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User Assistance Tools Survey
in Progress

The annual User Assistance Tools Survey is now in progress.
The survey is designed to give you information drawn specifically from the user assistance community. Please consider contributing your experiences. Results will be publicly available on the WritersUA site.

Joe Welinske Webinar

How to Craft Your User Assistance to Accommodate a Variety of Interaction Types.

For those who missed it, have no fear, click here!

STC Sacramento Calendar

Click here to view the Sacramento Metro chapter's Google Calendar...



Topic & Speaker


6/9/16 6:30pm-8:30pm

Lightning Talks: How to Make Your Web Site a Super Hero

Semantic Markup in HTML5
HTML5 includes built-in elements that assign meaning to parts of your web page. These semantic identifiers not only help the visually impaired navigate your page, they help machine readers locate and catalog key information. Homer will introduce the primary elements, lay out the structure of a typical page, and talk about how to use them effortlessly in help-authoring tools such as MadCap Software’s Flare.

Responsive Web Page Elements using Flexbox
Flexbox is a markup element built right in to CSS3, and it allows you to create page layout containers that can shrink, grow, and rearrange based on the size of the screen viewing the page. By adding only a few lines of code, you can set up flex containers and items, whether it be the holy grail layout of a page or a group of icons or photos. In this talk, Homer shows the basic CSS code you add for the container and the items, demonstrate how they rearrange, and give some examples in use. 

Using jQuery on your Site
jQuery is the most popular library of javascript calls, used by more than half of the top 10 million websites. It is a great collection of shortcuts that you can use to quickly add functionality to your site. This high-level overview will introduce jQuery, show how to in

June Meeting Prices

Parallax Inc. 
599 Menlo Dr #100, Rocklin, CA 95765
3/19/16 10:00am - 2:00pm

Saturday Workshop: Introduction to API Documentation with Tom Johnson

The demand for technical writers with the skills to document APIs is huge and growing. Here is your chance to learn about REST APIs from Tom Johnson. 
At its core, REST API documentation focuses on requests and responses. Surrounding this core, there are a host of details to cover, such as authentication, endpoints, parameters, methods, response formats, rate limits, error codes, and more. In publishing REST API documentation, you can create interactive documentation using specifications such as Swagger, RAML, or API Blueprint. In this half-day workshop, you will learn how to document REST APIs in depth. 
Register today! Space is limited.

Rocklin Public Library
4890 Granite Dr, Rocklin, CA 95677
2/11/16 6:30pm

2105 Summit Playback: Preparing Legacy Help Projects for Responsive Design—Design Issues with Neil Perlin

 What happens to your neatly laid-out screens when the content has to run on different devices with different screen sizes and other display properties? What conversion problems can you expect and what do you do about them? In this practical session, we’ll look at:

  • The effect of responsive design on “structured content” under varying definitions of “structure.”
  •  How minimalism applies to content for responsive design, or for all content. 
  • The effect of scaling on images, deciding when to include or exclude images, and the effect of excluding images on text that reference those images. 
  • How to create multiple outputs using conditionality when you’re only generating one output. 
  • The effect of scaling on image maps. 
  • The effect of scaling on complex tables.
  • The effect of scaling on “movies” in general, and the need to convert from SWF to HTML5 for output to iOS devices. 
  • And more….

Please register before noon the day of the meeting to allow time to download and set up Adobe Connect.

12/10/15 6:30pm-8:30pm

STC Sacramento Metro Holiday Party

Please click here to RSVP

This is a free event!!

We look forward to seeing you there!

Stanford Village Community Clubhouse
3315 Stanford Village Court
Rocklin, CA 95765
11/12/15 6:30pm-8:00pm

STC Summit Playback-Information Design for Technical Communicators with Linda Oestreich,

Missed the 2015 STC Summit in Columbus? We are bringing a session to you with the recorded audio and slide presentation from the conference! 

Information Design for Technical Communicators
Knowing information design and understanding how to apply it properly to your online and offline documentation is a required skill to be a consummate technical communicator. Learn what information design is, how it affects your audience, and how to speak about it to information architects, graphic artists, and typographers. This presentation helps you see how important it is for every technical communicator to understand basic information design.Your takeaways will be an overview of principles, definitions, leaders in the field, and your own ability to embrace what’s needed to enhance your career. 

Linda is senior consultant with The Marlin Alliance, supporting the Director of Human Resources and EEO at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)-Headquarters. Prior to that, she was Senior Strategic Planner/Analyst supporting the Strategic Management and Business Planning Office for SPAWAR HQ in San Diego, CA. In the past, Linda worked as the principal of a consulting company, recruiter for that consulting company, human resource advocate, corporate communications manager, documentation manager, and technical writer/editor in various industries including software development, oil and gas, government, science and engineering R&D, and property management. 

She is an STC Fellow and past president of STC International. She served as board member at the international level of STC for more than 10 years.

TownePlace Suites by Marriott
10569 Fairway Drive
Roseville, CA 95678



Arrive at 5:30pm if you would like to purchase your own dinner and eat with us before the meeting.

