Author Archives: Liz Fraley

From Open Source Volunteer to Full-Time Tech Writer – 3 May 2018 [Meeting]

Open source software projects provide writers (and software engineers) opportunities to develop their skills, make meaningful contributions, and produce authentic work samples. These projects are almost always looking for people to help out, including writing documentation and testing. But how do you get noticed when the primary communication channel is a mailing list, and no one knows who you are? Learn how Gale Naylor leveraged her open-source experience to change careers and become a full-time technical writer at Facebook.

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Maturing Your Information Development Processes – 5 April 2018 [Meeting]

What makes an industry leader in the area of information development? What practices are critical to the department’s success and predictors of the quality of content produced? For over 20 years, Comtech and the Center for Information Development Management (CIDM) have partnered with leading information development organizations to assess and monitor the characteristics that define process maturity in the creation of technical content. Tools, technology, and user expectations continue to evolve the content we produce. Similarly, the processes followed while creating that content should also adapt. To respond to changing demands, we must leave behind our old concepts of information development management and adopt new definitions of process maturity. Based on continuing conversations with leading information development organizations, this presentation examines key performance indicators for 10 characteristics that define mature organizations in today’s market.

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How to thrive as a technical writer on a scrum team – 1 March 2018 [Meeting]

A common misconception about scrum is that it doesn’t value documentation. This presentation will cover the principles of scrum, providing an explanation of how this misconception occurred and how you can demonstrate the value that you bring to the team. We will also explore some skills, many of which you might already have, that will help you thrive as a technical writer in a scrum environment.

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Adding Marketing to Your Writing Toolkit – 1 February 2018 [Meeting]

To those of us with a technical background, any kind of marketing work can seem like a dark art indeed. But technical writers have always been involved in white papers, spec sheets, and similar pieces. Even online help is being mined by marketers for its “SEO juice”. You’re probably already close to being able to add “Marketing” to your skill set. Come watch as Floyd Smith, published author and Director, Content Marketing at very technical startup NGINX, shows you how to stretch to new horizons. 

What User Experience Is and Why Tech Writers Should Care – 4 January 2018 [Meeting]

Back in the day, tech writers were the vanguard of software usability; the way to make software easier to use was to write a better user manual. But then along came usability, and writers discovered that they could better serve their readers by helping engineers to make software easier to use. Writers also made their instructions more accessible by providing user assistance in the form of UI text, tooltips, and context-sensitive help.

Nowadays we hear less about usability and more about user experience. In fact, the Usability Professionals Association (UPA) recently changed its name to the User Experience Professionals Association (UXPA). How did this happen, and what does it mean for the future of our profession? What is the role of technical writing in this new universe?
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