Get Results.” The design and testing track offers sessions that target new technical communicators, as well as sessions intended to advance seasoned professionals. Here’s a sample of sessions that are on my must-see list:

  • Walk in Your Customer’s Shoes—Learn the Art of Journey Mapping. Journey maps help us clarify the needs of users, identify their pain points, create targeted content, and advocate for interface improvements. This interactive session will teach you how to create journey maps—either with your product team or on your own. You will also learn how to apply the journey map process to targeted content. Read more.
  • Gamification of Instructional Design. This session focuses on the role of “play” in online learning by exploring design-thinking methods and tools that you can use to engage your learning communities in “play.” Participants will be able to experiment with these methods and tools, and actualize “play” using Learning Battle Cards—a deck of playing cards designed to inspire and facilitate a variety of instructional design and development methods. Read more.
  • Prototypes of Use: Adapting Content to the Usability Expectations of Different Contexts. This session discusses how the cognitive psychology concept of prototypes can be used as a method to understand expectations of usability in different contexts and adapt content to user needs across a range of settings. In so doing, the presenter will walk attendees through applications of this approach in different settings. Read more.

You can find the complete list of sessions and start building your schedule by going to https://summit.stc.org/schedule.

See you in DC!

Writing and Communication that Gets Results!

By Li-At Rathbun | Writing and Communication Track Manager

If you are looking to Gain the Edge at the Summit by improving your writing and editing, here are a few sessions to consider in the Writing and Communication track:

  • What if attending Summit 2017 could save your company thousands of dollars? If your company translates its documents, what you learn from Adam Jones’s session might do just that! In Avoiding the $36 Comma: Clever Editing Strategies Can Reduce Translation Costs, the COO of a localization-services company explains some secrets of localization pricing and shares concrete tips for reducing your translation costs.
  • As an editor, what happens when your writers don’t speak English as their first language? That’s the question Jessica McCaughey addresses in her session, Edits as ESL Teaching: Working with Multi-lingual Writers. When editors understand how language learning really happens, they can use the editing process to help multi-lingual writers substantially improve as communicators—beyond just completing the writing projects. This workshop provides practical techniques for helping multi-lingual writers improve their writing skills through an editing process that focuses on what you and your company truly value in writing.
  • One woman’s personal nightmare with battling cancer—and her attempts to understand the technical concepts and terminology told to her for her medical diagnosis and treatment options—led to Learning Styles and the Cancer Experience. Debbie Kerr, a 5-year breast cancer survivor and 30-year technical communicator, combines her insights as a cancer patient with existing research on learning styles to offer options for how we can more effectively communicate medical information to patients. While this session focuses on cancer and medical information, it can help any technical communicator who struggles with delivering information to an audience that isn’t clearly defined and is made up of people with various learning styles.
  • The technical editing field is changing rapidly. So say Dr. Laura Palmer and Dr. Susan Lang, and I doubt anyone contradicts them. For many editors, it’s no longer only about using proofreader marks to edit text by hand. At Summit 2015, Drs. Palmer and Lang discussed some of the challenges and opportunities facing those who train and those who hire editors. Whether you attended that session or not, you’ll want to attend the sequel—Technical Editing for the 21st Century: Reconsidering Competencies in Academic Offerings. It further illuminates issues that academics face in training future editors, and it explores how companies can best incorporate into their work environment and products the new competencies that recently graduated editors possess.
  • According to Becky Todd, you can create excellent documentation through crowd-sourcing. Wait; what?! Crowd-sourced documentation—where developers, product managers, and other non-technical communicators contribute content—is becoming more and more common. In her Engineering Content Champions presentation, Becky Todd lays out the rules for success and explains how this culture shift can result in enriched end-user documentation.

Gain the Edge in Your Career at the 2017 STC Summit

By Jamie Gillenwater | Career & Leadership Track Manager

I am excited about the sessions in this year’s Career & Leadership track for the STC Summit. The reviewers sorted through more than 50 session proposals in this track alone to bring amazing presenters and topics so you can Gain the Edge to Get Results!

If you have always dreamed of entering the world of independent contracting, check out Chris Hester’s “Tactics, Taxes, and Trust: Lessons from the Freelancing Front.” She shares her experience with lessons she learned the hard way so you can learn the same lessons the easy way.

Alisa Bonsignore will give additional business tips tailored for introverts in her “Introverted Entrepreneurship: Leverage Your Strengths to Build a Successful Business” session. She addresses the differences between introverts and extroverts, along with how introverts can use their traits for success.

If you are ready for your next career move, consider “To Manage or Not to Manage: That is the Career Path Question” with Meredith Kramer. She challenges attendees with questions as they work through the decisions for moving toward or away from a management opportunity.

If you aren’t ready for a big transition, but want to improve your day-to-day work, Kit Brown-Hoekstra shares her five ideas to do the right things well in “Productivity Hacks for Technical Communicators.” She discusses how to stop being busy and start being productive.

In her session, “We Stoop to Conqquer: Adjusting to Mediocrity,” Li-At Rathbun explains that there are times when we must do the best we can with what we have. Her session will include opportunities for attendees to share their experience from the trenches!

The STC Summit is the place to be if you are starting your own technical communication business, are ready to move into management, or just need some tips to make it through the work week. You are sure to meet fellow technical communicators who can help you find your path to career success.

To see the entire STC Summit schedule, go to http://summit.stc.org/schedule/. I look forward to seeing you there!