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ASTC Conference 2023

2023 Conference Presenters

The 2023 ASTC Conference committee is pleased to share the list of presenters for this year's conference. Each presenter brings their ideas to the conference to provide attendees with something new.

We thank each of them for their time and effort.


Gillian Andrews

Gillian has recently been focussed on adult learning and leadership development in emergency services and health, helping leaders at every level to navigate change, motivate their teams and build their confidence and capability during a period of transition.


Gillian’s presentation will help attendees understand and feel confident about their role as leaders and the legacy that they create. She’ll introduce tools and models to help build leadership skills.


The key points include:  

  • Leadership has changed 

  • Technical Writers are important and impactful leaders

  • How can Technical Writers build their skills to influence and lead


David Whitbread

David is the author of The Design Manual - A book that has received an Australian Award for Excellence in Educational Publishing.


David is presenting a session that Focuses on readability in writing, editing and design.


He will explain techniques for front-loading headings, sentences and paragraphs. These techniques include content creation, typography and layout that can improve the readability of your content. The aim is to help increase your users reading speeds.


Marie Alafaci

Marie Alafaci is a marketing copywriter, author and writing coach who finds people and the things they have to say endlessly fascinating. She loves being a website copywriter. She gets to learn about different industries, different ways of doing business and different methods of connecting with people…and then she gets to write about them.


Marie will help us find a way to get potential clients to choose your product and see the true value of what you offer.


This presentation will include:

  • Live editing of website copy

  • Live question and answer

  • Downloadable checklist for participants.


Deb Doyle

Deb is a teacher, an editor, an author, a speaker, a writer and an artist, and is bringing her many talents to this year’s conference to revisit the use of modifiers in our sentences.


Using a truckload of quotable examples, Deb will explain why you need to know:

  • what ‘subject, verb and predicate’ are

  • where your modifier belongs

  • alternative ways to make any meaning clear

  • that dangling and misplaced modifiers are never acceptable

  • why the reader is more important than the writer.


Tony Self

Tony Self has over 30 years of experience as a technical communicator, creating online help systems, computer-based training, and electronic documents. He also has kept the technical communicator industry well informed by running the AODC Conferences. 
Tony is presenting two sessions:


Schematron: Making Style Guides easier to follow


Schematron is a rules-based validation language for documents, allowing business rules and style guide rules to be recorded in a simple format. Once those rules are in place, documents can be checked to ensure they comply, in a similar manner to a grammar or spell checker. For example, a Schematron might check that there are no more than 100 words in an overview, or that all tables have titles. In this session, Tony will step through creating a Schematron rules file, and then demonstrate how to apply it to a set of document topics.


Artificial Intelligence as a Tool in Technical Communication


In the past year, ChatGPT and OpenAI have both surprised and shocked the general public. The take-up of this new technology has happened at lightning speed, and it is now embedded in many different parts of society. The ethical and intellectual property concerns, and the disruption it is causing in sectors such as education, creates huge challenges for society. AI can already be used as a powerful tool in content editing and management. The first technical writing tool to embed AI within the authoring interface is Syncrosoft Oxygen. In this session, Tony Self will demonstrate how “AI Positron'' is used in Oxygen for content creation, quality assurance, authoring support, indexing, and readability improvement.


Szymon Ozimek

Szymon Ozimek is based in Warsaw, Poland. He currently works as a Senior Content Designer at Atlassian, where he is the owner of the Jira API documentation.


Szymon will present a case study on how the teams at Atlassian work on the API documentation for one of the world's most popular project management tools, Jira.


The presentation covers the entire process of documenting changes to the API, from writing the words, to pushing changes to the git repo, reviews, the build process, and announcing the changes to the world. He’ll also talk about non-technical processes surrounding the documentation production flow.


Dave Gash

Dave is a programmer, writer, musician, and technical publications specialist from California. He has over 30 years of training and documentation experience with companies like Microsoft and Google. Anyone fortunate enough to have attended one of Dave's presentations knows he's an engaging and entertaining speaker. He’s a great friend of the ASTC, and we're thrilled to have him back in Australia to speak at our Conference.

Dave will present two sessions:


Wickets and Other Sticky Stuff


UX designers generally don't like long pages of dense content and, to be fair, neither do we technical writers. But sometimes it's unavoidable, and readers can get lost -- especially on mobile devices -- wading through large chunks of content, even when there are section headings. This session presents a simple and effective CSS technique that solves this admittedly minor but still annoying UX issue, and does it cleanly and elegantly!


FutureThink: Creating Sustainable Content


As writers, most of our effort focuses, and rightfully so, on the user. But in creating content, we also need to consider those who must later maintain that content -- our future selves! This session presents some simple and effective ways to create content that is not only useful today, but can be updated later without a major hassle. We'll look at several high- and low-level sustainability techniques you can easily use that future-you will thank present-you for learning!


Dave Newdick

Dave started his career as an aircraft technician in the Royal Australian Air Force. Dave now works as a technical communicator across many different industries. Some of his experience includes manufacturing, engineering, technology, mining, explosives, government, logistics, health and safety, and defence.


Dave lives in an outer suburb of Brisbane, Queensland. In severe rain events, this area can become isolated because of flooding and limited infrastructure. Dave will show, using his real life experience as a local volunteer, how many tools and processes from his experience in technical communication could help develop the local support plan. 


In this presentation, we will see some examples of how Dave used tools and techniques from various industries or processes. Working with a small local team of volunteers, they used these tools to help create essential documents for his community.


Dave found that Technical writing affects our life in all aspects, even if we don’t always recognise it. And you can use or adapt many of the processes and techniques for different outputs.


Kieran Morgan

Kieran is a Senior Program Manager, author, and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in leadership and technical roles.


Kieran’s interactive session will explore the innovative techniques and strategies that led to the global success of his book, ‘Technical Writing Process’.


Leveraging case studies and specific examples, he’ll shed light on our unique application of:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI)

  • Voice of customer (VoC)

  • Process modelling

  • Collaborative writing

  • Strategic thinking.


Katherine Barcham

Katherine Barcham is on a mission for usable and accessible technology. She works as a digital accessibility specialist, helping people make their products and services more accessible to everyone.


Katherine will help us focus on hidden or unknown disabilities while we are defining our audience’s needs. Looking at some examples and talking about the effect your readers may experience and what you can do to make your writing more accessible.


Mary Sabotkoski

Mary is an accomplished content strategist with over 15 years of experience designing and implementing solutions across higher education, non-profit, online marketplaces, and digital products.

Mary will talk about how to craft the right experience for our readers. One that is useful, impactful and relevant. She'll talk about business goals, user needs, the right message and medium through to understanding drivers of success and measurement. She’ll focus on how to inject content strategy methods and techniques to elevate your content from good to great!


Roslyn Abela

Roslyn Abela has over 25 years of experience as a Communications Manager, writer, editor and plain language specialist. Roslyn’s passion for plain language is simply this; we’re all busy, so let’s make important company communications easier to read, so it can be read once and we can get on with our day.


Roslyn will take us through the recently released ISO Plain Language Standard (ISO 24495-1). What does it cover, how does it relate to technical writing, what does it look like “in real life” and how can it help technical communicators in the future?

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