Australian Technical Communicators (ASTC) 2019 Annual 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.

Topics covered in 2018

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.

2019 Call for Presenters

We are looking for presenters and topics for the ASTC annual Conference.
If you'd like to present on a topic that you think would be of interest to Technical Communicators then get in touch.

We are looking for presentations that are educational in nature and about 45 minutes long, to give delegates an in-depth view of the subject being presented.

Presenters receive a 2-day complimentary pass to the conference and we contribute to the travel costs and accommodation for out of town presenters (priority will be given to presenters from Victoria).

To be considered please send us your presentation title and an outline, or let us know if you'd like to discuss a proposed presentation.

We are also looking for suggestions for particular topics to be covered during the conference.

Just visit out Contact Us page or email us at [email protected] with your submission or idea and we will get back to you. Don't forget to include your contact details and availability.

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Our Presenters



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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