From the Editor’s Desk

Alex Garcia

Alex Garcia

Hello friends and members of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC.

Right off the bat, I would like to thank this month’s meeting sponsor, professional recruiting firm, Skybridge Resources.

Meeting Topic: Using Metrics to Estimate Documentation Projects
Presented by Paul Mueller, owner of UserAid, a firm that designs and implements innovative communication solutions. He is currently the 2013 Technical Communication Summit Conference Manager and he has served in many other Summit-related roles.

Paul believes everyone needs a reliable method for estimating documentation projects.  As delivery methods change, we need to develop and customize our metrics to ensure our estimates are accurate.  This session reviews common issues we face when estimating documentation projects and identifies ways to resolve these issues.  During his session, he will walk thru a comprehensive, flexible estimation process and discuss several examples that demonstrate ways to customize this process.

During the session, you will learn:

  • How you can use metrics and Excel to estimate documentation projects.
  • What benefits this metrics-based approach provides.
  • How you can customize the metrics and processes to meet your specific needs.
  • What issues you should consider, such as review cycles and release coordination.

This session includes both descriptive information about estimating documentation projects and real world examples and techniques. Experience with various types of documentation deliverables will help attendees visualize potential issues and identify ways to address those issues and adapt the process for their specific needs.

When?
Tuesday October 16, 2012
6:30 PM Networking and Refreshments
7:00 PM Program

Where?

The Winter Park Civic Center 1050 W Morse Boulevard, Winter Park, FL (407) 599-3341

How Much?

  • Students who are Orlando Chapter STC members: $5.00
  • Students who are not Orlando Chapter STC members: $15.00
  • Non-Students who are Orlando Chapter STC members: $15.00
  • All others: $25.00

How Do I RSVP?
Email vicepresident@stc-orlando.org

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Do YOU have an article you’d like to submit for Memo to Members? Don’t be shy… email me at newsletter@stc-orlando.org. You will get an Active Member point for your submission.

Until next time,

Alex Garcia
Editor
Memo to Members
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC

President’s Corner

Karen_Lane

Karen Lane

By Karen Lane
President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
president@stc-orlando.org

This month your STC chapter has something very special in store. We are having our monthly meeting on Tuesday, October 16, and we’ve invited a very special speaker, Paul Mueller. You can read more about this meeting elsewhere in this issue. We are fortunate to have a speaker of Paul’s caliber here in Central Florida, so I hope you’ll make every effort to attend.

To make this month especially, well, special, we also have another gathering planned. By the time you read this, some of our local technical communicators will have had the privilege of meeting and speaking with our colleague from Shanghai, Shuoyi Li, who shares with us the state of technical communication in China. This meeting on October 11 was announced several times on the Orlando Announcements mailing list. If you didn’t receive your notice, make sure you are subscribed so you don’t miss out in the future when new events are being planned. The mailing list is open to everyone who is interested in our Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter activities, regardless of membership status, and subscription information can be found here: http://mailman.stc.org/mailman/listinfo/orlandostc_announce

Speaking of membership status, are you aware that membership renewals have begun as of October 1? This year the Society is trying something new that I think you will like: Everyone who joins or renews a classic membership for 2013 by December 31 is eligible for a discounted rate of $195 (regularly $225). Your chapter and SIG dues are in addition to this basic rate. In addition, memberships are prorated from the time you join. As a benefit to new members, you can sign up for your 2013 membership now and have your coverage begin today, all for the same price: That’s 15 months for the price of 12. Pretty good, right? But wait: there’s more! Check out the new Member Get a Member program: http://www.stc.org/membership/join-or-renew-now/mgam. Recruit new members by January 15 and get a $25 credit toward your 2013 membership for each referral, up to the price of a classic or student membership. Such a deal!

In other chapter news, we will be announcing a new meeting location for our 2013 meetings. As many of you know, we’ve been meeting at the Winter Park Civic Center for a number of years, and we have been glad to do so, as the location has been convenient for many (but of course not all) attendees. October’s meeting will remain at the Winter Park Civic Center, but beginning in February 2013 our chapter meetings will be held in a new, even-more-convenient location. Stay tuned for further news on this subject.

At September’s meeting you may have noticed some attention being paid to the technical aspects of the program and its presentation. We’re glad to let you know that the chapter has acquired an account with Meeting Burner, which should enable us to distribute our meetings to distant locations and to archive those for which that would be appropriate. Since our chapter covers such a wide geographic area—including our member in Sweden!—we’re excited about the possibilities that will now be open to us. We will let you know when we have more of the details figured out.

And last for now: Don’t forget our two holiday get-togethers: Our November 13 Dinner of Thanks and our December 11 Holiday Reunion. Both these events will provide occasions for you to interact with your friends and colleagues in a social setting, and your spouses, partners, adult family members, and friends are welcome. You will receive specific information about these events as the times draw nearer.

For now, enjoy what passes for autumn in Florida!

If You Missed Last Meeting…

Sarah Baca

By Sarah Baca
Treasurer
Orlando Chapter STC
treasurer@stc-orlando.org

…You missed:

Our President Karen Lane gave us a wonderful introduction to the Orlando Central Florida Chapter Active Member Program. We were excited to have a few new members join us for the meeting this month. They introduced themselves to all of us.

Patricia Cruz told us about the IEEE conference, October 8th to 10th at the University of Central Florida. The conference focuses on graphic design and user experience. She offered to give more information to those who are interested.

