From The Editor’s Desk

It has been a couple months since our last issue so we have an extra large issue this month!

Please be sure to check the Washlines XX article with a table containing presentation topics, times, and durations.

In effort to catch you up, I have two articles for “If You Missed The Last Meeting…”, one for the June Awards Banquet and one for the July Leadership Retreat.

There has been a lot on my plate lately with working and moving, so next month should be easier for me to get back into the swing of things.

Enjoy the issue and I hope to see you at Washlines XX!
R.D. Sharninghouse
Secretary and Editor, Memo 2 Members Newsletter
rdsharninghouse@gmail.com

The President’s Corner

Debra JohnsonThe President’s Corner

By Debra Johnson, President
Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter
president@stc-orlando.org

 

( I wanted to give a special nod to the original author of an article on the Internet I used as reference, however,I lost the original source page… so forgive me… I have copied some, paraphrased and embellished)

Technical Communication KPIs

A Key Performance Indicators (KPI) should ultimately save a company money, or make a company money. Choosing the right KPIs relies upon a good understanding of what is important to your organization.

Useful Content/Documentation can save money by reducing support and training costs.  It can help with better decision-making, or it can earn the company money by increasing sales (in my case it would most likely be the first two).  When it comes to Documentation, saving and making money for a company is a bonus rather than the main point though… For me, it’s usually a part of the delivery of the software product…meant to educate/inform users.

I have been asked to come up with KPIs as the Practice Lead for the Technical Communication here at Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

So, on its own, content/documentation might not meet the standard criteria for a “good” return on investment that a KPI might normally measure.  A more appropriate KPI might be around ensuring that the documentation process is as efficient as it can be, and is not a bottleneck within the development and delivery process.   This then becomes part of the larger operational efficiency KPI.

On the other hand, quality, isn’t necessarily about the classic measurements of consistency, accuracy, and so on, but is instead about whether the content actually meets customers’ needs.  Fully implementing a feedback system here at WVO on our content would partially enable us to measure that.  Soliciting feedback on an ongoing basis during project duration isn’t “measurable”, in the sense of surveys.  It usually means if someone has concerns, they come to me, as a lead, so I can address them before it impacts publishing and the project.

Surveying our internal customers (the documentation requestors, PMs, SMEs, Project leads for example) with a limited number of questions about our process, and our performance regarding timeliness, accuracy, and meeting user needs is our normal determination of performance.  Doing this once per year per individual, means that the internal customers aren’t getting multiple surveys. It also gets a better response rate.

Here at WVO, we are at the final stages of setting up a TechComm request process that uses the same tracking solution as our enhancement or infrastructure requests, etc.  The need for documentation is entered as a request. Requests are then routed through a queue process that notifies the requestor of any status changes (active, in development, in review, published, etc.) and provides a link to view the request.  As we add writers, we can assign the queues to specific team members.  Eventually, we can create a customer satisfaction survey that auto generates whenever a request is closed. We’ll be able to generate reports to see if something is left “in review” for a lengthy period of time, so we can identify the bottlenecks. We’ll be able to track turnaround time and set goals accordingly. We’re just at the beginning stages, and I’m sure we’ll have to work out some issues in the workflow, routing/notification, etc.

Some KPIs in TechComm can be deceptive. To pick an obvious example, measuring grammatical and spelling errors per page is comparatively easy and will probably help to reduce that KPI number. But one very fast way to improve this KPI is by changing the page layout, so there’s less text per page. Fewer words and more pages lead to fewer mistakes per page – without correcting a single word.  In addition, the measure won’t improve documentation that’s out of date or incomplete or incomprehensible.

What’s right as a KPI for one team is completely wrong for another. Measuring errors on the page is only a valuable KPI if the number of errors on a page relates closely to the purpose of your documentation.

If there is a close relationship, then it’s a useful KPI.

So what would be better KPIs? It depends on your particular TechComm strategies….

If your strategy is to make customer support more cost-effective, we can measure (expensive) support calls against (cheaper, self-service) documentation traffic, while trying to align our documentation topics, so they can effectively answer support questions.

If your strategy is to improve customer retention, you can measure users’ search terms for documentation, number of clicks and visit time per page, while trying to optimize content for findability and relevance to users’ search terms.  You would have to more fully implement Google Analytics or another Analytics program.

If your strategy is to improve content reuse and topic maintenance, you could measure redundant content to drive down the number of topics that have mixed topic-type content:  However, as long as you still have abundant conceptual information in task topics, you probably will have redundant content. If you move to window and field help reference information in task or concept topics, you would most definitely have redundant content.

