By, Anagha Walvekar
STC India Pune Chapter held a full day zip conference on Jul 23, 2016. BMC Software was the venue sponsor for the event. The conference was attended by more than 80+ enthusiastic attendees. The theme of this year’s conference was “Workshop”. The conference had six workshops on varied topics and a treasure of seven quick bite sessions. The program for the day was effectively designed with two parallel tracks. There were four workshops in the first half and two in the second half with all the quick byte sessions lined-up post lunch.
The conference started with a welcome note from Deval Faldu, Pune City Representative. She then handed over the reins to Makarand Pandit, Current President, STC India Chapter. He briefly explained how the India Chapter was formed, how it works, and further explained the significance of attending a conference. He also announced a competition to encourage networking. Next, Sangeeta Raghu-Punnadi briefed the attendees about Indus – the STC India newsletter. She encouraged the attendees to contribute to INDUS with articles/ideas to make the newsletter content rich.
In his session, Understanding Information Architecture from a TechComm Perspective, Mayur Bhandarkar gave an insight on the role of an Information Architect. He explained with an example how an Information Architect makes content easily accessible and user-friendly. He focused mainly on the use of labels in the content – as headings, as links and labeling icons & images. He also briefly touched upon how technical writers can optimize their content and make it searchable.
Hemant Baliwala’s session on Using visual techniques to understand and explain complex concepts was enthralling and made us think about innovative ideas to visually depict information. The session started with an interesting video about how a wrong visual can lead to a major misinterpretation. The exercise of “visual graph of career” taught us how different dimensions of the same concept can be represented in a single visual. At the same time, representing too many concepts in that visual can be overwhelming to the user. So the mantra is achieving the correct balance. Finally playing the game of “Pictionary” was fun. We had already started learning how to visually represent our ideas!
Sangeeta Raghu-Punnadi’s session on Content for All – Accessible Help gave us an insight into the world of differently abled users of web content. This session was the outcome of a workshop “Antarshakhu” which she had attended during the STC India Annual Conference in 2015. She touched upon the difficulties faced by users who are visually impaired or hard of hearing or have some kind of disability when accessing content on the web. She showed us that by making small changes we can implement accessibility guidelines, which in turn makes content accessible to these users. The exercises and the audio clip that was played for the participants emphasized her agenda.
Using Atlassian Confluence as your CMS was a session by Ravee Panjwani, where he explained the importance of having documentation online and accessible to customers and stakeholders. He shared with the audience how Atlassian not only makes the content online, but also helps to extend the boundaries while catering to the needs of various levels of customers. In the hands-on section of this workshop, the audiences saw how to create, review, and maintain online content using Confluence.
Lunch was followed by a flurry session of “quick bites”. It was amazing how each speaker conveyed loads of information in such a short time!
- Sahitya Gollapalli spoke about 8 Es for smart documentation, which listed the eight essentials required to create smart documents.
- Ashwini Gokhale spoke about Adding “Material” to Design in which she explained about the new design components that have come into use due to different sized devices such as smart phones, tablets, and so on.
- Bhakti Paranjpe spoke about SEOing your technical documentation in which she shared her learnings about how to improve the findability of content.
- Aaditi Lakade spoke about My shift from journalism to technical writing in which she compared her experience and learning as a Reporter in the Newspaper world to being a technical writer.
- Bhavana Sontakke spoke about Think before you make a move in which she brought out the reasons why people switch their jobs. She shared her experiences about interviewing candidates and the myriad reasons they gave for leaving their current job.
- Jyoti Atul Pabalkar spoke about Image Map in which she quickly explained the process of dividing a complex image into small parts and using these parts as a map to link them to different documents with more details.
- Shikha Saxena spoke about Contribution of Tech Writers towards emerging technology in which she stressed on how technical writers can write about emerging technologies and help a layman understand them better.
In the post lunch workshop on Creative professional videos using Camtasia, Abhijeet Wakhare showed how to create professional videos for documentation using Camtasia.
Wicked workshop was a thought provoking workshop conducted by Sheece Baghdadi wherein he used role play, put forth a situation and pitched the players against each other by playing wicked!
Like all good things come to end, the conference too ended with the declaration of winners, prize distribution, and a photo shoot. Aaditi Lakade, Ashwini Gokhale and Bhavana Sontakke won the first, second and third prize for their quick bite sessions. Two more prizes were given to Sahitya Gollapalli and Jyoti Pabalkar as special encouragement.
Deval and Makarand Pandit rounded off the event with a vote of thanks.
Pune City Representative – 2016
About the Author
Anagha has over 14 years of experience as a trainer. She has also authored courseware for C and C++ programming languages. She has done English language reviews for “Employability enhancement”, a series of books published by Avani Publications, Pune. Currently she is working as a Technical Writer with BMC Software.
Deval is working as an Associate Information Developer with BMC Software. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.