Announcing 2015-2016 Council Nominations

by Tom Glennan, Immediate STC/SM Past President

Along with cleaning out the garage, planting the garden, and (finally) taking down the Christmas decorations, spring is the time of year for STC-SM Council nominations. This is the perfect opportunity to get involved and contribute to your STC community, while also building your professional network, skills, and resume at the same time. And you get to meet and work with a great team of people in the process – what a deal!

The most significant opportunity – and the most critical, immediate need – is for volunteers to run for chapter officer positions (Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer) as well as two elected (but non-officer) Nominations Committee positions. Note that since the Vice President normally transitions into the office of President the following year, which our current Vice President, Sharon McDonnell has confirmed she plans to do, the President for next year is already determined and does not need to be voted on. (more…)

Members Came from Far and Wide to Attend Royal Oak Networking Event

by MaryJo David

Pictured (l-r): Mary Jo David, Cheri Jerue, Sylvia Bandyke, Angel Belford, and Emily Distelrath

Pictured (l-r): Mary Jo David, Cheri Jerue, Sylvia Bandyke, Angel Belford, and Emily Distelrath

It’s interesting how the STC/SM casual networking events have evolved. The locations for our formal programs don’t vary a lot in order to keep them centrally located for a majority of our members. As a complement to the formal programs, our casual networking events were devised as a way for technical communicators to meet up closer to where they live.

And yet, at our most recent networking event, which was held in Royal Oak on Thursday, April 26, 2015, technical communicators traveled from Toledo, Canton, Novi, Auburn Hills, and Royal Oak to attend! I take this as a strong indicator of the perceived value of networking. In fact, when the topic came up about how best to land new jobs or new contracts, the #1 answer was—you guessed it—NETWORKING. (more…)

SCHOLARSHIP OPPORTUNITIES:

Are you a technical communication student or do you know one? If so, the following information may be of interest:
The Technical Editing Special Interest Group of the Society for Technical Communication is now accepting applications for a $1400 undergraduate scholarship and a $1400 graduate scholarship for students pursuing studies in technical communication. For more information, go to http://www.stc-techedit.org/Scholarship
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[Michigan CHI] Internet User Experience 2015 Conference Call for Presenters

The conference organizer would like at least a half day of talks on content, writing for web, blog, tweet, and other documentation, but you are welcome to submit proposals on any aspect of user experience.
The deadline has been extended to April 27.

From: michigan-chi@googlegroups.com [mailto:michigan-chi@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Dave Mitropoulos-Rundus
Subject: [Michigan CHI] Internet User Experience 2015 Conference Call for Presenters

IUE2015 will be held June 15-17 in Ann Arbor at the Michigan League, which will spill out into the summer festival at the end of each conference day for live music, food, drink, and of course movies at 10. (more…)

STC-SM Member Spotlight – Alison Phillips

Alison pic small take 2

1 – What is your educational background? How long have you been a member of (volunteer with) STC? In what STC positions have you served? (In what roles have you volunteered?)

I earned my B.A. in English from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff, AZ. During my years as an undergrad, I learned about the Master’s program in Rhetoric, Composition, and Professional Writing offered through the English department at NAU. It sounded like the perfect graduate program for me, so I stayed on to complete my M.A. and also earned a certificate in Professional Writing. (more…)

“An Aggressive Approach to Concise Writing”

A webinar presented by Joe Welinske of WritersUA

STC-SM was offered a rare opportunity to view a webinar during the workday and it just so happened to be the same day that our BCBSM/BCN provider communications staff meeting was being held. Golden opportunity! My manager loved the idea, so we included the webinar in our agenda for the month.

Joe began by pointing out that the information and techniques that he would be discussing were developed to transition input that had been developed for laptops and desktops to formats for smaller devices such as PDAs, iPhones, Androids, tablets, etc. He said his goal is usually to pare the content down by two-thirds. He remarked that he teaches these techniques in his TC101 classes and I then recalled that we also did several exercises such as these in my Tech Comm classes. But he pointed out that this approach also helps to tighten your content for usability and readability for things like CBTs where you are writing in a small bubble or speaking in concise sentences. (more…)

Networking evening at Traffic Jam and Snug

by Alison Philips

February 17, 2015

Six of us braved the elements last week to gather for an informal evening of food, drinks, and conversation at Traffic Jam and Snug in midtown Detroit. We welcomed a couple of new faces, talked about current techcomm opportunities in the greater Detroit area, and returning members took the opportunity to catch up after the holidays.

Our goal for the evening was to discuss one (or more) of the free STC webinars suggested in January. Although some of us had technical difficulties accessing the webinars, Mary Jo David provided a very thorough write-up on Essential User Experience Skills for Technical Communicators (available on this blog), and Mark Lockwood led a discussion of one of the webinars he viewed, Sketching User Experiences with the Design Studio Method. Mark described several themes of the webinar, including the idea of sketching multiple solutions to business problems, and how this specific methodology can help work groups create innovative document design solutions. The idea of “saturating your design space” with many possible solutions and coming together to mash-up the possibilities was a thread we discussed as a group.

It was an enjoyable, relaxed evening and we hope you’ll join us for the next one! See the Upcoming Events area for info on what we have planned this spring!

Review of Essential User Experience Skills Presented at the 2010 Summit by Will Sansbury, Rachel Peters, and Yina Li

(Reviewed by Mary Jo David, February 2015)

Will Sansbury, Rachel Peters, and Yina Li based their presentation on a workshop they put together for members of the Atlanta chapter of STC. A team of chapter members was interested in redesigning the Atlanta chapter’s website, thus the need for the workshop. The Atlanta chapter website being used at that time was designed in approximately 1994.

The presentation overviews three essential user experience skills: card sorting, heuristic evaluation, and usability testing. Although the main focus of the presentation was how to put these skills into practice designing a website, references were also made to the importance of these same skills for designing user guides and online help as well. (more…)

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