Friday, October 26

Danielle Villegas

Keynote: What is Experience to a Technical Communicator?We all have experiences, but how does one define an experience? How do different professions approach the idea of creating an experience? We’ll look at the common elements of what makes good experiences and bad experiences, and how we can apply those foundational elements to different aspects of technical communication.

Danielle M. Villegas will discuss lessons learned from writing her blog, TechCommGeekMom, and other relatable events in her career. Her insights are sure to help technical communicators expand their perspectives.
Kelly Schrank

Engineering Your Networking ExperiencesAs professional communicators, we are adept at researching audiences and topics, preparing for document launches, and crafting what will be written in our documentation. So why don’t we use these skills when attending events where will be opportunities to network? Come to this session to gain a new perspective on networking, use your skills to make the most out of the networking opportunities, and learn tactics for engineering your own networking experiences for maximum effectiveness and enjoyment. This session will provide advice and experience from an introvert who has researched this topic, used these tactics, and enjoyed (almost) every minute of it!

Jody Zolli

Balancing the Equation: Doing More Than Documentation


Technical writers can be negatively affected by the unequal dependence they have on their subject matter experts: they often see us as a drain on their time and energy. But we can do so much more than write. In this presentation I'll explore ways that technical writers can collaborate with and contribute to the teams they work with to become more valued members of the organization.

Karen Giventer

Job Search Open Discussion

Questions about a tough job-search situation? Interview woes? Salary negotiating hassles? Job here now, gone tomorrow? We’ve all been there. Karen Giventer is a career contractor and frequent presenter on the topic of Job Searching. In this open discussion, Karen will facilitate group discussion about any aspect of Job Searching that the group would like to discuss. In past discussion programs, Karen has found that the “group think” mentality has brought forth a wealth of ideas about handling difficult job search issues. In this session, we will tap into the experience of the group to solve even the stickiest issues. Karen will also present some job search “tips and tricks” and will answer questions from her own experience and point-of-view. Come with questions, leave with ideas and answers!

Cindy Currie

Press Play! The Power of Personal Energy Management


Managing your personal energy, both professionally and personally, is key to getting your life in order and performing well without feeling depleted when you’re done. We all have an personal energy rhythm that lends itself to performing well during periods of peak energy buffered by periods of rest and renewal—yes, like a cell phone battery, we all need to fully recharge. Come learn about how to manage your personal energy in ways that foster increased capacity and high performance! Engineer your own high-energy experience!

Stan Doherty, PhD

Love It or List It: Obstacles to Staying in DITA


While DITA was the new kid on the block in terms of XML publishing, most discussions about it focused on migrationbusiness justifications, training, conversions, content management, localization, and so forth. It's been 13+ years since DITA 1.0 was released as a standard and some of the early adopters of DITA are under pressure to consider alternatives to it. In this presentation Stan will provide an overview of the competitive technical and business pressures faced by DITA teams and then suggest a model for a team to decide whether they should extend the life of their current DITA implementation (love it) or develop an exit strategy (list it). 

Lisa Hodge

Experiences that Drive Results


Every day, humans learn by observing and imitating. How do we use this type of social learning to our advantage as we instruct or educate others? Through experiences! As we think of the learning environment of our customers, our co-workers, and even our families, we can (and should!) create and shape experiences to develop and shift beliefs, so that we can drive actions and ultimately, the results we want. Lisa will share examples (some successful, some not) that span her career as a technical communicator, trainer, and learning and development professional. She will provide tips for creating workplace experiences, including behaviors and actions as well as our work products, to positively influence outcomes in your career, business, and personal life.

Liz Fraley

Getting the Most Out of TC Camp (or any other volunteer-driven event)

Liz talks about what inspired her to start TC Camp (, the tech comm unconference. How she found people to help as TC Camp got off the ground. Learn what TC Camp offers writers and what everyone can bring to TC Camp. (It’s not what your TC Camp can do for you, it’s what you can do for your TC Camp). Ask questions about the next TC Camp and how you can volunteer or contribute!

