Consulting, Publishing, Engineering

Reporting Live from WritersUA

OK, it isn’t really “live” is it, since I’m reporting virtually, and you could be reading this months from now. Err, months ago, if you’re reading then.

Anyway, I’m here at the WritersUA conference, which kicked off in classic style with a Panel of Pundits who offered their predictions on the future of user assistance. The panelists were Joe Welinske, Saul Carliner, Dave Gash, Michael Hughes, and Sarah O’Keefe. Lots of disagreement (in a friendly way, of course) but the major things I got out of it were the continued blurring of lines between fields (like user assistance vs programming or e-learning vs technical writing) and the increasing importance of internationalization and localization (localisation to some of you!).

Then I did my own presentation on Captivate software, initially intended to be an introductory session to show off the product functionality and how it applies to user assistance. I guess I should have read the program earlier, because Matthew Ellison did a pre-conference workshop on Captivate, and I would have liked to have seen what he had to say. I’m sure that my little 1.25 hour session didn’t cover nearly as much info as his did, and yet a number of people attended both! At least I had something different to offer my attendees (demo software and a steep discount on my book). It was a challenge to keep everyone interested – the ones who wanted basic stuff and the ones who had more advance questions – but I guess it went ok. I’ll find out for sure when the evaluations come in!

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