Design & Testing Track at STC’s Summit

By Brenda Huettner (@bphuettner)

The design of information can make a big difference in how effective your information delivery will be, particularly in today’s multi-platform world. At this year’s summit, our Design and Testing track has some really fun and unique perspectives on how design informs technical communication, and how tech comm can in turn improve design.  For a great start, be sure to check out opening keynote speaker David Rose’s talk “The New Vanguard for Business: Connectivity, Design, and the Internet of Things.” An instructor and researcher at the MIT Media Lab, David will explain how we will all be designing experiences, not just creating new technologies.

Throughout the rest of the Summit, we’ve got talks that expand on this theme, taking you from the very beginning of the process (like Leah Guren’s Help Begins with the GUI: TC Meets R&D) through improving older, “finished” documentation (with Neil Perlin’s Preparing Legacy Help Projects for Responsive Design). There will be fun, light-hearted takes (From Fred Flintstone to George Jetson: Creating Tension In Training Increases Adoption from Viqui Dill) as well as more serious research-based presentations like Kirk St. Amant’s discussion of The Attention-Comprehension Gap: An Integrated Approach to Usability Testing and Design.

And that brings me to the second part of this track: testing. It really isn’t enough to just create information and throw it out there, we also need to make sure that our output meets our audience’s needs. Ideally, this will occur throughout the development process. Pamela Noreault will be talking with us about incorporating the Customer Experience into our tech comm strategy from the very beginning (Customer Experience (CX) – Come Join the Party). Yu-Quan Chiu will show us how he incorporated a focus on user testing and usability considerations throughout a project in An Extreme User-Centric Approach to Kiosk Writing. But even if your projects are out in the wild already, you can still learn some valuable testing techniques from Dave Bachman and Mandy Morgan’s session on how to Use Usability Testing to Enhance Your Documentation with Feedback.

Don’t forget to check the full schedule for additional topics and speakers. See you in Anaheim! #stc16