What is TC Camp, you ask? TC Camp is an unconference focused on Technical Communications issues, skills, challenges, and the various applications used by technical communicators. The purpose of TC Camp is to provide a local conference for technical communicators that is driven by the members of that community—writers, editors, designers, and the people who support them.
Deborah Sauer

Sam Park

The Interplay of UX and Technical CommunicationUser experience includes every interaction people have with a company and its products...from opening the box to setting up and using the product. When it comes to using an app to interact with a product, the visual and written content on the screens must work together seamlessly to deliver a simple and delightful experience.

In this program, we'll learn how the partnership of technical communication and user interaction, from the early phases of development through product release, improves the user experience. We'll hear two perspectives from those in the trenches: a technical writer and an interaction designer at Sonos, creators of the leading whole-home sound system. They'll share how they've successfully collaborated on content in apps to create a better user experience. 
Andy Munro

Adding Video, Walkthroughs, and In-App Content to Your Content Strategy"As you develop a content strategy, what can you use beyond text and graphics? How about a short video to get the users’ attention and highlight where the documentation gives the full details? It’s not that hard to make a quick video with apps such as Camtasia from TechSmith, a sponsor of InterChange 2018. Embed the video in the app to keep users from leaving the app and getting lost in YouTube land. Some products also benefit from guided walkthroughs; they lead the user through the steps and track user success. This tracking provides feedback to the writing team and to developers. Another option is collaborating with the development team to add in-app content, such as tips, messages, and graphics that appear at the point of need.

This presentation will give many examples and practical tips for taking advantage of these options to help make your product a big success. "

Viqui Dill

#PowerOfStory - The cultural program that got me clicks


My current job is to do internal communications within my company for IT. It’s my job to help four thousand employees make friends with our programs, especially the much avoided Microsoft Office 365 suite of products. This presentation will explain how I was able to leverage our corporate #PowerOfStory program to engage employees online and help them get over the fear of change to be able to use the tools for content management and communication. 

Saturday, October 27

Lou Prosperi

Session 1: Imagineering and Technical Communication: A Match Made in DisneylandWalt Disney Imagineering is the division of The Walt Disney Company responsible for designing and building Disney theme parksengineering the magic that millions of experience each year at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and other Disney parks around the world. This presentation explores an "Imagineering Pyramid" of 15 theme park design principles, and how those principles can be applied to technical communication and information development to help us create effective and engaging experiences for our audiences.
 Session 2: Designing Your Experience the Walt Disney World WayFrom the moment you enter a Disney parkwhether it’s at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or other Disney resorts around the worldyou are immersed in an experience specifically designed to transport you to another world. In the words of Walt Disney, "Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy." But how does Disney create such incredible experiences? Through a process called Imagineering"the blending of creative imagination and technical know-how."

This presentation explores the process Disney's Imagineers use to design and build Disney parks and attractions, and how technical communicators can apply that same process when designing engaging and effective user experiences for our audiences. This session will also include an interactive workshop where we apply the Imagineering Process to an example experience offered by one of the attendees, so come prepared to participate and share your ideas.

Karen Giventer

The Contract Job Search: Finding the Contract that’s Right for You

Contract opportunities are an important aspect in job searching. Many roles are geared toward contracting, while other jobs are offered as contract-to-perm. No matter how contracting fits into your overall career goals, contracting may play a key role in your work life.

Karen Giventer, career contractor, presents a comprehensive session about the ins and outs of contracting. In this presentation, Karen covers a variety of topics that can enhance your chances of landing, keeping, and extending contracts. The topics discussed in this presentation include:

  • Finding contract jobs
  • Working with Staffing Agencies
  • Helping Staffing Agencies help you
  • Interviewing effectively for contract positions
  • Negotiating rates
  • Where are rates now????
  • Extending contracts or converting to full-time employment

Liz Fraley

The Future is Decided by Your Actions Today


How do you prepare for the future when you don’t know what’s there? Do you buy this tool? Go to DITA? Take this class? Adopt UI/UX practices? Will a grand, sweeping execution of committed action guarantee your place in the future? Where does the future come from? What do you have to understand to get where you want to go? Every day we make decisions and take actions. Hundreds of them. Each and every one has an impact on the future. In this session, learn how to look into the future and see the steps it takes to get you where you want to go. Learn how to break things down so that when you’re faced with a new situation, a decision you’ve never had to make before, you’ll be able to handle it. Learn how to rapidly adopt change while still setting your own pace. Learn that you can deliver the standard and quality you do now even if you have to go through change. Let’s look into your future and take steps today that will help you get to your future destination. 