Some KPIs,  I want to consider would be

  • TechComm Operational Effectiveness:
    • Cycle time (dependent on whether the documentation owner chooses to sacrifice quality for speed to market)…meeting deadlines
    • Timeliness
    • Feedback (routine surveys after projects)
    • Accuracy and effectiveness gathered through:
      • User Feedback submitted to the Technical Publication mailbox from internal partners
      • Revisions requested/required outside of a release cycle
      • Changes in customer support contact rate (when content can be correlated with specific topics)

What do you think???

Debra

See you at Washlines “XX”

A View From Number Two

Mary Burns

By Mary Burns
Vice President
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
Vicepresident@stc-Orlando.org

 

 

 

The View from Number 2

I’m excited to be serving the chapter as Vice President. For years I was a “sleeping member” of Orlando Central Florida STC. I rarely attended meetings, although I read STC publications, did some online learning, and batted editing queries around the technical editing SIG.

Then I discovered what a great group this is. I met people like me, with a passion for writing well and a commitment to being an end-user advocate. People who enjoy being with and supporting other technical communicators, as shown by all those who have encouraged me in my leadership journey.

All of this, as well as the latest trends in the profession, await you at this month’s Washlines meeting, a rousing chapter tradition. Washlines XX kicks off a great year of meetings with speakers on topics requested by you in last year’s topic survey.

We will be exploring subjects such as instructional design, documentation project management, style guides, and accessibility. Panels such as “120 Years of Career Advice” are in the works.  A few social events will help us connect with our friends and enjoy the lighter side of being a technical communicator.

I hope that this will be your year of getting more involved with Orlando CFL STC!

If You Missed The Last Meeting…June Edition

If You Missed The Last Meeting…June Edition

By R.D. Sharninghouse Secretary for Orlando STC, Editor for Memo 2 Members Newsletter
rdsharninghouse@gmail.com

2014-06-19 Awards Celebration

On June 19, 2014, the Orlando Central Florida chapter STC had their  Awards Celebration at Tibby’s New Orleans Kitchen.  The restaurant was festive with New Orleans inspired artwork, photos, and other memorabilia. The cajun-style food was exquisite.

President Debra Johnson

The room was filled with members, students, family, and friends of the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC.  Debra Johnson, the President of the Orlando chapter, did a wonderful job welcoming everyone. Other members of the  Administrative Council in attendance included:

Vice President Sarah Baca: Vice President Sarah Baca Secretary Mary Burns: Secretary Mary Burns Director Mark Wray:Director Mark Wray
Director David Coverston: Director David Coverston Newsletter Editor RD Sharninghouse: 2014-06-19 21.03.51 Mentoring Program Chair          Dan Voss:2014-06-19 20.40.08-1

Treasurer, Alex Garcia and Immediate Past President, Karen Lane, were unable to attend but were with us in spirit.


2014-06-19 20.22.382014-06-19 PellegrinScholarshipMemorialDan Jones and Dan Voss presented the Melissa Pellegrin Memorial Scholarship.  This scholarship fund was founded to honor and preserve the memory and generous spirit of our valued friend and professional colleague, Melissa Pellegrin.  Melissa’s family were in attendance for support and to light the candle for the memorial display. The two recipients this year were:

Charles Maise

Charles Maise

James Vrhovac

James Vrhovac


2014-06-19 20.29.072014-06-19 MarkWray JaffeErica Higgins presented the Gloria Jaffe Outstanding Technical Communication Award.  This award is named for Orlando Chapter founder and retired University of Central Florida professor Glorida Jaffe.  The recipient this year was Orlando Chapter Director at Large, Mark Wray.


Debra Johnson presented the STC Society Awards:

2014-06-19 MikeMurray Asoc FellowMike Murray received Associate Fellow for his contribution to the STC. Mark Wray received the Distinguished Chapter Service Award.  Candace Du Lac (not in attendance) received the Distinguished Service Award for Students.

The Orlando Chapter was the 8th time winner for Chapter of Distinction, 2nd time winner for Community of the Year, and the winner of the Pacesetter award.  A great finish to a very productive year!


David Coverston awarded STC shirts to active members. I would like to add that I received my very first STC shirt!

2014-06-19 20.45.47

My first STC shirt!

My first STC shirt!


