ASTC Conference 2021

Day 1 – Tuesday 12 October

1.00 to 5.00 pm AEDT 

Handouts for Day 1 of the ASTC Conference. Videos of the presentations will be added to this page as soon as they are available. 

We'd also love your opinion on today's presentations. Simply fill in the Day 1 Feedback form after you've watched the presentations.

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Learn from your peers.

Tuesday 12 October
1.00 to 2.10 pm

Structuring Agile sprints to support documentation
Kylie Weaver


Ever wondered how technical writing fits into Agile so that technical communicators don't get crunched at the end of every sprint? The truth is that every project is different and, therefore, requires different solutions. In this talk we will do a quick Agile refresher, then we'll look at three ways to set up your sprints to help create the elusive conditions needed for a smooth and sustainable cadence with fast and efficient continuous delivery. 

About Kylie

Kylie is an Agile coach with a background in technical communication (a skill that she falls back on every single day of her working life). 

Tuesday 12 October
2.30 to 3.30 pm

A DITA content management system in action
Dr Tony Self

Content Management Systems (CMS) have progressed in recent years to take advantage of the Cloud, richer Web-based user experience, APIs, and distributed databases. In the more specialised content CMS (CCMS) favoured by many documentation professionals, the same progression is obvious.

Tony will present an example of this new generation of documentation tools, a Web-based DITA CCMS called easyDITA. EasyDITA leverages the power of XML databases, WebDAV, APIs and a rich user interface to provide a comfortable and powerful authoring environment. There's no code in sight and editing is done in a collaborative environment similar to Google Docs. EasyDITA provides an insight into how future authoring systems will work.

You will learn:

  • The difference between CMS and CCMS

  • How the easyDITA CCMS provides a Web-based authoring environment

  • The similarities and differences between Google Docs and easyDITA collaborative environments

  • How file management and “referential integrity” works in a CCMS

  • How document outputs can be created entirely within a Web-based environment

  • The importance of integration to systems working with standards.

About Tony

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. In 1993, Tony founded HyperWrite, a company providing training and consultancy in structured authoring, Help systems, DITA, and technology strategy. His presentations at conferences around the world have made him a familiar name. His company HyperWrite, ran its own AODC Conference for thirteen years. Tony completed his PhD in semantic mark-up languages in 2011, and his book The DITA Style Guide was published in the same year. Tony is a member of the OASIS DITA Technical Committee.

Tuesday 12 October
4.00 to 5.00 pm

Case Study: DocuZENtation
Averil Robertson

Averil will talk to us about the internal engineering documentation challenges at Zendesk and how they are attempting to resolve them.

She will cover:

  • The pain points around documentation in the Zendesk Engineering org.

  • Zendesk's growth and the experience we want new engineers to have.

  • Current state.

  • Pilot program and feedback.

  • Why we are using our own product, and the positives and negatives of that decision.

  • What we're focusing on now and progress since January 2021.

  • The tools and support we're putting in place to support content contributors.

  • Developing a culture around documentation and being our own customer.

About Averil

Averil is a Kiwi living in Melbourne. Avril started her working life as an editor in the public service in Wellington. At the age of 24, she bought a one-way ticket to Melbourne, landing a role at Lonely Planet in editorial production support. It was in this role that Averil realised that she loved creating documentation, delivering training and working with technology.

After working closely with editors and developers on publishing automations, she led the content side of Lonely Planet's guidebook digitization. At Pearson Australia, Averil developed the workflow for and led the digital production team to build the technical content for Pearson's digital-first senior learning product Lightbook. More recently she has worked as a technical writer in the vocational education sector, and is now the Program Lead for Engineering Documentation at Zendesk.