Remedial Documentation and the Contract Technical Writer

Tech writers who work contract jobs soon notice that many clients should have had a tech writer much earlier. Instead, they built complex systems from sketches, messy tables—even verbal descriptions.
Key information becomes scattered—some of it in only in the heads of employees who have moved on to other projects or contractors about to leave. Your phone rings, and soon you’re waist-deep in a remedial documentation project. This presentation discusses how to:

  • Identify and meet client expectations
  • Find and evaluate messy notes, speadsheets, and tangled diagrams
  • Reach reluctant or elusive SME's
  • Use tools to see-for example-how an application uses web services, databases, and other resources

Even tech writers who work full time for a single company may find themselves called in on the tail end of a project to create documentation after the fact. Remedial documentation projects present great challenges—but there’s lots of work for those with the patience to handle them.

Bruce Poropat - Bio

Bruce Poropat is a San Francisco Bay Area technical writer who has worked on documentation projects for PG&E, University of California, Williams-Sonoma (twice), Charles Schwab (twice), Caltrans, Wells Fargo, Safeway, Zip Realty, and others. He lives in Berkeley with his family and plays guitar and bass with other local musicians. He and his wife, daughter, and son play in the San Francisco Scottish Fiddlers.

Firebird Russian Restaurant
4715 Manzanita Ave, Carmichael, CA 95608

9/10/15 7:00PM

September Webinar
Presented by Joe Welinske

Topic: An Aggressive Approach
to Concise Writing

Writing concisely is one of the fundamental skills central to any mobile user assistance. The minimal screen real estate can’t support large amounts of text and graphics without extensive gesturing by the users. Using small font sizes just makes the information unreadable unless the user pinches and stretches the text.
Even outside of the mobile space, your ability to streamline your content improves the likelihood it will be effectively consumed by your target audience.
This session offers a number of examples and techniques for reducing the footprint of your prose while maintaining a quality message. The examples used are in the context of mobile UA but can be applied to any technical writing situation.

Joe's upcoming events:

Mobile User Assistance Webinar Series – Aug 19
WritersUA Central – October 20-21, 2015 – Chicago

Mobile User Assistance Survey in Progress
The first annual Mobile User Assistance Survey is now in progress.
The survey is designed to give you information drawn specifically from the user assistance community. Please consider contributing your experiences. Results will be publicly available on the WritersUA site.

Mobile User Assistance Webinar Series – Aug 19
The popular three-part series on user assistance for mobile apps is back. Wednesday, August 19th is the date for all three.
Each webinar includes a recording of the audio and slides. This is a great chance to get up to speed on all aspects of mobile UA.

WritersUA Central – October 20-21, 2015 – Chicago
Whether you are supporting consumer software, enterprise or government systems, or mobile apps, the WritersUA event is a great opportunity to learn and network with your peers.
Two days of educational sessions, networking, and socializing. All the event details are on the conference web site. Registration is open.

Joe Wilenske's Bio:
Joe Welinske specializes in helping your software development effort through crafted communication. The best user experience features quality words and images in the user interface. The UX of a robust product is also enhanced through comprehensive user assistance. This includes Help, wizards, FAQs, videos and much more. For over twenty-five years, Joe has been providing training, contracting, and consulting services for the software industry. Joe recently published the book, Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps. He also teaches courses for Bellevue College, the University of California, and the University of Washington. Joe is an Associate Fellow of STC.

6/11/15 6:30pm-8:30pm

June Meeting:

Speaker: Andrew Davis

Resumes That Get You Noticed

6:30 dinner and networking
7:00 meeting

Andrew Davis' bio

Andrew Davis has recruited technical content developers in the SF Bay Area since 1995. He is a former software industry Technical Writer and has a reputation for both understanding and championing the role of content development.

Andrew enjoys helping those who communicate complex information get ahead by recognizing and refining their value to technology companies. He's candid and connected and, just as importantly, he likes to help tech industry workers achieve independence from intermediaries.

Andrew ran Synergistech Communications during the Internet Gold Rush years and has recently returned to solo recruiting mode under the aegis of Tech Comm Talent, Inc. He remains focused on recruiting great technical content development talent for discerning local technology companies. Join him on LinkedIn ( to learn more.

Firebird Russian Restaurant
4715 Manzanita Carmichael, CA 95608
5/14/15 7:00pm-8:00pm

May's Webinar Meeting

Delighting Mobile Customers with Content for Apps, Videos, and a Social Media Campaign
Learn how to delight customers by leveraging content across multiple channels. Hear how an information development team added value to a release and received positive feedback from customers. Discover best practices for:
·         Developing mobile content for mobile app stores, an in-app tour, mobile-friendly docs, and a responsive-design library
·         Running a social media campaign on Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook
·         Creating a mobile video and posting it on a mobile YouTube channel
·         Validating results through analytics and customer feedback
·         Communicating wins to demonstrate the department’s value to the organization

About the speaker:
Marta Rauch is a Senior Principal Information Developer at Oracle, where she  leads projects and develops content for mobile, cloud, and REST APIs.  She contributes videos to corporate YouTube channels and drives customer engagement through social media. Marta has over 165,000 connections on her personal social networks, and CircleCount ranks her in the top 160 U.S. women on Google+.

