Learning  and Upskilling with STC India Webinars

Just like learning sessions in different cities, webinars have been instrumental in providing excellent knowledge-sharing and networking opportunities to technical communicators from all over India.

This year, our focus is to cater to the exact learning needs of our fraternity. We ran a couple of informal surveys on social media and encouraged discussions on how to improve the overall webinar experience. As a result, we organized the first two webinars on the most sought-after topics – User experience (UX) and Information architecture (IA).

Generally, we see one speaker talking about one topic in most of the webinars. This year, we are trying something different. Just like the culinary world uses “one-ingredient-in-multiple-ways” to showcase the beauty of that ingredient, we decided to showcase each topic through the eyes of different experts. No wonder our webinars were perceived as power-packed sessions with a more concrete plan for action.

Just in case you are wondering, we have recorded these webinars, and the recordings were made available to registered participants and STC members.

Here’s a brief overview of both the recent webinars conducted by STC India.

All about UX!

This webinar had everything you need to know to hop on the UX-express. We had three speakers, who covered different aspects of UX.

UX – Big Picture by Deepa Bhat 

This session was about what is user experience and how technical communicators can partner with UX professionals and contribute to a better UX. Deepa also covered how she moved from information design/technical writing to UX.

Writing is a vehicle for good user experience!

Deepa has been a lecturer, instructional designer, and technical writer in the past. Currently, she works as a senior UX designer in the Digital Service Operations vertical at BMC.

At the end of the session, Deepa had convinced everyone that writing is indeed a vehicle for good user experience. Writers definitely have an opportunity to make their mark in this new avenue.

Be assertive. Be courageous.

Microcopy Examples by Sangeeta Raghu Punnadi 

Sangeeta’s session was a practical showcase of what Deepa covered in the first session. We as Technical Communicators always believe in supporting our content with good examples. Continuing with this good practice, Sangeeta in her session showed some good and bad examples of UX. This helped participants understand how UX concepts are applied to user interfaces.

Sangeeta works with PTC as Principal Technical Writer. She has experience in writing for CAD products and has also worked on API documentation. She is an active volunteer for various STC events.

Understand the user experience journey and identify the opportunities.

Be a part of the core group.

Focus on the subtle messages.

UX Writing by Abhay Chokshi

The most common perception around the term UX writing is that it only includes microcopy for the user interfaces. However, that is not correct. Writing snappy messages on the UI is one part of it. Abhay showed other important aspects of UX writing, such as developing a voice and tone for a product, making decisions based on the audience, and always writing in the user’s context.

Abhay is an experienced technical writer currently working at Fraedom, New Zealand. He has worked as a writer in India and later in NZ. He is currently intrigued by design and UX.

Respond to the call for adventure.

Voice and tone are our inspirational mentors. Remember, voice is consistent, and tone may keep changing.

The Mystery Called Information Architecture!

This time, we roped in two aficionados – one, who has in-depth exposure to IA academically and professionally; and the other one is a part of India’s IA journey leading it from the front.

Information Architecture – What is it and Why should I care? by Mary Brooks

This session offered a brief introduction to the world of Information architecture. It discussed how you can start applying the tenets of IA to your everyday work as a technical writer to grow your skills and help you to advance to a career. Mary also shared tips and tricks as well as resources for further study.

IA is like gravity. It’s all around us. Learn to look around!
The basis of IA – Understanding User, Content, Context.
Create consistent labels, navigation, terminology, and content models.
Make the conversations invisible.
You are already an IA at a smaller scale. Evaluate yourself on the skill-scale.
Don’t get governed by what you were told to deliver.

Mary Brooks is a manager with IBM – Austin, Texas. Her passion for content began in 2005 in the software industry and saw the evolution of content production from bookbinding to web sites to cognitive assistants. Before becoming a manager, she was a lead Information Architect and has been instrumental in laying down processes and guidelines for other IAs in IBM. She also mentors and coaches IBMers as they re-imagine what it is to be Technical Writers in the cognitive world.

Information Architecture in India – a reality check by Sachin Shenoy

While Mary explained IA as a discipline and a career choice, Sachin gave a realistic perspective of where the field of information architecture is in today’s Indian software industry. He discussed the possibilities of a career in IA and suggested what we should be doing as IAs, aspiring IAs, leaders, and managers. We should be focusing on for better career prospects in information design from delivering documentation to be a differentiator. He also shared the skills that

In India, the field of IA is still buffering.
We need more IAs as the complexity is rising.
An IA identifies challenges, creates standards, selects tools, and makes design choices.
IA is in our DNA.
If you want to be one, build skills for data collection and analysis.
Upskill. Practice. Build. Enjoy!

Sachin Shenoy is Section Manager, Information Engineering at Micro Focus, Bengaluru. More than a manager, we know him as a leader, mentor, user assistance specialist, and a disruptive strategist, who loves building winning teams. Be it his sessions at STC India conferences or a chai-time informal discussion, Sachin is an expert in planting haunting thoughts about Information design in your brain.

We are listening!

The upcoming webinars are going to be on topics, such as open source solutions for documentation, API documentation tools, and techniques, getting ready for AI, metadata taxonomy, upskilling opportunities, DevOps documentation, chatbot conversations, and so on. If you have any suggestions or if you want to present on a topic, please get in touch with us at webinar.manager@stc-india.org. We are listening!

About Webinar Manager

Mugdha Bapat is an Information architect with IBM software labs with 18 years of professional writing experience. Mugdha enjoys designing interactions, creating UI text, and working on deliverables, such as online help, guided tours, chatbots, videos, tutorials, and infographics. Mugdha is an ardent advocate of Scrum and Design Thinking. She is a certified scrum master and enterprise design thinking co-creator. She has been facilitating design thinking workshops in Mumbai and Pune.

Passionate about minimalism, content strategy, interaction design, user experience, and neuroscience, she has been a regular speaker in STC India. Currently, she is the webinar manager of STC India and has played various roles in her volunteer career with STC India.