Steven Jong

Writing and Working Across the Generations


The days of thinking of your audience, or your coworkers, as anything like you are over. Today the two largest generations in history coexist in the market and the workforce—sometimes uneasily—across a wide divide of experiences, outlooks, and expectations, with a third generation squeezed in the middle. How do these generations differ as audiences, colleagues, and leaders? How do you write for, team with, and report to people with such distinctly different skills and values? This presentation will increase your understanding of generational theory, the shared experiences of each generation, and typical personas. Steve will offer specific, practical, and constructive advice based on research, surveys, and experience. No matter your generation, you will come away with valuable information.

David Payne

Analytics Can Change Your World

With an ever-present need to prove value to the organization, I found myself struggling to get the data I needed to put together an argument based on fact, rather than anecdotes. In this session, I’ll take the anecdote of my situation and show how analytics enabled my team to pull forward, enable process change and succeed. Over the course of the session, I’ll delve into three primary questions and propose where you’ll find some answers.

  • What are some of the metrics you might want to find?
  • What are your baselines?
  • What happens if the data doesn’t tell you what you expected?

Bobbie Carlton

Engineering Inclusive Experiences: Getting More Women on Stage

What does it take to become a thought leader? To be seen as the expert or the authority in your field? What will it take to get that next promotion? Or a new job? Or a board seat? Often, nothing more than the willingness to speak up and share your thoughts and experiences in public. Employers have always valued the employee who speaks well. Public speaking is, and always will be, an important skill, and well worth developing.

Meanwhile, women are receiving a tiny fraction of the available venture funding, pay equity is stalled and the C-suite is still predominately male. Public speaking can be the path to these successes.

Are you tired of sitting through yet another DAMP (Dreaded All Male Panel)? Your story will never be heard sitting in the audience. Being onstage is powerful but the issue with many women is that they don’t know how to get there. We give you the tools you need to get onstage and be heard!

Neil Perlin

Creating Responsive Layouts with MadCap Flare


Flare’s responsive output features let you create one output that automatically adjusts to the device on which it’s displayed—monitor, tablet, or phone—and boosts the efficiency of your Flare work. The Skin Editor is Flare’s best-known responsive output feature but there are others. In this presentation, we’ll look at one of them, the Responsive Layout Editor that lets you create content whose format shifts from horizontal to vertical as the screen gets smaller. It’s a powerful feature but sometimes confusing due to its use of a virtual grid and div tags in the CSS. This presentation will eliminate that confusion.

We’ll look at:

  • The Responsive Layout Editor
  • The 12-column virtual grid
  • Setting properties through div tags in the Stylesheet Editor

We’ll end with a live demo so that you can see the results of this work.

John Garison

Making Agile Work For You v5.0


The software development world has taken to Agile in a big way, but many technical communicators are less than enthusiastic about it. It doesn’t have to be that way – there are benefits and advantages for us too if we know where to look and how to use them. Whether you work in a startup or a megacorp, at a breakneck pace or something more glacial, you can adapt Agile to improve your ability to track your projects, gain control of your tasks, and even leverage developers to review your content.

This presentation provides an insider’s perspective on a successful, real-world, long-term, enterprise-wide agile implementation. You'll get an overview of the Agile development methodology—history, terminology, meetings, activities—with a special focus on how technical communicators can leverage all that Agile offers to their benefit. We’ll examine agile meetings to see why they are important, what they accomplish, and how to use them to your advantage. We’ll look at what it’s like to be a technical communicator creating documentation in an agile environment, and provide suggestions about ways to change agile and agile tools so that they work better for everyoneincluding you. Along the way we’ll clear up misconceptions, confront problem situations, and provide guidelines for success.

