ASTC 2019 Conference

Friday 11 October to Saturday 12 October 2019

Rydges Melbourne | 186 Exhibition St | Melbourne Victoria


One of the joys of being a technical communicator is that we never have the chance to get bored or become complacent about our knowledge. In our role, change is a constant. The ASTC annual conference offers a unique opportunity to keep up with those changes.

The conference provides us with a quick and cost effective way to learn the latest techniques, terminology, tools and other relevant information. The topics that the conference covers give us an opportunity to learn about trends that we may otherwise never learn about.

We also have the opportunity to learn from our peers, people that have the same professional interests. While the conference might seem a large commitment in time and money, given the education we get, it’s excellent value.

2019 Presentation Outlines

Can I Do JavaScript?
The word 'JavaScript' can send a chill up the spine of some technical communicators, but is this reaction warranted?
To get to the bottom of the JavaScript mystery, we've got two presentations planned for this conference. Tony Self will help us define some desirable features that we can add to our documentation to improve its usability. Dave Gash will follow Tony to explain just how JavaScript achieves the effect we want and how to tweak it - without having a lot of coding knowledge. 
Standards For Public Documents
When we received this presentation proposal from Professor David Sless, the immediate reaction was: "standards are fine, but how do you manage to convince people that they're needed?".So David is going to give us some case studies on how it can be done. Every technical communicator surely has an interest in this subject! 
Docs-As-Code: What, Why and How
Alec Clews will describe the Docs-As-Code implications to technical writing and why many in the software industry are adopting this approach. It may not be new, but it certainly has a place in the race to produce up-to-date documentation in a continuous delivery environment. 
Are you the Artificially Intelligent Technical Writer?
It's timely that we have two presentations that include artificial intelligence (AI) in our conference program. Prashant Mathpathi has a particular interest in this subject and will tell what he thinks: Is it something to be feared? Can we harness it to help us? In his view, "technical communicators need to be capable of using Artificial Intelligence to stay ahead of the competition". 
Silicon Paper – Farewelling A Millennium Of Paper
Tony Self revisited an ASTC (NSW) conference presentation he gave a few years ago to see just how much technical communication had changed since then. To think, history has been made and most of us have lived through it. Didn't realise it? Attend this presentation to refresh how far technical communication has come - since the middle ages. 
Short and Sweet: How To Tighten Your Writing
In a world that delivers a constant stream of ideas, facts, opinions and distractions, it is vital to convey our own message quickly and effectively. Kylie Weaver will show you some techniques to help you cull both words and syllables from your writing to make it even more succinct and engaging.
AI and Editing: An Introduction To Acrolinx
Most of us will have heard of Acrolinx and how it ticks all the boxes to "enable organisations to improve the quality of their content and to speak with one voice" but what is it and how does it do that? If you've ever wondered, Grant Butler will tell us all about it during this presentation. It's interesting that Artificial Intelligence is in use in this product. Grant will tell us about that too.

CSS: Back To Basics
With web developers at all levels focussed on gee-whiz CSS features, its basic beauty -- separating formatting from structure and content -- often gets lost in the excitement. Dave Gash looks at what CSS is, what it's for, and how it's meant to be used by regular content authors. 
Intellectual Property (IP) 101 For Technical Communicators
It's so easy to inadvertently violate someone else's copyright. Our presenter will explain some of the no go areas and the pitfalls to be aware of. First, the Big 5 related to Technical Writing: Trade Secrets, Patents, Trade Marks, Copyright and Designs. Then we have Ownership issues, Overlapping IP, Use issues and Disclosure of IP to be aware of. It's not all bad news though: there are also opportunities for technical communicators in this area.  
Why The Fuss About GitHub?
You may have heard a mention of GitHub, or simply git, in your workplace. It's been a popular open source storage facility and tool for software projects for some time. It could also be useful for technical writers and Grant Noble plans to show us why with a demonstration of how it works.  
Case Study: Getting On board With Appcues
Steve Moss will pose (and answer the question): How do people trialling software downloaded from the cloud learn about the product? Steve will tell us about the solution chosen for WorkflowMax job management software after it was found that triallists were frequently missing out on key features, not setting things up properly or – even worse – not sticking around for long.  

Conference Dinner and Trivia Friday 11 October 2019
Please join us for our Conference Dinner and Trivia Night. It is a fun evening followed by our Trivia Competition run by Trivia Master Dave Gash and Trivia Rules Master Tony Self. Tickets will be sold as part of the Conference entry or will also be available separately if you are not attending the conference. Stay Tuned for more details! 


Our Presenters


Alec Clews

Alec is an unapologetic IT geek and his enthusiasm for really useful software tools is legendary. However, how to document software (specifically APIs) has been exercising his mind and at the conference he will tell us what he thinks is a very good way to go about it.

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Dave Gash

Dave Gash is a Southern California-based technical publications specialist who provides technology consulting and training for hypertext developers.

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Dr Tony Self

With over 30 years of experience as a technical communicator, Tony has seen many documentation magic bullets come and go. For over 20 years, he has specialised in online help systems, computer-based training, and electronic documents.

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Grant Butler

Grant is the founder of the corporate writing firm Editor Group. Prior to the Editor Group, apart from being the author of two books, Grant was a senior journalist and IT Editor with The Australian Financial Review.

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Grant Noble

Grant is a technical writer at a company called ConsenSys, a Blockchain software company.
Currently he’s working in a Standards team, and, as such, he keeps getting interesting assignments. This year will talk about the latest one, Github.

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Kylie Weaver

Kylie Weaver owns the Melbourne based training and consulting company Clearly Focused. She has two decades of experience as a technical communicator and business analyst and is passionate about communication.

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Prashant Mathpathi

Prashant Mathpathi is a Google Analytics certified professional with degrees in computer science and Marketing. He is particularly interested in how cutting edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Augmented Reality can be used by technical communicators.

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Professor David Sless

David was the Foundation Chairman of Standards Australiaʼs Committee on Signs and Symbols in 1976, and in 1985 was invited to set up the not-for-profit Communication Research Institute. He has been convincing people to accept standards for years and he will use some case studies to show how he does it.

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Steve Moss

Steve is an Information Mapping certified instructor and is particularly interested in editing and the development of online learning material. He originally trained as a mechanical engineer in the UK and has extensive experience in software support, development and training.

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