The 2021 Miniconference has a varied slate of presentations and presenters.
- 8:30 – 8:50am MiniConference Startup
- 9am – 9:50am Teaching Technical Writing to Engineers – What Works? – Noel Atzmiller
- 10am – 10:50am Creating an Online Help System Using RoboHelp and Other Useful Tools – Cindy Pao
- 11am – 11:50am Show up, speak up, shut up: How to be a good ally – Viqui Dill
- 12pm – 1:15pm Lunch/Dill Pickers performance
- 1:30pm – 2:20pm Bake a Little Documentation Love into Your Product – Matt Reiner
- 2:30pm – 3:20pm Seven Skills You Need For API Documentation Writing – Robert Delwood
- 3:30pm – 4:20pm Cultivate Career Skills through Volunteering – Beth Sellers
- 4:20pm – 4:45pm Conference Wrap-up
Teaching Technical Writing to Engineers – What Works? – Noel Atzmiller
Teaching technical writing to engineers can be challenging. These highly intelligent individuals require an approach that goes beyond grammar rules and guidelines. Training session content and techniques must focus on the engineers’ common characteristics. Experiences from leading multiple training sessions to engineers and their feedback have revealed some lessons learned to facilitate this approach. These lessons are applicable in technical writing training sessions for many documents.
About Noel Atzmiller
Noel Atzmiller began his 36-year career in technical communications in the petrochemical engineering and construction industry. In his career he has written and edited documents for many industries including natural gas transmission, I.T. and oil/gas. Noel has also authored several articles that have been published in corporate and oil/gas trade publications. In 2010, he was awarded the Best of Show at the STC International Communication Summit in Dallas, Texas. His award-winning document chronicled the first 75 years of Baker Atlas, a previous division of Baker Hughes.
Noel recently concluded his 13-year career at Baker Hughes (BH), where he held the position of Manager, Technical Publications. In this position he helped BH engineers and technical staff by providing many services including document editing and training in writing conference abstracts and papers.
Show up, speak up, shut up: How to be a good ally – Viqui Dill
STC is striving to be a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization. But what can members do to be better allies of people in underserved groups? In this presentation you will learn eight ways you can become a better ally: Educate yourself; Share what you know; Amplify diverse voices & perspectives; Support the livelihood of diverse people; Remember that a diverse person is an individual; Support diverse people that you know; Celebrate accomplishments; and Know that allyship is a growing process.
About Viqui Dill
As a technical writer and editor for Huntington Ingles Industries, living in Winchester, VA, and working in Kearneysville, WV, Viqui Dill is passionate about continued education and lifelong learning for those in our field. Sharing the tips and tricks she has gathered in her 25 years as a writer, she is actively promoting networking with other writers to help us all learn and stay connected. Dill plays bass with STC’s own “Rough Drafts” band and her family band “The Dill Pickers” performed at the 2020 virtual Summit. Dill describes herself as “Technical writer, wife and mom, bass player, worship leader, I’m happiest when folks sing along with me.”
Creating an Online Help System Using RoboHelp and Other Useful Tools – Cindy Pao
Cindy will conduct a workshop to create an online help system using RoboHelp, and demonstrating some of the more powerful aspects of Robohelp such as variables, conditional text, and other time and effort saving functions.
About Cindy Pao
Cindy Pao is a senior technical writer, developing user documentation for complex oilfield software. She has been a technical communicator for over 20 years. Cindy’s involvement in STC includes Director-at-Large on the STC Board; Chair, vice chair, and member of multiple committees; President, Co-Manager, and member of several communities. Cindy has presented at conferences, program meetings, workshops, and webinars nine times, including “New Leader Table: The Basics of Running a Community” at the 2017 Leadership Program, “Using a Customer Response System in Writing and Updating User Documentation” at the 2006 STC conference, and “Creating a WinHelp Project” workshop in 2001.
Cultivate Career Skills through Volunteering – Beth Sellers
The best way to get and keep a position is to have the skills, knowledge, and abilities to perform it successfully. Whether you’re employed or not, volunteering can help you beef up your resume and expand your portfolio. Many organizations need brochures, web sites, grants or policy and procedure manuals. These groups are happy to provide occasions for writers to expand their skills. Which organizations should you contact and which skills should you develop? Your time is valuable, so identify your career goals and work toward the even when you’re off the clock.
Here are questions we’ll answer: Who can you help? Look to nonprofits, your existing company, yourself. We will talk about different websites we can use to locate volunteer opportunities. What should you do? Do what you need to learn. Do what you’re uncertain about.
How should you do it? Do the whole job. The outline, the project plan, each piece of that can be used in your portfolio. Why? You can’t attain your career goals simply by going to work. Volunteering can help you take charge of your progress.
About Beth Sellers
Beth Sellers is a past Chapter president of STC. She received her Master’s in Technical Communication from Texas Tech University in 1998. Beth has worked for financial software organization and in the energy industry as a technical writer, manager, and trainer. Beth currently serves as manager of User Education for ONIT/SimpleLegal, the leading enterprise software platform to manage all corporate legal operations, matters, spend, vendors, knowledge, and more.
Seven Skills You Need For API Documentation Writing – Robert Delwood
Getting started in API documentation may seem difficult. However, there are seven basic skills that you can start using now that applies to API documentation writing. Using any one of these, and each is just a good practice on its own, will help later if you want to migrate to API documentation. The API economy, the trend for companies transitioning to a Web presence instead of brick and mortar store, is gaining speed exponentially. This requires developers creating API suites. Hand in hand with that is the need for API documentation. Documentation becomes more important since the APIs have no discoverable interface. To use APIs, developers must be told everything about the them. In a very real way, the documentation is the product.
About Robert Delwood
Robert Delwood is a programmer, writer, and programmer-writer currently in the Chicago law community but formerly with NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Microsoft. With more than 18 years experience, he’s written and documented topics from Windows kernel-level device drivers and speech recognition APIs/SDKs for Microsoft, to help desk procedures and application manuals for the military.
He specializes in Microsoft Office automation with VB/VBA and .NET VSTO. He’s authored several books, the most recent one, a college-level text book, “The Secret Life of Word,” (XML Press, http://xmlpress.net/publications/word-secrets/) about Word’s automation for technical writers, non-programmers, knowledge workers, or anyone who wants to do more tasks quickly with Word.
Bake a Little Documentation Love into Your Product – Matt Reiner
Just like the best recipe, combining UI text and documentation in just the right amounts can lead to a great content experience for your users. Attendees will leave understanding:
- Why adding documentation to your product UI creates much more value for users, teammates, and leadership
- How to structure content for reuse within your product and help site
- How to write UI text that compliments long form documentation
- How to enhance your product marketing with this new information experience
Matt will share the recipe my team followed to create a great in-app help experience within one of our latest apps and share how your team can blend UI and documentation to create more value for your users, teammates, and organization.
About Matt Reiner
Throughout his time on multiple product teams, Matt has contributed as a scrum master, technical writer, marketer, and UX writer. Matt believes users have the best experience when information presented by Sales, Marketing, the UI, help documentation, and Support uses a unified voice.