What is the User’s Experience?

Evaluation is a key element of any great communication effort. Surveys and focus groups bring great information, yet the most enlightening results can be achieved by watching your users actually use your communication vehicle to get the information they need. Learn how to plan for and carry out successful usability testing for your key audiences. Consider how you can incorporate usability testing to discover how you can improve your user’s experience. Hear about a case study from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and how they incorporated usability testing with the health care providers who use their provider manuals to reveal surprising results.

Particulars

Join us on September 20, 2016:

  • When:  6:30–8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Omni Building, 26899 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield, MI

We will be in the Emerald Conference Room, on the first floor. Enter at the north entrance, check in with Security, and they will direct you to the conference room next door.

The costs are:

  • Free for students with ID
  • $10 for members, employees of BCBSM, and members of sister organizations (UXPA, CHI, and ASTD)
  • $20 for non-members

Presenters

Photo of Catherine Vera‐Burgos
Catherine Vera‐Burgos
Manager, Provider Communications
Provider Outreach Department
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Catherine Vera‐Burgos is the manager of Provider Communications at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a position she has held for 15 years. In this role, Cathy manages a team of professionals who create communications for health care providers, including: provider manuals, newsletters, websites, e‐learning opportunities, letters, and brochures as well as internal communications for employees who serve providers. Cathy also has experience in the nonprofit field as a program developer and grant writer. Cathy has a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Wayne State University where she is working on her Masters in Public Relations and Organizational Communications.

Photo of S. Dansby
Sherri Dansby, MBA, PRC Market Research Manager
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Sherri Dansby has many years of research experience and is currently a Market Research Manager at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, managing quantitative and qualitative studies. She is responsible for research design, execution and insight generation, with a focus on health care providers. Sherri also has research experience in automotive, retail and consumer products. Certified as a Primary Research Expert by the Market Research Association (MRA), she has also served as MRA—Great Lakes Chapter president. Sherri has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and English Literature from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and an MBA.

Registration

Security requires a list of attendees before the meeting, so please let us know that you will be coming. Questions? Email us.

NOTE

We have had two reports of extraneous characters showing in the email address when clicking the links above. This seems to be a browser bug. If you run into trouble, try Firefox or email our president directly from the Contact Us page; she will add you to our guest list.

Letter From the President

by Sharon McDonnell

Welcome back! I hope your summer has been fun and relaxing. I spent most of mine recovering from my auto accident and doing my physical therapy to return to something resembling normal activity.

While I was home recuperating, I began to research which volunteer positions still needed to be filled for the upcoming year. I got a current membership list and started calling people to let them know I am their new president, that we would like to have some ideas for program topics and locations, and that we have several opportunities to volunteer and help out the chapter.

Volunteering

Contact anyone on the Council if you would like to volunteer to host a program, write a blog post, greet guests at an event, or take on a council position. There are plenty of ways to help out and not many of them take a commitment of a lot of time. If you are just starting out in this business, you can gain some useful experience for your resume!

Networking

Membership and attendance at meetings and programs have other benefits as well. Job seekers can attend and let the rest of us know that you’re in the market for a job. Employers can attend and announce your openings and talk to candidates. Attendees should always bring several business cards for that purpose. Job openings are also posted on the listserv. If you don’t know how to post a job opening or if you don’t know how to join the listserv, we’ll have someone available to tell you how do to that.

Looking Ahead

Keep your eyes peeled for announcements through this blog and the Upcoming Events Calendar; and the listserv and social media for programs, networking events, and Council meetings (which are open to all members). Here is what we have planned for the 2016–17 program year:

  • September: Usability Testing/User Experience. BCBSM at Omni Bldg, Southfield
  • October: Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor. Topic to be determined
  • November: Networking Happy Hour, northern suburbs or midtown Detroit
  • December: Holiday mixer, Ann Arbor
  • January: Virtual Tech Comm Showcase
  • February: Online meeting or webinar
  • March: Washtenaw Community College, Ann Arbor. Topic to be determined
  • April: Networking breakfast in Ann Arbor
  • May: Summit in Washington D.C.
  • June: General business meeting, end-of-year awards ceremony, and potluck luncheon at home of president

All Council meetings will be held at the home of the president for Council members and visitors, and will also be available through Adobe Connect for those who cannot attend in person. During the winter months, the meetings will only be held online. They will be held the third Sunday of every month.

Networking breakfasts, lunches, and happy hours will be another way for you to meet other technical communicators for professional networking and job sharing. These events will take place in a variety of places throughout our chapter’s geographic location. If you would like to host one of these events, please contact us and let us know where and when you’d like to do so.

Letter From the Immediate Past President

Greetings everyone,

On July 1, I turned the STC/SM Council over to our new president, Sharon McDonnell. We have just wrapped up a successful program year and will be attending to a few administrative tasks between now and the start of the 2016–2017 program year, so this seems like a good time to look back at the last two years.