A frequent presenter for conferences and webinars, Marta has published articles for IEEE, HCII, STC, and CIDM Best Practices. She contributed information to Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps, byJoe Welinske and The Language of Content Strategyby Rahel Bailie and Scott Abel.

Marta is an STC Associate Fellow, and has received 15 awards for individual and team projects at the regional and international level. She is VP of the Silicon Valley chapter and a member of the Nominating Committee. She also reviews Summit proposals and judges International Summit Awards.

Marta has a degree from Stanford University and certificates from Notre Dame and University of California.

4/9/15 6:30pm-8:30pm

A Whole-Systems Approach to Documentation Management

This presentation introduces a management strategy that uses observation to discover work patterns, the natural strengths and inclinations of the team members,  and the prevailing corporate culture to design a holistic system that is supportive, sustainable, and collaborative, produces higher-quality documents, and creates a more enjoyable atmosphere for team members and managers alike. Developed to turn around a dysfunctional team, this whole-systems approach increased efficiencies upwards of 20% and brought about the successful approval and completion of a 5-year project.

R. N. Homer Christensen is an award-winning technical communicator and instructional designer with over 25 years experience. His client list has included Microsoft, Macromedia, and other leading software companies. He has presented nationally, has been an invited reader at poetry festivals in California, and was Poet-in-Residence at Salmon Publishing, in Ireland.
His work received the International Award of Distinction from the Society for Technical Communication, as well as two Awards of Excellence and an Award of Merit. As Sr. Instructional Designer, Sr. Tech Writer, and Documentation Lead for Dynamics Research Corporation, he led a team of writers and designers to successfully implement an state-wide roll-out of software for the State of California.  He is currently the Content Architect at Conga, a leading SalesForce application developer.
In his spare time, Homer is a certified permaculture designer, managing his urban food forest in historic Folsom, California.

599 Menlo Dr.
Rocklin, CA 95765

3/12/15 6:30pm-8:30pm

March 2015 Meeting Info

Using Interactive Content to Engage Users: Transforming a Terminology List

Terminology lists are something we all have to deal with.  They are typically dry and boring.  We go to them because we have to and we usually want to get away from them as quickly as we can.  We are all familiar with the standard way that definitions and glossaries are portrayed.  Wouldn’t it be nice to see an alternative way to convey that information?  I will show you how I created an engaging, fun, and interesting way of teaching terminology for a global manufacturer and the tool I used.  I will also show you how you can create something similar using a tool you likely already have on your computer: Microsoft PowerPoint.

Scott Nipper is the owner of Active E-Learning, a company providing online training design and development services.  Scott Nipper has been designing and developing elearning for over 12 years.  Scott has designed and developed dozens of elearning courses for Intel, Kaiser Permanente, Barco, and others.  Scott has won numerous awards for his work in elearning including Corporate Honorable Mention for Excellence in Learning Award from Intel Corporation and participation in an interactive multimedia training module that won a Stevie Award.

Parallax Inc, 599 Menlo Drive Suite 100, Rocklin, CA 95765
2/17/15 7:00pm

February's Meeting - Webinar

 The Value of Partnership During Conversion to DITA

$5 for non-member and members

Speaker: Nicki Davis, Ph.D.

The transition from unstructured to structured content can be daunting. A good working relationship with a trusted partner can work wonders to make the process easier for the writing team and save time. On the other hand, choosing an inexperienced but seemingly inexpensive vendor can result in costly rework. This presentation provides a thorough roadmap for anyone moving from unstructured to structured authoring. 

Bio: Nicki Davis became interested in user experience and content strategy while studying for her Ph.D. in chemistry. To her dismay, she discovered that it took six months to learn how to use the analytical instrument she needed for her thesis work. To improve the user experience for herself and her fellow graduate students, she wrote a task-oriented user manual -- two years before she finished her dissertation. Since then, she has pursued her goal of enhancing the user experience by whatever means are appropriate to the task, whether it's improving the user interface design, the documentation, or both.

2/3/15 12:00pm-1:00pm

Content Control with Acrolinx

Is your content management effort like herding cats? Learn how you can produce great content that is accurate, easy to find, easy to read, and consistent! Join us for a noon webinar with the creators of the content optimization platform Acrolinx.

When: Tues. February 3rd, 12-1pm

The fee for the webinar will be $5 for all.

1/8/15 6:30pm-8:30pm

Converting FrameMaker Content to DITA

You've decided that it makes sense to migrate your existing unstructured FrameMaker files to an XML-based workflow using DITA. The next thing you'll need to do is convert some of that content into DITA topic and map files so you can develop a proof of concept workflow for both authoring and publishing. It is very important to validate that you can successfully author and publish in this new model before making the move. Take plenty of time to ensure a successful migration.

