The spring conference season is almost upon us, and I will be very busy! First up is South by Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) in Austin in March. I’ve not been to this one before, but I understand they expect something like 9,000 people there. The big difference between this and other events I attend is that SXSWi attendees are programmers, web designers, game developers, and “digital creatives as well as visionary technology entrepreneurs” – in other words, these are people who NEED technical writers, not people who ARE technical writers. Coincidentally, I *am* a technical writer! Who knows what wonderful things could come out of this…
Also in March, unfortunately, are two other really great conferences that it looks like I may have to miss.
DocTrain West will be held in Palm Springs this year with the theme “Moving from unstructured to structured content”. I spoke on collaborative tools there last year when it was in Vancouver, and had a GREAT time. The audience was totally engaged, asked really good questions, and I think we all came away having learned something. I really like the focus/theme this year, because it’s actually something I’ve seen clients struggling with for a couple of years now, and despite my best efforts, some of them still don’t “get it”. I would absolutely be there if the dates didn’t overlap with my SXSWi trip.
The WritersUA conference will be up in Seattle this year, from March 29th to April 1st. This is probably the most focused event I attend, devoted as it is specifically to software user assistance. Lots of great speakers, and the keynote this time will be by Scott McCloud, creator of the comic book which describes the technical aspects of Google’s Chrome browser. I really hope I can pull this trip off – though I won’t know for sure about this for a couple of weeks yet.