Chuck Campbell

Engineering Better Training Experiences through Innovative Presentation Techniques and Technologies

Many of you have presented at meetings and conferences. When you present, you typically have slides of some sort to present to the audience. Although some of your slides may contain simple animations or videos, most are probably static slides with text and graphics and are typically not interactive. But, what if you could create an interactive presentation and turn any white board, screen, or even a blank wall into a smart board to engage the audience?

In this session, you will learn how to:

  • Create interactive presentations using advanced presentation software features
  • Use relatively inexpensive technologies to transform your static slides into interactive presentations
Kenzie Woodbridge

Everyone's a Player (in a mid-90s MUD)>N You have found a secret room in the castle! You gain 26 xp.

You enter a large interior space with stone walls and a high stone ceiling. Torches flicker in wall brackets. A large self-referential tapestry hanging on the north wall shows a guild workshop full of happy weavers busily weaving the very tapestry in which they are depicted. There are exits to the east, west, and south.

Linden, another player, is here.
Gwyrian, another player, is here.

>say Hi
You say “Hi”

Gwyrian says “Hey! Do you want to explore this area together?”

Linden attacks you with a critical hit from their sword!

You are dead!

Other people: sometimes difficult to work with and often impossible to predict. In your technical or documentation project, how can you get the right people interested and involved? How can you keep those people happily engaged until the work is done? Is there anything you can do to prevent griefing… err, “interpersonal difficulties” from causing delays? And why do some people seem to thrive in an environment with poor documentation and how can you encourage them to participate in effectively documenting everything anyway?

In this talk, I’ll explore ways to accomplish these aims, using strategies drawn from “Player Type Theory”. For 20 years, this theory has been employed by game designers to encourage stable long-term play communities in online multiplayer games. These are strategies that I have used successfully in my workplace and they can work for you too.
Brett Peruzzi

Building Bridges Between Marketing and Technical Publications Teams"

One common myth in the corporate world is that technical publications and marketing departments are often fundamentally at odds with each other. Some technical writers believe marketing publications are too adjective-laden and prone to hyperbole, while some marketing writers think technical publications are too dry and factual. But both groups have much to gain from each other. Learn how you, as a technical writer, can develop and expand your skill set in the marketing domain, and increase both your value as an employee and your career options.
Bernard Aschwanden

Create once. Publish many.

We've heard that in technical communication the ideal workflow is one where managers, developers, writers, and consumers work together to create 'perfect' content to solve business problems. It's tricky to identify all the pieces and make it work. See it live and participate in it during this session!

This interactive session has you, the audience, help guide the plan for product documentation (what goes into it, how it is organized), and then you continue to participate as the presenter works feverishly to ensure your ideas are captured, content is created and approved, and it is published to multiple outputs. See the scramble, and the solutions, to getting "just-in-time" content out the door. We'll publish to PDF, HTML5, and a few other formats as well.

Participate and be a moving part of a documentation project that comes together to create content in a shared workspace, with collaboration between teams, and quality finished materials delivered the way the audience wants them. On time, on budget, and on any device!

Sponsored by Adobe.

Doug Gorman

Microsoft Word and DITA: Zombie Apocalypse or Enterprise Love Fest?More than a billion enterprise authors use Microsoft Word. Way less than 1% of that number use an XML editor. “We hate Word because it is out of control,” says the tech pubs manager. “We love Word and everyone uses it,” says the enterprise executive. “Your people need to learn DITA and use an XML editor,” says the tech pubs manager. “We’ve got jobs to do and use Word,” says the enterprise executive. In this session we will examine love and hate from both perspectives. We’ll talk about the benefits of the XML architecture that is coming to your enterprise. We will talk about efficiencies of information reuse and single source publishing at the enterprise level. We’ll discuss the needs of information consumers who want just enough of the right information, at the right time, on their device of choice, in their language of choice. We’ll see if the love your organization will have for better content for your information consumers and saving money can avert the DITA Zombie Apocalypse.
© STC New England
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software