There are many methods for performing the conversion from unstructured FrameMaker to DITA. In this presentation, Scott will discuss the available options, then will walk you through the entire process using FrameMaker conversion tables. This isn't necessarily the best option for everyone, but the concepts required, especially those related to the pre-conversion process, will likely apply to all methods.

Migrating from unstructured FrameMaker to DITA typically requires some rewriting and reorganization of the content before conversion. Once this is done, you'll set up a mapping from the unstructured paragraph and character styles, and document objects to the corresponding elements. The conversion tables define this mapping. Applying a conversion table creates structured FrameMaker files from your unstructured files. You'll then need to perform additional cleanup on those files before saving to XML.

The entire process can be a bit daunting, and if you just have a few books to convert it may be best to just pay someone else to do it. But if you have a large amount of content to convert, it might just be worth taking it on yourself. You'll learn a new skill and will be able to work the conversion process into your schedule as time allows.

After converting your files to DITA, you can continue to author and publish with FrameMaker, or you can switch authoring and/or publishing to other tools. The great thing about moving to XML is that your content is no longer tied to just one proprietary tool. You do still need to buy/use proprietary tools, but if something better comes along, it's much easier to switch!

About the Speaker: 
Scott Prentice has been in the technical publication field since 1991 and is the President of Leximation, Inc. He focuses on custom online help and EPUB development, FrameMaker plugin and structure application development, as well as custom web application development. He is very involved with DITA authoring and publishing, and created the DITA-FMx plugin for FrameMaker.

Parallax Inc, 599 Menlo Drive Suite 100, Rocklin, CA 95765
12/11/14 6:30pm-9:00pm

Holiday Event
December 18th 6:30-9:00
Stanford Village Clubhouse
Stanford Village Ct.
Rocklin, CA 95765

Join STC Sacramento Metro to mingle, jingle and eat to celebrate the end of another year. This is your chance to enjoy time with your STC friends and colleagues -- and have dinner on us. 
We'll also be highlighting upcoming chapter events.

The Clubhouse @ Stanford Village Court Rocklin, CA 95765
11/13/14 6:30pm-8:30pm

STC Sacramento - November Meeting Presentation by Eric Hughes

Click here to view Eric's presentation!

Case study - Information Design: A process for web architectural success; how to approach a huge web project that has failed twice already, is full of political and organizational obstacles, has almost thirty distinct audiences, and tens of thousands of current and not-so-current pieces of content? (and oh, yeah, we don't know where some of them are...). We'll discuss the successful analysis and launch of this site:

Eric Hughes began his career in technology as a technical trainer at Lockheed Martin in Sunnyvale. He moved to Charles Schwab in 1986 to design voice and data networks. In 1991, he emigrated to Wells Fargo to design the largest internal TCP/IP network in the U.S. As the web matured, he headed up an effort to develop intranet applications for bank-wide business and communications. In 1998, he started his own web development firm Simplexity. Eric is launching a new business called Matriculus in 2014. It specializes in the architecture, coding, deployment and integration of large graduate school online applications (UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz are current clients). Eric provides business analysis & information architecture, usability consulting, and technical documentation for his clients.

Brookfields 4343 Madison Sacramento
10/9/14 6:30pm-8:00pm

STC Sacramento - October Meeting Presentation by Liz Fraley

How Do I Pick the Right Tool for Me?
So many tools to choose from! So many messages from so many vendors.  Everyone saying they are the right one! One size does not fit all and one solution is not right for everyone! How could it?! How do you find the right one for you?

You need to be able to evaluate tools from a balanced, objective point of view. In this session, Liz Fraley will share strategies, benchmarks, and questions that she’s
used (and seen used) over the years, so you will have something in your back pocket to help you choose the tool that’s best for you, your company, and your

People always ask, “Liz, how do I choose?” She’s helped teams choose tools for small companies, big companies, and been on selection committees at giant
global enterprises. There’s no one answer that’s the right answer for everyone. It depends on staff, resources, skills, and even company culture.

Presentations by Liz Fraley
Early Adopters of Dynamic Information Delivery: Where Are They Now?
There’s a software side to dynamic information delivery. We all know this.  Customers who have seen IBM talk have come to Single-Sourcing Solutions and said “Sure, they can get there, but can I?” What if you’re not a software company?

What if your paper product is your deliverable? What about the Medtronics of the world? Or the Harcourt School Publishers? Or the small companies? What’s in
reach? What have they really achieved? Did they see the expected ROI? Single-Sourcing Solutions has been interviewing long-term Arbortext customers
to find out where they are now. The company wanted to know whether customers  were realizing the full potential of their solutions, what data they’d collected, what
lessons they’d learned, and what they’d implemented over time.
This talk highlights stories—successes and failures—from companies who have  been doing dynamic information delivery for a very long time. It will include  qualified, hard data, breadth of projects and future impact.

How Do I Pick the Right Tool for Me?
So many tools to choose from! So many messages from so many vendors.  Everyone saying they are the right one! One size does not fit all and one solution is not right for everyone! How could it?! How do you find the right one for you?

