Open the Door: Inviting Users to Contribute - Dinner Program

  • 19 Nov 2014
  • 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM (EST)
  • The Hilton Garden Inn, Burlington, MA


  • Not a member of the New England Chapter
  • Student members of STC get this special rate

November 19th Program:

Open the Door: Inviting Users to Contribute to the Online Help

with Joshua Breault and Patty Gale, Autodesk

Dinner program registration is now closed.

Open the doorWe produced PDFs and HTML Help for annual releases of our software, but did anyone read them? Who accessed the help? How did they get there? Did users have questions about our help? Suggestions? Examples to share?

With no way to answer these questions, we embarked on a journey to move our online help system to a wiki. Our goal: To engage our users, building a community where users can ask and answer questions, add their own content, and even (gasp!) edit existing help topics.

The result? For the first time ever, we engaged in daily conversations with our users, analyzed metrics to measure and monitor their usage of the help, and improved the quality of our help content using their direct input with fast turn-around times.

Learn how we moved our Technical Publications output from HTML Help to the exciting world of WikiHelp. Hear about the challenges we encountered along the way and what we learned from our users. See how we refined our approach over time, carrying forward the best parts of this experience.

This presentation will be especially valuable if your organization is considering a similar move to wiki-based help or another online platform that allows user engagement. If your organization is already doing this, please come and share what you have learned, so the group can benefit from our combined experiences.

Joshua BreaultAbout Joshua Breault
As a content engineer/production specialist for a learning content team at Autodesk, Josh Breault creates state of the art end-user documentation deliverables for highly technical design software. He is involved with the entire documentation production process from initial project setup within the content management system (CMS) to the production and release of the final output. Areas of focus include: the production of single-sourced DITA XML-based technical end-user documentation for use in multiple online and offline formats; DITA; social/community learning and collaboration; and web analytics.

About Patty GalePatty Gale
As a learning content developer for a technical writing team at Autodesk, Patty Gale is involved in many aspects of the design, development, and production of learning content for 3D modeling software. As the information architect and content strategist for her team, she develops and maintains guidelines for the migration of help content from a book-based orientation to a DITA-compliant framework. A technical communicator for over 25 years, Patty has worked at businesses all sizes, from small start-ups to large corporations. Whether the sole writer or part of a larger team, Patty enjoys learning new technologies and determining the most effective way to share important information with users. She has received multiple awards from her employers and STC competitions, including an International Award of Distinguished Technical Communication. In a presentation at the STC Summit 2014, she described her team's service-oriented approach to working in an Agile environment. Patty holds Bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science and Business Management.

Image attribution: Door image designed by chiccabubble from

Registration Information

Dinner registration closes at 6 pm on Monday, November 17.    

If you miss this deadline, call Cindy Cookson at 978-828-5586. If there is any way to accommodate you, she will work it out!

Dinner program cancellations that are received by 6 pm on Monday, November 17, will be fully refunded. Dinner program cancellations received after 6 pm Monday, November 17, generally will not be refunded unless Cindy can work something out.

If you have any questions about registering guests, please feel free to email

© STC New England
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software