The following post is by Ramesh Aiyyanger, candidate for the Nominating Committee in the 2015 STC elections.

Greetings STC members! I’m Ramesh Aiyyangar, and I’m a candidate for the STC Nominating Committee.

I am passionate about technical communications and STC. My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion and compassion. I have had very early interests in writing. Though I graduated in science, I always wanted to pursue a career in writing. I earned a post graduate degree in Journalism and Communications, studied computers, and also learnt the German language. I entered the world of journalism and wrote several human interest and social articles for leading publications. Before joining the software industry (and specifically the technical communications field), I had multi-disciplinary experience across various fields, including: journalism, corporate communications, public relations, training, and management. The common thread though was communications. For 20+ years, I learnt the art and science of technical communications while developing and managing information. Currently, I am employed as Business Head – Technical Communications at Persistent. [click to continue…]


Consultant’s Corner at the 2015 Tech Comm Summit

by Marisa Seitz on 25 February 2015

Summit 2015Independent consultants are invited again this year to join the STC Consultant’s Corner at the 2015 Tech Comm Summit, 21-24 June in Columbus, OH. The Consultant’s Corner you the opportunity to market directly to your target audience and build valuable professional relationships with leading technical communicators from around the world. STC Consultant’s Corner provides an inexpensive way to participate in a large show while still being extremely beneficial in reaching your new prospects and current customers.

  • Take advantage of exhibiting at a large show
  • Space is sold on a first-come first-served basis
  • Limited space available in 3-foot sections
  • Skirted Table
  • Post-attendee list
  • Tabletop space is restricted to independent consultants who are registered in the STC database

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Renew My STC Membership Again? Why Should I?

by Marisa Seitz on 24 February 2015

The following post is by Lisa Pietrangeli, candidate for Director in the 2015 STC elections.

Why did you renew your STC membership this year? Did you pay for your membership habitually or feel obligated to do so?

Do you ever question the value that membership provides your life, career, and company? Do you feel like you offer value as a member to other STC members? (‘Cuz it goes both ways, you know.)

Do you need to be a member of STC? [click to continue…]


AIIP Annual Conference—STC Member Discount

by Marisa Seitz on 12 February 2015

AIIP Annual ConferenceThe Association of Independent Information Professionals (AIIP) Annual Conference for 2015 is in Irvine, CA, 16-19 April. STC members are being offered a special discounted rate on early-bird registration through 1 March. The AIIP Annual Conference is a great investment for all info-centric professionals, independent and otherwise. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn, network, and participate in the AIIP community, check out the conference website today:


The poor usability of any form can be attributed to ambiguous instructions and confusing labels. Not all developers are familiar with best practices of form design, which creates an opportunity for you—the technical communicator—to provide suggestions for improvement.

I worked on a project to design an office application to replace paper-based forms. The staff was satisfied with using paper-based forms and using email to distribute them for review and approval. The new application would use browser-based forms that integrated with other office applications and automated approvals.

The project followed the Agile development process, which requires demos at the end of each sprint. Business analysts used mock-ups to show design concepts and validate design decisions. Every meeting with users resulted in enhancements to the mock-ups. The mock-ups were quickly updated in preparation for the next meeting. In the haste to convert the mock-ups into online forms, developers overlooked that instructions were poorly written and the labels of buttons confusing. [click to continue…]


lindaslessonsThe second part of this blog topic focuses on the benefits I received from being an STC member. Read on to find out How STC Supported and Embraced Me (Or, to paraphrase the Beatles, “In the end, the love you get is GREATER than the love you give.”)

After that first STC conference in 1984, and through the years, I have served on many committees: Academic/Industry Liaison, Conferences, Research, Publicity, and others. The first two in that list became part of who I am today and have run in and out of my STC/professional life for more than 30 years. Sometime in the mid-1980s, after helping to develop and teach a 40-hour class to scientists and engineers, through STC connections, I began teaching technical writing at San Diego Community Colleges. That beginning has lasted: I still balance my regular job with teaching part time! [click to continue…]


Guest post by Elizabeth Bailey, International Summit Awards Committee Entries Manager

The Society for Technical Communication’s International Summit Awards (ISA) competition is accepting chapter or regional entries through 31 January 2015. To qualify, the entry must have been produced or substantially revised within 24 months prior to 1 September 2014 and won an Award of Excellence or Distinguished Technical Communication Award at a local or regional STC competition in 2014–15. All STC ISA entries must be submitted using the online submission form.

We continue to use the same four categories of entries:

  • Informational Materials
  • Instructional Materials
  • Promotional Materials
  • User Support Materials

Information on these categories and rules for all entries can be viewed here.

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The Society for Technical Communication (STC) is soliciting proposals for the editorship of Technical Communication for a three-year, renewable commitment. The first issue for the new editor will be January 2016, but the appointed editor should be available to work with the current editor in 2015. The new editor should be an accomplished scholar, a (preferably) tenured member of the faculty, and a senior member of STC who is conversant with and committed to its goals. A successful proposal must demonstrate both the prospective editor’s credentials and the host institution’s support for publishing the journal. The deadline for submission has been extended to 1 April 2015.

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Doc-To-Help, Microsoft Word-based Multi-Channel Authoring Tool Joins MadCap Software Award-Winning XML-based Suite for Content Creation, Translation, and Multi-Channel Publishing to Serve More Authors

La Jolla, CA – 7 January 2015 – MadCap Software, the leader in multi-channel content authoring and a showcase company for Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) Visual Studio and Microsoft XPS, today announced the acquisition of Doc-To-Help from GrapeCity.

Doc-To-Help, which comes from the ComponentOne Division of GrapeCity, is the market’s leading Microsoft Word-based authoring tool for multi-channel publishing. It represents a strategic complement to the award-winning MadCap Suite of XML tools for creating, analyzing, translating, and publishing multimedia content across multiple channels. Together, the offerings enable MadCap to provide the industry a full spectrum of content authoring solutions, regardless of the user’s skillset, industry, or requirements. Additionally, Doc-To-Help customers now will be able to take advantage of the best-in-class support delivered by MadCap’s U.S.-based team of technical communication experts.

Under terms of the agreement, MadCap Software now owns all Doc-To-Help assets, including the Doc-To-Help product, related intellectual property, and customer contracts. As a strategic addition to the company, Doc-To-Help is moving to the MadCap Software headquarters in La Jolla, CA. [click to continue…]


Discovering Columbus

by Marisa Seitz on 2 December 2014

Today’s blog post about the 2015 Summit location, Columbus, OH, comes to us from Liz Herman.

When STC announced the location of the 2015 Technical Communication Summit, there were mixed reactions. Columbus, Ohio. “What? Where?” people asked. I get it. I only discovered Columbus, Ohio when I traveled to the city for a job interview with Battelle last year. I was hired for the job and, although I am located in Battelle’s Arlington, Virginia office, I have spent a good amount of time traveling to Battelle’s Columbus-based headquarters over the past year. I can tell you that I have been pleasantly surprised by Columbus. I asked some Battelle colleagues working there to share what they find interesting and unique about Columbus.

Columbus Night Skyline [click to continue…]