You need to be able to evaluate tools from a balanced, objective point of view. In this session, Liz Fraley will share strategies, benchmarks, and questions that she’s
used (and seen used) over the years, so you will have something in your back pocket to help you choose the tool that’s best for you, your company, and your

People always ask, “Liz, how do I choose?” She’s helped teams choose tools for small companies, big companies, and been on selection committees at giant
global enterprises. There’s no one answer that’s the right answer for everyone. It depends on staff, resources, skills, and even company culture.

About Liz Fraley
Single-Sourcing Solutions (

Before founding Single-Sourcing Solutions, Liz worked in both high-tech and government sectors, developing and delivering technical design and strategy of authoring and publishing solutions as a Single-Source/XML Architect/Programmer. For over a decade, she has architected and implemented the single-sourcing systems for government and high tech companies.

Specializing in practical development and deployment, she is a strong advocate of designing architectures that directly improve organizational efficiency, productivity, and interoperability. She presents regularly at industry and vendor conferences and is very active in the software engineering user communities: SF Bay ACM council member, SF Bay Arbortext PTC/User group charter member, and host of both a blog and a podcast that focus on strategies, skills, and resources for the user community.

She holds degrees in Computer Science and English from the University of College Park and a Masters in English from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Marriot TownePlace Suites

10569 Fairway Drive
Roseville, CA 95678

9/11/14 6:30PM 8:30PM

STC Summit 2014 Presentation: From Unstructured Documentation to Structured Topics by Kai Weber

Not able to attend the Summit this year? STC Sacramento is bringing a session to you! Join us for a viewing of Kai's "project walk through mini workshop" on moving a blob of unstructured content into neat and structured topics. Bring a notepad because you will want to take notes.

The Clubhouse @ Stanford Village Court Rocklin, CA 95765
6/12/14 6:30PM 8:30PM

Summit Wrap-Up and Social

Don't miss a great night of great Summit info and fun!

The Cattlemans Restaurant in Rancho Cordova

(click for directions)

5/8/14 6:30-8:30PM

Adding Change Management Concepts to Your Toolbox

Speaker: Linda Urban

 Learning to use new technologies, equipment, or software requires that people change how they do things. Research on change has shown that people go through stages as they experience a change and transition to something new. 

 Much of the time, user assistance, instruction, and other tech comm deliverables are written with the assumption that people are either ready to learn a product, or already using a product, and in search of answers to questions. But the stage when people are ready to use something — "ready to adopt" in change management lingo — is actually fairly far along the adoption curve.

 During this interactive session, we'll talk about:

  • How understanding peoples' perceptions of five characteristics of a change can help you identify what information and support is needed
  • The adoption stages that people move through when experiencing a change
  • How to align the materials you create with what people need at each stage
  • Ideas for additional types of content that can both entice people to use a product or technology, and help them through the transition to incorporating it in their work

 These ideas can be useful when you think about content or instruction you are developing for others. They are also useful, when you, or your team, are being asked to use new tools and technologies--for example, transitioning to structured writing or being integrated into agile development teams.


 Linda Urban, a long-time technical communications consultant and instructor, is now focusing on organizational performance and workplace learning. She specializes in change management, needs assessment, evaluation, and performance improvement solutions to help individuals, teams, and organizations work more effectively.

 Linda works with technical writing and course development teams to help them work more effectively and improve the quality and usefulness of their content. Linda is also an instructor in the Technical Communication program at UC Berkeley Extension.

 You can reach Linda at:

@lindaurban (Twitter)

The Urban Hive

1931 H St
Sacramento, CA 

4/26/14 11:30AM

STC Field Trip to the California State Railroad Museum!

April 26th 11:30AM

Museum tickets: $10

Lunch is on your own at Joe's Crab Shack.

Preregister and pay by April 25th

Cancelled due to low turnout!

Calif. State Railroad Museum

1251 i Street Sacramento, CA

4/10/14 6:30PM-8:00PM

April 2014 Meeting

The Making of “The Language of Content Strategy” - with Scott Abel, President & CEO of The Content Wrangler

Time is in short supply. Deadlines are tight. Resources, even tighter. If you're like most content professionals, you've got dozens of great ideas, but not enough time, money, and experience to bring them to life. But it doesn't have to be this way. In this content marketing meets intelligent content engineering presentation, Scott Abel explains how he and Rahel Anne Bailie created their new book, "The Language of Content Strategy," with the help of the crowd, structured XML content, a wiki, and a formal content strategy. The two seasoned content strategists enlisted the help of 50 knowledgable experts to create a printed book, an eBook, a companion website, and educational flash cards in record time, all from a single source of content. Scott will talk about why it's imperative that content professionals —regardless of their area of speciality — understand and leverage the power of advanced information development practices. Why? Because a repeatable content-production system, optimized for productivity, and designed to efficiently produce multiple content products simultaneously, is no longer an option, but rather, a necessity. It's really a content marketing project that is made possible by advanced content creation and management practices. And, it's a publishing project that demonstrates what is possible — even on a low budget.

Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler BIO

Known as The Content Wrangler, Scott Abel is an internationally recognized global content strategist who specializes in helping organizations deliver the right content to the right audience, anywhere, anytime, on any device. He writes regularly for business and content industry publications, is frequently selected as a featured presenter at content industry events, and serves on the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, School of Information.

Scott is a founding member of Content Management Professionals, serves on the Awareness Committee for Translators Without Borders, co-produces several annual conferences Intelligent Content, Information Development World, and Content Strategy Workshops, and is the producer of The Content Wrangler Content Strategy Series of books from XML Press. The first book in the series, The Language of Content Strategy, co-produced by Rahel Anne Bailie (with the help of 50 expert contributors), is both a book (print, eBook, audio, and web) and a content marketing case study in single-source, multi-channel publishing.

Scott's message is clear: Content is a business asset worth managing efficiently and effectively. His firm, The Content Wrangler (, exists to help content-heavy organizations adopt the tools, technologies, and techniques they need to connect content to customers.
The Urban Hive

1931 H St
Sacramento, CA 

3/13/14 6:30PM-

March Meeting

Title: Lightning Talks

Do you have an idea, passion, or humorous story you could share with your fellow STC members? Are you thinking of presenting a talk at the STC Summit next year? 

Give your presentation a test drive. Create 20 slides and talk for 20 seconds per slide. Be creative and have fun. Everyone is invited to participate. If you don't want to present, attend the meeting to cheer on the speakers and learn something!

Participants, send your PowerPoint slides to

Sunrise 2 Sunset Grill

10113 Folsom Blvd, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670

1/16/14 6:30PM-
Our January Meeing Speaker:

Tom Johnson - Presents:

Why Users Can’t Find Answers to Their Questions in Help Content

One of the main goals of help material is to help users find answers to their questions, but so often this doesn’t happen. Users foray into the help muttering under their breath only to leave it cursing vocally afterwards — because the help didn’t answer their question, or at least the user couldn’t find the answer. Why not? Why is it so hard to guide users to the right information when they need it?

I recently conducted a poll on my site -- -- asking tech writers to rank the top reasons (from 20 listed) why users can't find the information they're looking for. After 130 voters, about 7 reasons trended to the top with the most votes:

1. The answer isn’t in the help because the help only sticks with obvious information.

3. The answer is an isolated task, but the user needs a more connected beginning-to-end workflow. 

4. The user searches for the answer, but the help’s poor SEO prevents the answer from surfacing. 

7. The help uses terms unfamiliar to the user (e.g., “gizmo” instead of “widget”).

8. The help has been fragmented and dispersed over many small topics so the help is a maze. 

14. The help doesn’t provide concrete examples that make the concepts understandable.

20. The answer is buried in a long page, but the user only spends 2 minutes max on a page scanning. 

In this presentation, I'll lead a discussion to analyze these reasons, explain why they pose the challenges they do, present potential solutions, and more. In so doing, I hope to address the root of why so many users feel disdain and apathy towards help material. I 'll also touch on the topic of SEO in the context of help documentation — that is, SEO for technical writers and their help material. 

About Tom Johnson:

Tom Johnson is a technical writer at Badgeville, a gamification company in Redwood City, California. He has a well-known blog,, where he writes about important issues in technical communication. He has been named by MindTouch as the most influential person in #techcomm 3 years in a row. Frequent topics he writes and speaks about include findability, visual communication, organization, search, screencasting, and more. Aside from technical writing, he loves basketball, bikes to work, and has four daughters.

The Urban Hive

1931 H St
Sacramento, CA 

12/11/13 6:00PM-9:00PM

2013 Xmas Party!

Please join us for our last event of 2013. This will be a catered event and it's, (HO HO HO) FREE!

Please note this will be on a Wednesday evening this time, not our usual Thursday night.

Please let us know you're planning to attend and RSVP today.

The Clubhouse @ Stanford Village Court Rocklin, CA 95765

11/14/13 6:30PM-

Collaborative Single-Source Development of Training and Documentation

Presented by Homer Christensen

Training and Documentation are often seen as separate and different creatures and teams are often in silos competing for scarce resources. They are, in reality, siblings that can produce amazing results if they work together.

The Collaborative Single-Source Development Approach (CSSDA) we developed for our project allowed us to save approximately 20% in upfront development hours, but promises to save the client additional time and effort on updating both sets of materials by using one set of files.

We were able to continue to develop on schedule while the size of our combined teams diminished.

Using our single-source methodology allowed us to quickly produce multiple outputs, such as related job aids, with minimal efforts, and customize training materials for specific audiences.

One of the unintended consequences we discovered was the happy result of a more unified, flexible, and collaborative team who could step in to assist others as individual workloads lightened or increased. 

Homer Christensen

R. N. Homer Christensen is an award-winning technical communicator and instructional designer with over 20 years experience. His client list has included Microsoft, Macromedia, and other leading software companies, nationally known authors, and state and local government. He has presented nationally, has been an invited reader at poetry festivals in California, and was Poet-in-Residence at Salmon Publishing in Ireland.

