December 2010

27 12 2010

 

 Inside this issue:





President’s Corner

27 12 2010

by Dalton Hooper
Orlando Chapter President

 

Still standing

For many of us in the Orlando chapter, it has been a tough few years. The economy tanked. Technical communicator jobs were few and far between; and of those few we were able to find, the wages were reminiscent of 15 years ago.

The STC at the society level has had to make some hard decisions to stay afloat. Many chapters have not survived.

But we are still standing.

Although we are not in the best financial shape we have ever experienced, there is every reason to believe that the Orlando chapter will not only survive, but thrive. Our bond with the next generation of STC leaders is strong. We are on the cusp of several new programs, benefits, and ideas that will propel us into the forefront. There is a reason the Orlando chapter has been designated a Chapter of Distinction five times.

We are fortunate to live in a community (central Florida) that appreciates the technical communicator role. We are privileged to have more than our share of current and past society-level leaders among us. Our mentorship program is a model for other chapters.

We have much for which to be thankful.

A new perk for Orlando chapter members

One of the more popular perks available to Orlando chapter members is access to various technical communicator job listings. Historically, all Orlando chapter members receive the job listings. In order to avoid overstuffing the inboxes of members who had no current interest in receiving them, the geographic scope was purposely limited to “Florida” or “telecommute” jobs only. The problem with this method is that some members only want to receive job listings for the central Florida area, some want to receive all job listings located in Florida – but not outside of Florida, some want to receive all job listings no matter the location, and some members do not wish to receive job listings at all.

I am pleased to announce that STC Orlando chapter members can now “fine tune” their job listings preferences. Members can now select from one of the following four preferences:

  • Do not receive any job ads at this time.
  • Receive only Central Florida job ads (includes telecommute jobs).
  • Receive all job listings for Florida (includes telecommute jobs) (Default).
  • Receive all job listings regardless of location.

You can update your member preference as often as desired.

In order to set your preference, simply visit the STC Orlando Chapter website at www.stc-orlando.org and go to the Employment page. Near the top of the Employment page, you will see the following banner.

And while you’re there, check out the updated list of Companies Using Technical Communicators in the Central Florida Area. As always, your feedback is appreciated. You can email me at president@stc-orlando.org.

Memo to Members editor needed

I want to thank our former MtM editor, Sarah “Kit” Kittrell, for all her hard work and excellent newsletters these past few months. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors. Until we find a new editor, I (with the help of many others) will be serving as temporary MtM editor.

How about you?

Would you considering becoming our next MtM editor? STC Orlando Chapter Newsletter Editor would look great on your resume. The primary qualifications are a willingness to learn basic HTML and WordPress. If you already have some experience with either of these, all the better!

If you would like more information about the MtM editor position, please email me at president@stc-orlando.org.

This and that…

Have you renewed your STC membership for 2011?

There is still time. Go to http://www.stc.org/membership/renew-your-stc-membership.asp#dues-information.

2011 STC Dues

Will you help us remain a Chapter of Distinction?

One of the stated society requirements for maintaining our status as a “Chapter of Distinction” is to,

“Encourage members to let colleagues in the workplace know how STC has contributed to their professional growth through knowledge sharing and networking opportunities.”

Has STC helped you? If so, spread the word; and when you do, let our chapter secretary, Michele Damron, know so she can log it. You can contact Michele at secretary@stc-orlando.org.

Happy holidays!

As we close out another calendar year, I want to take this opportunity to wish you and your family the most wonderful and happiest of holidays. See you next year!





The View from Number Two

27 12 2010



by Debra Johnson
Orlando Chapter Vice President

Happy Holidays All!  What an incredible 2010 it has been.  Since last January, I went from contractor to permanent employee at my company; was given the opportunity to lead a Technical Communications team; and was privileged to be elected your VP.  I have learned so much since taking office in June and I look forward to the remaining months of my term.   

It was an honor representing STC-Orlando at the 2010 STC Summit in May.  I was able to participate in the Content Management in a Nutshell Certificate Program presented by Ann Rockley, as well as, some other very good sessions; all at the same time forging new relationships with other Technical Communicators from across the globe. As your VP, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to network with some truly brilliant people both at home and across the country.

I also feel very blessed to have found some really good presenters for our meetings in 2010.  I am excited for what’s coming in 2011.