  • Our membership has stabilized.
  • We worked with the UX community and AMWA in the interests of cross-pollinating ideas.
  • We had networking events at every time of day, and virtual and realtime programs all over the area.
  • We reexamined the Council meeting schedule. The two biggest changes are winter Council meetings online and a big Sunday afternoon meeting at the beginning of the program year to lay out the schedule and to start to fill in programs.
  • We earned two Pacesetter Awards, in 2014, for our website revamping process, and in 2015, for our Choose Your Own Learning Adventure programming in midwinter that introduced members to an STC member perk—webinars—and built a networking event on the theme of the webinars we selected for viewing.
  • We brought home a bronze Community Achievement Award (CAA) for 2015. We are working towards using the CAA rubric as our basis for planning, as the CAA is meant to reward responsiveness to member needs and good planning.
Sharon McDonnell presents a commemorative gavel to Pat Martz.
Sharon McDonnell presents a commemorative gavel to Pat Martz at the End-of-Year Potluck on Sunday, June 26, 2016.

Thank you to our Council members for all their work in the last two years. Sharon McDonnell, our new president, was a a real help and sounding board as vice president. I’d also like to thank past presidents Maryann Bowen and Mary Jo David, who apprised me of chapter history and precedent and mentored me through my presidency. I appreciate your help and support very much; your counsel helped me to leave things somewhat better than I found them.

Alison Phillips, our new vice president, has agreed to serve as Secretary Pro Tem until someone steps into the job. Thank you Alison; you’ve done a terrific job, and we appreciate your willingness to continue.

However, if you, dear reader, think you would like to assume a leadership role, secretary is a great place to start. The most important part of this role is writing and distributing minutes for our meetings. Please email president@stc-sm.org for more information.

With that, we are in hiatus until our transition and planning meeting on Sunday, August 28, 1:00 p.m. Have a good summer.

Election Results for 2016–2017

The results of the recent STC/SM election of officers for the 2016/2017 program year are summarized below.

  • Total number of ballots sent out on electionbuddy.com: 37
  • Total number of ballots cast: 11
  • Percentage of members who voted: 29.7%

Based on the votes cast, the winning nominees for each office were:

  • Vice-President-Elect: Alison Phillips
  • Treasurer-Elect: Maryann Bowen

As noted previously, Sharon McDonnell, who served as STC/SM Vice-President in 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, will transition to the office of STC/SM President as provided by our chapter by-laws.

Congratulations to our newly elected officers, and thank you for running for office and being involved in the governance of our chapter. Continue reading “Election Results for 2016–2017”

STC Summit 2016: Reactions From a First-Time Attendee

by Alison Phillips

It was a pleasure and privilege for me to attend the STC Summit in Anaheim, California this year. As a first-time Summit attendee, I had no idea what to expect and wasn’t even sure if the conference would be worth the time and expense involved. An introvert by nature, I was also unsure whether I could feel at ease in such a large group setting.

I am pleased to say, however, that I came away with more inspiration and information than I can summarize in this short article. I left the Summit overflowing with ideas and could fill pages just trying to recap some of the things I learned and the topics I discussed with the many people I met. Instead, I want to take a few moments to encourage those of you who have not attended the STC Summit or other STC conference that participating in such events is well worth it! Continue reading “STC Summit 2016: Reactions From a First-Time Attendee”

Members, Remember to Vote!

by Tom Glennan,
Immediate Past President
2016-2017 Nominations Committee Chairperson

This is a friendly reminder to all STC/SM members that the election of the 2016/2017 program year Executive Council officers and Nominating Committee members is now underway. If you have not done so already, please be sure to vote by no later than Tuesday, May 31, at 11:00 p.m. If you are currently an STC/SM member but have not received an email from Election Buddy with a link to an election ballot, please send me an email so that we can address any problems and secure a ballot for you before the election closes.

STC/SM Chapter Elections Are Open

If you are a member of our chapter, you should have received the ElectionBuddy online ballot for the 2016–2017 STC/SM officer elections. The election is open now through Tuesday, May 31, at 11:00 p.m.

You should have also received an email notice of balloting from our Immediate Past President, Tom Glennan, even if you have asked not to receive regular email from STC/SM. STC requires us to notify every dues-paying chapter member of elections. If you are aware of anyone who should have received an election notice email but did not, please notify pastpresident@stc-sm.org.

STC Summit 2016: Leadership Program Recap

by Alison Philips

Photo of Emily Alfson and Alison Phillips at the 2016 STC Summit
Emily Alfson (l.) and Alison Phillips (r.) at the 2016 STC Summit

Greetings from Anaheim, California! I’m here at the STC Summit and just attended the annual Leadership Program that kicks off the Summit each year. Some of the highlights were:

  • The basics of running a community — Emily Alfson (also an STC/SM member!) delivered an informative talk about some of the many tools available to STC members looking to gain information about running successful STC communities. These resources include the Community Handbook, the Treasurer’s Handbook, the STC website, the CAC website, social media, and more!

Continue reading “STC Summit 2016: Leadership Program Recap”

Local AMWA Chapter Conference on May 14

The American Medical Writers Association Michigan Chapter Conference will convene at Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor on Saturday, May 14, 2016. Registration will be at the door.

We got a note from Mitchell Seymour, Chapter President, asking that you please let him know if you will be coming by the end of business on Wednesday, May 12, so they will have an accurate head count for food.