Sarah Baca presented the Vice President Award to Debra Johnson. Chapter members also awarded Debra with flashy lanyards, because that’s her thing. Hahaha

2014-06-19 20.54.39 2014-06-19 20.53.41
2014-06-19 20.52.20 2014-06-19 20.51.29 2014-06-19 21.02.14

Debra Johnson presented Sarah Baca with the President’s Award, and also presented the Service Awards to the rest of the chapter.
2014-06-19 21.00.292014-06-19 20.59.58-22014-06-19 20.59.02-22014-06-19 20.58.192014-06-19 20.56.482014-06-19 20.41.162014-06-19 20.40.08-12014-06-19 20.39.25


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W.C. Wiese welcomed the new officers for 2014-2015: Debra Johnson, President; Mary Burns, Vice President; R.D. Sharninghouse, Secretary; Alex Garcia, Treasurer; David Coverston, Director; and Mark Wray, Director.

The people, energy, atmosphere, and of course the great food, all made for a beautiful night.  Congratulations to all award recipients and thank you to all of those who could join us in celebrating another year of dedication in the Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC!Special thanks to W.C. Wiese who acted as photographer for most of the night.  There were a lot of great pictures taken.  Here are some more for your viewing pleasure…after the jump. Continue reading

If You Missed The Last Meeting…July Edition

R.D. Sharninghouse
Secretary for Orlando STC, Editor for Memo 2 Members Newsletter
rdsharninghouse@gmail.com

If You Missed The Last Meeting…July Edition

By R.D. Sharninghouse

On July 12, 2014, the Orlando Chapter of the STC attended their Leadership Retreat at the Wood Grille Buffet.  The Leadership Retreat is a day long, fun-filled affair where everything in the Orlando chapter STC is planned out for the next year.  Games, ice-breakers, and other activities are involved to break up the monotony and keep things interesting.

Be sure to stay in touch with STC emails and the Memo to Members newsletter for updates and current events with the Orlando chapter STC!

STC Chapter CPK Flyer

Here is the California Pizza Kitchen Flyer for the September 9th Administrative Council meeting, from Alex Garcia.  Please print this out and bring it with you when you attend the AdCo meeting in September at the California Pizza Kitchen in Millenia Mall.

This AdCo meeting is also open to family and friends!  We hope to see you there!

STC Chapter CPK Flyer

STC Chapter CPK Flyer PNG
 

 

 

 

Address:  4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando, FL 32839

Washlines XX

Tech Com Tidbits from Summits Past and Present
Washlines Celebrates 20th Anniversary Thursday Night at the WPCC!

By Dan Voss
Education Committee

Phoenix_Left_Image_WXXEmerald_Right_Image_WXXBe there for a piece of history as the chapter’s venerable tradition of chapter-year-opening August meetings—Washlines—hits its 20th milestone on this Thursday, August 21, as we return to our former “digs” at the Winter Park Civic Center on Morse Boulevard off 17-92. Post time is 6:30 p.m.

This year’s Washlines is brought to you by a somewhat different cast than the previous 19 versions of our annual festive progression, which has traditionally consisted of table-top mini-presentations at a half dozen venues, brought to you by chapter members who attended the previous spring’s Summit (STC’s annual international conference), themed to the city where the latest Summit took place.

Well, this time, readying good ol’ Washlines for its Emerald Anniversary edition proved to be a bit of a challenge. That’s because in a dramatic reversal of the large contingents of general and student members the chapter has typically deployed to the international conference, this year, for various reasons, we only had two members in attendance at the 61st STC international conference in Phoenix, Arizona—our chapter president, Debra Johnson, and our Jacksonville STC luminary, Jack Molisani.

Fortunately, they’ll both agreed to serve as venue hosts again this year, with Jack again graciously making the long trek down from J-Ville to bring us highlights from two of his conference presentations—he’s a veteran dynamic conference presenter—and Debra taking time from her presidential chapter duties to put together and bring you mini-presentations from a number of the sessions she attended in Phoenix.

Jack’s venue will be themed to his topics; Debra’s will be themed to Phoenix.

GoldCupCash_Right_Image_WXXSo what about the other four venues?  What about the conference theme?  What about the venue colors, the balloons, the traditional give-aways (edible and otherwise), the banter, the noise level, the across-the-room water pistol duels?  What about the charts on the wash line? Alas, what were we to do—end a 20-year tradition just as we are nearing the Guinness Book of World Records (22 years for annual carnival-like professional progressions, set in Pocatello, Idaho, 1958-1979) when we are so close?

No way.

So the AdCo (Administrative Council) put our collective heads together and came up with a solution we think you’ll like.