One of the most interesting and rewarding experiences this past year was my meeting at UCF with the Future Technical Communicators group.  I really enjoyed the intelligent and bright conversation.  I hope they felt the same.  I am looking forward to a wonderful relationship with my UCF mentee, Jennifer Wolff.

On Jan 4, 2010, I am off to visit the Suncoast chapter.  I am accompanying Elizabeth Holubek as she presents her Business Analysis and Business Process Modeling presentation.  

I will be sending a meeting announcement shortly after the New Year, for our annual joint UCF/STC/FTC meeting to be held on Jan 25, 2011 featuring a presentation on Visual Explanations by speaker, Don Moyer, one of the three founders of Thoughtform Inc., where he helps clients explain topics by making messages visible.  Don is passionate about creating visual explanations, and frequently uses self-initiated projects to explore visual storytelling ideas.  So mark your calendars for that…

So here’s wishing you and yours a very happy holiday season and we’ll see you next year!

Debra





STC Summit Registration Now Open

27 12 2010

Conference registration for the 2011 STC Summit, taking place 15-18 May in Sacramento, CA, opened on December 1, 2010. The “Really Early Bird” rate of $745—good only for the first 100 registrants—is almost gone, so register now if you want to take advantage of the lowest possible rate.

The Preliminary Program is available for review on the Summit website. More sessions are still being added, but the current list is available for you to start making your plans! Keep up with all the news on the Summit at the new Summit Blog!





STC Upcoming Webinars

27 12 2010

STC has released the full schedule of webinars for January 2011. To view the entire listing, as well as the collection of archived webinars available for viewing 24/7, check out the STC website. From there, you can click on “View Description and Speaker Biography” to learn more details about each webinar and the presenter.



Expose Yourself: Market Your Department, Products, and Yourself
Wednesday, 5 January| Members $79; Nonmembers $149; Student Member $29
1:00–2:00 PM EST (GMT-5)
Presented by Jen Collier

It doesn’t do any good to create the document or training course that could save the company, if nobody knows about it. Show your worth. Marketing isn’t an option anymore, it’s required. Your company needs to know why your products are important, especially during these tough economic times. Come discover ways to promote yourself and your department. Find out what has worked for other departments and how they can work for you.


 
Delivering Multi-Modal Training: A Review of Three Projects
Wednesday, 12 January Members $79; Nonmembers $149; Student Member $29
1:00-2:00 PM EST (GMT-5)

Presented by Patrick Quinlan

Citrix Education has adopted DITA and a CMS in order to create dynamic, multi-modal training. Today, the company is delivering classroom-based courseware manuals and high-fidelity, SCORM-compliant online training built from a single source of content. In this webinar, the presenter will demonstrate the products of Citrix’s dual-modality output. Afterwards, he will review two recent DITA-based development projects. Finally, he will close by looking forward at leveraging existing tools and infrastructure to deliver content in new ways, including ePub and mobile learning.


 
Shake Up the Structure: Taking a Fresh Look at Information Organization
Wednesday, 19 January| Members $79; Nonmembers $149; Student Member $29
1:00–2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)
Presented by Jennifer Beaupre

Controlled Global English plays a major part in the future of effective machine translation, micro/mobile websites, SMS messaging, and the efficient translation of English into the 1,270-plus languages required to reach four billion global consumers. Is your company ready for the next information revolution? Can customers understand and find your content? Are your writers able to effectively communicate and create a consistent company message? Attend this webinar to learn how today’s companies are creating a collaborative authoring environment that delivers high-quality information to consumers across multiple languages while improving their SEO, decreasing translation costs, and accelerating time-to-market.


 
Freelance vs. Captive: Making an Informed Decision
Wednesday, 26 January| Members $79; Nonmembers $149; Student Member $29
1:00–2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)
Presented by John Hedtke

Ever thought that you might be cut out for the glamorous, high-paying, and rather bohemian lifestyle possible with a freelance existence? Not everyone is suited for freelance work . . . but neither is everyone suited for captivity. This webinar will identify the pros and cons for captivity (i.e., “full-time” or “permanent” employment) and freelance work, then shows how to identify your personal employment goals and how to fit these into the pros for each career path. There will also be suggestions for those who haven’t tried freelance work yet on how to get started freelancing on the side, something that could be of great value in today’s economy.



Introducing TechComm 201

If you’re looking for more than a one-hour webinar, STC’s online certificate courses may be for you. TechComm 201, starting 11 January and running for six weeks, follows in the wildly successful footsteps of TechComm 101. The focus is on soft skills, such as estimating and managing technical communication projects and working with SMEs; and technical skills, such as advanced editing, professional tool concepts, and Help Authoring concepts. More courses are being added, so check out the STC website for the full schedule of online certificate courses.






