Australian Technical Communicators (ASTC) 2018 Annual Conference

Friday and Saturday, October 12th and 13th

Novotel Surfers Paradise, 3015 Surfers Paradise Boulevard, Surfers Paradise, Qld.

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.

What topics will be covered

That’ll never happen: impossible documentation.
Tony Self argues that the applications and services that we often document are cutting edge, but their accompanying documentation is rarely so. Is he right? I think he is and for that reason, I really, really recommend that you don’t miss this presentation.

How to be an efficient writer

I'm sure everyone reading this will have experienced the struggle it sometimes can be to stay on track, especially if you are describing about your own work. While Dr Marina Hurley specialises in scientific writing her advice will apply to all of us.

Simplified Technical English

So many of us think we know what is meant by simplified technical English, but do we? It’s not the same as plain English and is very specific for documentation in certain industries. So get on board, and learn just what it means - in case you see a desirable job advert for this skill.

Document the API
More and more, you will see mention of Application Programming Interfaces as software developers try to make their product more user-friendly to other software systems. What do software developers need to know? Is there a standard or is each one different and how do you document that?

No prior technical knowledge is assumed. This presentation is suitable for novices and anyone who has never documented an API before.

Specification S1000D
We hear so much about the requirements of the Aerospace and Defence Industry's documentation requirements. This presentation aims to remove the mystery and may give you a head start in a new technical writing direction.

Web Page Speed Basics
I’m sure we’ve all had experience of slow loading web pages and the frustration they cause. Don’t let that happen to pages that you design! In his presentation, Dave Gash isn’t only referring to web sites, but any documentation pages that you may create. Learn how to measure load speed and how to improve it. 

CSS smart selectors: making CSS work for you!
This session shows you how to write cleverly-coded ‘smart’ selectors to replace class attributes that you may have been using in your HTML. Experience at past conferences has taught us that we can rely on Dave Gash to introduce something to save you time and reduces maintenance. This presentation is no exception.

KISS - Keep It Simple and Straightforward
Time for a wash and brush up of your writing technique according to Kirsty Taylor.
Introduction to Blockchain
There can’t be many technical communicators who haven’t heard of blockchain. What exactly is it? Will it be used for applications as we know them? And will we have to learn a new technology, a new way of documenting applications that employ it? Find out the answers to these questions at this presentation by Grant Noble. You can’t afford to miss it!

How technical communicators can help with international management standards
We often encounter companies who use one of the international management standards: ISO 9001, ISO 45001 or ISO 14001. These standards are guidelines for good management and have been refined by experts over many years. But often their introduction is unsatisfactory. Technical communicators should be able to make the compliance journey easier.
Opening the Innovation Door - rethinking DITA
Not another DITA presentation you might think, but this one opens up a new view of using DITA. Tony Self will show us how, by moving our legacy documents to DITA, how we can revitalise them using the tools available. Tools that really reduce the time for a process for which you never find time. This presentation is definitely worth attending.

Adding value to guarantee return business
Tracy Wood will tell how she adds value to her customer's products. We may not all take the same path, but Tracy show how it pays to think outside the square.
Adding value Supercharge Your Authoring
Gareth will review the current crop of software tools that allow us to write tagged text (i.e. xml) with ease. How many hours of your review time is compressed into Gareth's 45 minutes? Read Gareth's bio to see why he knows what he's talking about.

Conference Workshop

Under the Bonnet: Web Coding for Technical Communicators with Dave Gash
Monday, October 15th, 2018 ~ 9.00am–5.00pm
There can’t be many of you who haven’t been using HTML for documentation delivery for quite some time. That said, how familiar are you with exactly what is happening, especially if you use a conversion tool? Dave’s Under the HTML bonnet workshop delves far more deeply into HTML than many of us do and shines a light of all sorts of features that most of us take for granted.

In this workshop Dave covers HTML, CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) both internal and external, and introductory JavaScript. Dave explains how they relate together and how we can make them work for us. (Note, though, that this is not a JavaScript workshop.)

For those of you who don't know Dave, he is energetic and highly sought after trainer from California, USA. When he's not training or presenting at conferences, Dave works for Google as a technical communicator. This workshop is not included in your conference ticket and requires separate booking.


Connect with your progession.
Learn from your peers.

Our Presenters

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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 Marina Hurley

Dr Marina Hurley, Founder and Director of Writing Clear Science, was an ecological scientist for over 20 years and now specialises in the teaching of scientific and evidence-based writing.

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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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Gareth Oaks

Gareth Oaks is a software professional with 18 years' experience in the enterprise publishing space. Starting out as a BASIC and Pascal programmer...

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