Gamification_Left_Image_WXXWe invited W.C. Wiese and Karen Lane to do a “blast from the past,” reprising mini-presentations from past tours of duty as Washlines venue hosts on topics that remain relevant today.  Both are veteran Summit presenters and attendees who have also served in high positions for Intergalactic (our chapter’s fond nickname for STC International)—W.C. as Society treasurer and Karen as a past program manager and several-time stem manager for the international conference.  Their tables will be themed to their topics and the cities that hosted the Summits they are reporting on.

We invited student members Bethany Aguad and Cory Bullinger to co-host a venue delivering mini-presentations on topics from the Phoenix conference by carving out time from their summer classes at UCF to review audiotaped slide presentations on “Summit-at-a-Click.” Bethany and Cory were both slated to make the Phoenix conference but both were late “scrubs” due to circumstances beyond their control.  They’ve chosen great topics and will bring another slice of the Phoenix conference program your way. Their venue, like Debra’s, will be themed to Phoenix.

True to the iconoclastic nature of its co-hosts, the sixth and final venue will depart altogether from the Washlines tradition.  The co-hosts, the Education Committee co-managers (a.k.a., Yours Truly and Lisa Bottomley), neither of whom attended the conference in Phoenix, will be regaling you with a live demo of the chapter’s proposed educational outreach initiative at Ocoee High School, aptly entitled “Knights Write” after the mascot of both Ocoee H.S. and UCF.

Drawing_Left_Image_WXXWe will be asking, bribing, arm-twisting begging—whatever it takes to get one hours of your valuable time!—for your support on an exciting project that aims to leverage concepts and instructional materials from the technical communication professional to help the Ocoee H.S. faculty improve their students’ scores on the just-introduced rigorous national “Common Core” anchor standards for writing.

 

If we can sign up some volunteers at Washlines XX, we’ll be ready to engage the Academic SIG and the Willamette Valley chapter—our partners in the Sigma Tau Delta outreach initiative that netted our three communities a joint 2014 STC Pacesetter Award in Phoenix (see, we DO have a Phoenix connection at our table!)—in the project and hopefully bring home another Pacesetter in 2015 by making a benchmark contribution to the high school writing curriculum that could ultimately have national impact.

At the end of the day, we believe we have put together an excellent program, worthy of the 20th anniversary of our venerable Washlines tradition. The event program is provided below.

Let’s start our chapter year out with a bang at Washlines’ Emerald event!  See you in Winter Park Thursday evening!

 

                    

 

 

 

Phoenix2_Left_Image_WXXEmerald2_Right_Image_WXXWashlines XX, the Emerald Edition: Event Program         

Thursday, August 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m., Winter Park Civic Center

R1 = Rotation 1 (7:25-7:50)     R2 = Rotation 2 (7:50-8:15)     R3 = Rotation 3 (8:15-8:40)     X = Closed           þ = Open

 

Venue Theme

Color

Host(s)

R1

R2

R3

Topics and Original Presenters

Coke

Red

Karen Lane

þ

þ

X

  • “Social Media and Your Documentation” (Jennifer White)
  • “Using Foreign Accented Speech: To Localize or Not?” (Halcyon M. Lawrence)
Phoenix 2
(Comic Strip  Bird)

Green

Bethany Bowles and Cory Bullinger

X

þ

þ

  • “Bridging the Gap: Connecting Industry to the Classroom”
    (
    Brittany McCrigler)
  • “Power of Emotion: The Seven Archetypes of Video Storytelling” (Scott Abel)
Phoenix 1 (Mythological Bird)

Orange

Debra Johnson

þ

X

þ

  • “Empowering Writers with a Killer Career Path”
    (
    Sue Warnke and Seth Katz – Salesforce.com)
  • “API Technical Writing: What, Why, and How” (Sarah Maddox – Google)
Georgia Aquarium (Atlanta Conference)

Aqua

W.C. Wiese

þ

þ

X

  • “Every Page Is Page One” (Mark Baker)
  • “Creating User Experience for Gamified Products” (Marta Rauch)
  • “How to Build a (Web) Referral Machine” (Donte Ormsby)
“Knights Write”: Ocala H.S. Project

Black and Gold

Dan  Voss
Lisa Bottomley

X

þ

þ

  • Target: Pacesetter 2015.  Needed: You!”
Bank

Gold

Jack Molisani

þ

X

þ

  • “Monetizing Your Content”
  • “Be the Captain of Your Career”
Total Rainbow! 8 Presenters, 6 Venues

 

 

 

  • 12 Mini-Presentations