Changing With The Times: Technical Writing In The 21st Century

27 12 2010



by Avner Ben
(reprinted unedited from EzineArticles.com)

Technical Writers design, write, edit and update end user documentation such as: Installation, User, Administration, Configuration Guides, Online Help Files, Portable Document Format (PDF) files, Presentations, Specifications, etc. Technical Writing in the 21st century, by necessity, is changing with the times. These changes require us to learn new skills/delivery systems that take into account new modalities and methods that end users/customers use to search for and access information. We have evolved into Information Designers/Architects, who to thrive have learned new skills like: Video capturing, Demo creation, Blog posting and Usability testing skills. This article examines the new skills that we need today to succeed as Technical Writers, aka Information Designer/Architect in the second decade of the 21st century.

Technical Writing has become much more visual than in the past when static Diagrams, Screen Captures, Charts were utilized to help you explain how products worked or should be installed. Traditional static documentation is still in use; however, today, it is important for us to learn video skills that enable them to create Video Tutorials, Demos with video capturing tools like Captivate and Camtasia, for example. These tools enable you to create highly visual, step-by-step video/audio tutorials that your target audience can easily follow the instructions/message you want to convey to them in a way that previous static user guides never could. In fact, old style Technical documentation, oftentimes, was little used, if at all; because it was difficult locating the information users needed. With the transition to video/audio tools solidly underway and the advent and implementation of Web 2.0 Social Media Networking sites, Blogs, Wikis and Video sharing sites they have changed the way that messages move across the Internet, and with it Technical Writers have assumed new responsibilities as Technical Writing has moved increasing, online.

Changing with the times, also means embracing blogging and other Web 2.0 Social Media Networking tools to get our message across to customers. What exactly is a blog? The word blog is the combination of two words, web and log. As Bloggers, we add commentary, graphics, video and other information called blog post to the Blog on a regular basis, usually weekly. In some companies, we have assumed the responsibility of designing and writing blog posts to our organization’s customers and answer their feedback via the comments they post on the blog. Also, in some companies we are becoming more actively involved in designing, organizing and running interactive forums where customers can join, ask questions and get answers to common problems that are less cost intensive and time consuming than the old telephone support method. We are evolving from our traditional role as teachers and interpreters of new product usage between a product’s developers and customers to becoming much more involved in product architecture, usability and testing.

Going and gone are the days when we wrote end user documentation and delivered it to customers without doing all we can to make sure that the information customers are interested in locating is accessible and user-friendly. Today, we are working with application and hardware developers to ensure that customers can find the information they need quickly and as user-friendly as possible. This means that we not only write user documentation; but engage in usability testing to help the customer access the specified information they need, without scanning through information that is not of interest to them.Technical Writing in the 21st century by necessity are changing with the times. No longer can we approach our tasks as we did in the past. To continue to evolve and succeed we must acquire new skills like Video capturing, Blogging, Usability Testing and other skills that enhance and supplement established end user documentation modalities: User manuals, Online Help, Implementation guides, etc. The examples cited in this article are only a few of the many ways that Technical Writing in the 21st century is changing with the times.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Avner_Ben





Announcing the 2011 Slate of Candidates

27 12 2010

Mark Clifford, Chair, and the rest of the STC Nominating Committee are pleased to present the STC 2011 Slate of Candidates.

Reminder: All STC members must have paid their dues by 28 February 2011 to vote in the election

For President:

Hillary Hart will automatically succeed from Vice President.

Candidates on the Slate for the 2011 STC Election:

For Vice President:

  • Alan Houser 
  • Victoria Koster-Lenhardt

For Treasurer:

  • Aiessa Moyna

For Director (two positions to be elected):
Bernard Aschwanden,

  • Ray Gallon
  • Brian Lindgren
  • Rich Maggiani
  • Tricia Spayer

For Nominating Committee (two positions to be elected):

  • Sharon Burton
  • Leah Guren
  • Jack Molisani

The 2011 Society election is scheduled to begin March 9, 2011 and end at noon, April 8, 2011 EDT (GMT-5). Detailed information will be made available on the socirty website (www.stc.org) some time after January 2, 2011 about the candidates and to access a question-and-answer area where you can ask questions of the candidates.