Karen Lane told us about a southwest (Osceola, Disney, etc.) area mixer for members and nonmembers.

Our Speaker: Debra from Wyndham Vacation Ownership

Debra leads the technical communication team at Wyndham Vacation Ownership. She was given the prohibitive task of corralling all the content that the company already had, which was all over the place. They have over 700 Sharepoint sites in IT alone.  Debra worked with management to start a single source for documentation.

Debra’s Goals and Objectives

Debra had many requirements for her content tool.  She needed

  • A way to create professional looking documentation
  • To be sure she wasn’t wasting time on the appearance of the documents (as you would in Word)
  • One single place for the project managers to keep all of their documentation
  • A tool that would help her team develop a strategy and allow them to easily and quickly search the content
  • A way to show management the importance of documentation
  • To eliminate the content silos

Moving from a Distributed Authoring Model

To solve these problems, she chose to move to a centralized authoring model.

The Tool

Debra looked at RoboHelp, MapCap Flare, Author-it, etc. After considering all of her options, she chose Author-it. One of the biggest draws for her was Aspect, the publishing engine. Author-it has several pieces to their product. They have a component content management system. That system renders the content into a Knowledge Base type of format to dynamically present content. For example, you can set it up to only show specific information based on the user’s role (manager, CEO) or location (California, New York).

Debra and her team take the content written by engineers and enter it into their system. The team first checks to see what content already exists. If the content already exists, they get a pop-up showing them the current content and then they can add to or edit the existing content. They can publish to multiple formats from one place. They have several different outputs but the primary one is “Aspect,” which is the output used by their system. It is not in a book format. It’s a dynamic logic-based rendering.

The team can receive requests from users or be assigned to a project. Everything that they get or create they import into the tool. They don’t necessarily have to write it from scratch, the tool allows them to input the content. They can also link to SharePoint documents or external documents.

They have had major gains in the documentation that they create. It is already set up with styles so they don’t waste time working on that.

Debra showed us some Author-it sample content through the authoring version of the tool. We were really excited to see all the functionality and content management that Author-it provides.

We are very grateful to Debra for taking the time to demonstrate Author-it and explain her process for deciding on a tool. It was a great talk, and we all learned a lot.

 

Meeting Sponsorship Program

Mary Burns

By Mary Burns
Hospitality Chair
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Hospitality@stc-orlando.org

Do you work for a company that would like more exposure in the technical communication community? Would your company like to have its corporate brand featured in our monthly newsletter and on our chapter Web site?

Orlando Central Florida  Chapter of STC has openings for meeting sponsorships that provide just such benefits. As the sponsor of one of our chapter meetings, depending on the sponsorship level (> $100, $300, $450), your company receives:

  • Free company advertisement on the chapter Web site.
  • Free company advertisement in Memo to Members, sent to our mailing list (members and non-members).
  • Mention of the sponsorship in the electronic meeting announcement sent to our mailing list (members and non-members).
  • Announcement of the sponsorship at the meeting. Your company representative is our welcome guest. Some sponsors bring business cards to distribute and provide company-branded giveaways for our monthly door prizes.

Look for more details in your inbox and our website soon.

 

Don’t Forget! Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award Nominations

Erika Higgins

By Erika Higgins
Jaffe Award Chair/Immediate Past President/Director-at-Large
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
jaffeaward@stc-orlando.org

Do you know a technical communicator (including yourself) who:

Creates innovative documentation?

  • Has made significant contributions to businesses, education, leadership, and/or STC in the Central Florida area?
  • Has implemented good communication practices for his or her company or clients?
  • Is a mentor for newcomers to the industry?
  • Exemplifies what it means to be a technical communicator?
  • Deserves recognition from his or her peers in the Greater Orlando Technical Communication industry?

Well, now is your chance to shine a spotlight on this special Technical Communicator! How? Nominate him or her for the 2013 Orlando Chapter STC Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communicator Award (Jaffe Award). And, yes, you CAN nominate yourself. Don’t be modest, you deserve it!

The process is easy. Simply complete the online application on Survey Monkey. Nominations will be accepted until November 5, 2012 at:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PM9R9B8

About the Award:

The Jaffe Award is named for Orlando Chapter founder and retired University of Central Florida Technical Communication professor Gloria Jaffe. Her leadership is reflected in the enduring communication values prized by the Orlando Chapter and in the professionalism of UCF graduates who had the opportunity to study with her.

Benefits:

  • Strengthen your resume
  • Demonstrate value to current employers
  • Celebrate the contributions of an outstanding technical communicator
  • Join such prestigious Orlando Chapter STC Members and Jaffe Award winners as:
    • David Coverston
    • Debra Johnson
    • Molly Townsend
    • Kelli Pharo
    • Dan Voss
    • Alan Gaynor
    • Dr. Gail Lippincott
    • Dr. Dan Jones
    • Lillian Laitman-McAnally
    • W.C. Wiese

Eligibility:

  • No entry fee
  • Society members and non-members are eligible.
  • You CAN nominate yourself–or a well deserving peer.
  • All nominations are anonymous, so there is no reason to be shy!
  • Applications can be found at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/PM9R9B8
  • Deadline for nominations is 6 PM on November 5, 2012

The award winner will be recognized at our chapter meeting in January 2013 on the campus of UCF. For more information, contact Gloria Jaffe Award Committee Manager Erika Higgins at jaffeaward@stc-orlando.org

Good Luck!