He has received a Stevie award for Best Product Developer, as well as the International Award of Distinction from the Society for Technical Communicators, two Awards of Excellence, and an Award of Merit from the Society for Technical Comunicators. He is currently the Senior Instructional Designer and Documentation Lead for Dynamics Research Corporation on a contract for the State of California.

In his spare time, Homer is a permaculture designer, working his urban food forest in historic Folsom, California.

The Urban Hive
1931 H St
Sacramento, CA 

10/19/13 6:55 AM

Climb aboard the STC Sacramento Metro Train for a fun-filled day at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose!

We’ll depart from the downtown Sacramento Amtrak station Saturday morning Oct. 19th at 6:55 am. Enjoy breakfast with your STC friends while breezing by the beautiful scenery of the Bay on the Coast Starliner.

The cost is $115, transportation, museum entry, breakfast and afternoon snack on the train included.

Tour the museum’s main exhibits and the opening day of the new Star Wars® : Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit! Get in touch with your inner Jedi!

Enjoy a no-host lunch at Original Joe’s, a short walk from the museum.

After lunch we’ll return to the Amtrak station to catch our return train at 4:30.

This is going to be FUN! Sign Up Now!

Leaving from Sacramento Amtrak Station

6:30PM - 8:00PM

STC Sacramento Metro September Meeting

Networking/Fall Program Line-up


Free drink with registration

Sam's Hof Brau
8/15/13 7:00PM - 8:00PM

Touch, Voice, and Gestures: How to craft your user assistance to accommodate a variety of interaction types

New ways of interacting with software, like touch and voice, mean a rethinking of how we develop our associated user assistance. This session is a guide for appropriate language choices to use for emerging interaction types like touch, voice, and hand gestures. Topics include device-specific instructions using conditional text, micro-concise instructions for small screens, writing for first user experience, flat navigation, and options for voice support. This session applies to both mobile platforms and the emerging use with desktop systems.

Joe Welinske specializes in helping your software development effort through crafted communication. The best user experience features quality words and images in the user interface. The UX of a robust product is also enhanced through comprehensive user assistance. This includes Help, wizards, FAQs, videos and much more. For over twenty-five years, Joe has been providing training, contracting, and consulting services for the software industry. Joe recently published the book, Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps. He also teaches courses for Bellevue College, the University of California, and the University of Washington.

WritersUA East in Newport, Rhode Island
The WritersUA conference will be visiting the East Coast this Fall. A great roster of speakers and topics is scheduled for Oct 27-29 in Newport, Rhode Island. This should be an informative and fun experience for all who attend. Registration is open.

6/13/13 7:00PM

Managing and Reusing Content - Webinar

Hosted by David Singer

This will be a 40-minute live presentation that outlines the challenges facing authors who develop topic-based modular content. It introduces the concepts of the Information Mapping method for structured authoring and its application to creating effective modular content. This webinar is fast-paced and informative. It's usually followed by a question and answer session. 

David Singer
Content Development Manager,
Information Mapping US


David Singer has over 30 years’ experience in helping organizations achieve better control over their business-critical information. In the early 1980's, he joined Information Mapping, Inc., a company founded by Robert E. Horn to bring his research-based Information Mapping Method for structured authoring to the marketplace. The Method has become a content standard for large enterprises and government entities in at least 30 countries, and more than 600,000 people have been trained to use Information Mapping techniques. Over the years, David has held several positions within the Information Mapping organization. As Content Development Manager at Information Mapping US he speaks to audiences all over the country about content management and the Information Mapping Method. David also addresses these and many other topics in the Information Mapping blog.

David served as an officer of an STC chapter in Massachusetts in 2000.

5/22/13 6:30-8:00PM

STC Summit 2013 Lite Version

6:30 - Networking

7:00 - Presentation

Brookfields Restaurant, Sacramento (click for map)
4/11/13 6:30-

STC Sacramento April Meeting:

Information Architecture Essentials

Information architecture (IA) is at the heart of technical communication. It defines the structure for information and helps make information findable.

In this talk, we'll define IA terms, look at examples, and review IA principles that can help improve the quality, consistency, and clarify of your documentation.

We'll talk about IA structure at a few levels:

  • Deliverables (what information goes into particular books or information sets)
  • Topic level (patterns for how different types of information are organized and presented. For example: concepts, tasks, reference, trouble-shooting, and command syntax)
  • Clusters of topics that work together, to address user needs

We'll talk about a bit about metadata--the tagging systems that allow information to be generated, searched, and sorted in different ways.

And we'll also talk about the importance of making sure your content aligns with user needs and business goals. The best IA in the world won't do much, if it's not supporting the right content!

Bring your questions, ideas, and experiences, and be part of this interactive discussion.

