“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…)

“And Now for Something Completely Different!”

…well, not completely, but a little different for us. After our program postponement due to weather in November and our holiday mixer with area usability folks in December, we will resume our chapter programs and networking in February. To prepare, we’d like those who can to view any of the following STC webinars in the comfort of their home or office. Then join us to discuss these and meet others at the February networking event. Check our calendar for the date, time and location.

The free webinars are only accessible to STC members, and we welcome members and nonmembers alike to attend our programs. So, between now and our February program, we’d like to encourage members to post webinar summaries on this blog so they’ll be viewable by all who want to join us in February.

The webinars can be accessed here. They include:

  • 10 Most Common Misconceptions About User Experience Design, presented by Whitney Hess
  • Sketching User Experiences with the Design Studio Method, presented by Brian Sullivan
  • Essential UX Skills for Technical Communicators, presented by Will Sansbury, Rachel Peters, Yina Li
  • From TechComm to UX: Are You a Designer, presented by Kristi Leach

 

Holiday Mixer

Michigan CHI, Southeastern Michigan STC, and Michigan UxPA invite you a casual Holiday Mixer.

When: Tuesday December 2nd, Anytime between 5-8pm
Where: Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub
318 South Main St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
(734.665.2968734.665.2968)
www.conoroneills.com

To make this fun and interesting, consider:

– Wearing a UX or Tec-Doc or Conference shirt
– Bringing a Great Success and a Horrible Failure story that happened to you this year…relevant to your profession

We will not have a reserved room or purchased food.
We will just meet in the bar, take over tables as needed, and buy our own (and if you like) each other’s food and drink.

Event recap: World Usability day in the “D”

by Alison Phillips

Gathering to network before the event starts.

Gathering to network before the event starts.

World Usability Day (WUD), held annually on the second Thursday of November, is a “single day of events occurring around the world that brings together communities of professional, industrial, educational, citizen, and government groups for our common objective: to ensure that the services and products important to life are easier to access and simpler to use” (according to worldusabilityday.org).  This year, there were over 130 events held in 40 countries, and 6 of those events were hosted in locations across Michigan.

The WUD Detroit event, World Usability day in the “D,” was a held at the AIREA Studio in the Compuware building. About 40 participants from various disciplines (including some STC-SM chapter members) gathered to discuss topics related to this year’s theme, “User Experience, Usability, and the Value of Simplicity in Design.” (more…)

World Usability Day in the D

User Experience, Usability, and the Value of Simplicity in Design, is an International World Usability Day Event brought to you by the Michigan Chapter of ACM SIGCHI, Michigan Chapter of UXPA, and by us, your local STC chapter.

The Talks

  • User Experience Across Industries
  • Usability 2.0: Beyond the UX Lab
  • UX and the Auto Industry
  • The Demand for Simplicity in Design
  • The Future of UX: A Common Language Across Brands and Products

The Presenters

Come to learn, get inspired, network with colleagues, make new friends, and get fed with a UX firehose!

Register ahead for $10, or register at the door for $20.

Choosing the Right Tools to Build Digital Learning

by Susan Fisher

If you’re like many technical communicators, you may fall into one of these categories when it comes to building a mobile learning (or any e-learning) program:

1)   What’s the big deal? It’s just a matter of picking up the nearest authoring software (e.g., Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate) and cranking out the screens.

2)   It’s a mystery. Only a trained programmer can do it.

Of course, as with most things, reality is not that clear-cut; it’s a continuum between these two extremes. Fortunately, with some basic knowledge you can determine the tools and resources required for your project — and talk intelligently to your developer or programmer if one is needed. (more…)

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