About Linda Urban
Linda Urban is a long-time technical communicator and instructor. She works with technical writing and course development teams to improve the quality of their content, focusing on usefulness, usability, and alignment with performance  goals and objectives. She helps teams clarify their goals, determine what changes would help them get the results they want, and designs solutions to help them move in that direction. She is a skilled facilitator, and her workshops regularly receive excellent reviews.

She also teaches in the Technical Communication program at UC Berkeley Extension. Among the courses that she teaches are Principles of Information Architecture and Technical Communication I.

You can reach Linda here:

Arthur F. Turner Community Library
in West


1:30 PM - 3:00 PM EDT

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM CST CDT
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM MDT

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM PDT

Instructional Design and Learning SIG Webinar

E-Learning: Do You Have What it takes?
Featuring Jane MacKenzie

Are you interested in moving your career in the direction of designing or
developing e-Learning courses? Are you wondering whether you have the
skills to make that move easily? In this webinar by Jane MacKenzie, you'll
learn the skills you need at each stage of the e-Learning process and have
an opportunity to evaluate which skills you have and which skills you need
to acquire.

Jane MacKenzie (formerly Smith) has been an instructional designer for
over 25 years. She has written, designed, and produced training for
instructor-led classes, e-Learning, and audio training.

3/14/13 7:00--8:00PM

Maxwell Hoffmann Presents:

Adobe Tech Comm Suite for Word Users

Since Word is the most common denominator amongst us all for content creation, this session will focus on how to understand the power of FrameMaker / RoboHelp and other aspects of Tech Comm Suite in terms that Word users can relate to. The session will be more of a “what you can do” rather than “step-by-step” “how to’s”.

Features covered will include:

  • Quick ways to set up "bullet proof" autonumbering
  • How to use unique page layout features leveraging both master pages, ref pages and system variables
  • "Smart Art": Generate tables of views or parts from 3D graphics, and make hot spots from graphic areas to relate text
  • Hints for quick and easy index markers
  • Making the most of Cross Reference Formats
  • Publishing from FrameMaker to HTML5 via RoboHelp using DEFAULTS loaded with Tech Comm Suite.

Maxwell Hoffmann
Maxwell Hoffmann is Adobe’s Product Evangelist for Technical Communications and a former product manager for FrameMaker at Frame Technology.  Hoffmann spent nearly 15 years in the translation industry, where he managed or published over 1,000,000 pages of multilingual content in thousands of projects.  He has managed projects in DITA, XML as well as authoring tools ranging from Word, InDesign, Quark Express to structured FrameMaker. Hoffmann is based in a virtual Adobe office near Portland, Oregon and claims to have presented face-to-face, hands-on training to over 1,200 people in scalable authoring solutions over several years.

Login creditials will be sent out after registering, before the meeting.


2/13/13 6:30 - 8:00PM

Robert Hershenow Presents:

Record Killer Audio with Simple Equipment

Robert Hershenow works as an independent technical communicator in Berkeley, California, and has been recording and editing audio for 30 years. In this presentation he will show how to get the most out of your equipment and recording space without a lot of hassle or expense.

Stanford Village Community Clubhouse
Stanford Village Court

Rocklin CA


6:30 to 8:00pm

STC SacMetro's Holiday Networking Event

Join Us!

You're invited to join the STC Sacramento Metro Chapter for a holiday networking get-together. Don't miss this great opportunity to mingle with your fellow professionals and suggest future chapter programs.

Best of all, this free event will be catered, so food and drink will be provided (sorry, no alcohol). All we ask is that you RSVP by clicking the button below. See you there!

Stanford Village Ct. Community Room

Stanford Village Ct.
Rocklin, CA 95765


6:00 PM (Pacific)

Free Student Webinar

On Adobe Connect: STC Student Membership: Challenges, Opportunities, and Benefits.

During the presentation, we will discuss the challenges, opportunities, and benefits of student membership in the Society for Technical Communication, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of all aspects of technical communication. We will have a question and answer session for students interested in creating a student chapter at their university or in having contact with STC student members at other universities.

No registration is required
When:  Thursday, Dec. 6th, at  3:00 PM EST

 Logon Instructions:
·         Internet Explorer or Safari is recommended. (There are known issues with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox)
·         Open:
·         Select Enter as a Guest.
·         Enter your name in the field. You can add your school name as well (e.g., Joe Smith MWSU)
·         Click Enter Room.  Join Audio Conference will display.
·         Choose one of the following:

Ø  Dial-out:  Enter your phone number.  You will receive a call to this number, and you can speak through your phone and watch the conference presentation on your computer. On the main menu bar:
·     From the speaker menu, select Mute my speakers to avoid feedback.
·    From phone menu, select  Mute my phone so we can’t hear you during the presentation.

Ø   Computer: Use Internet Explorer or Safari. You will need a microphone to speak during the question/answer session. After you enter the room, on the main menu bar:
·     From the microphone menu, select Mute my microphone.
·     If during Q&A, your microphone does not work, from the Meeting menu, select  Audio Setup Wizard. Run wizard to setup its use with Adobe Connect.

Hope you can join us on Thursday.  If you have any questions , please let me know:



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