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May 29, 2018

Conference recap: STC Summit 2018

I’ve been working at Scriptorium for almost four years, but last week was my first opportunity to attend a conference. I spent a good amount of time on the exhibit hall floor, but I was also able to attend presentation sessions.

The most important thing was professional development.

On the exhibit floor

There were generally two types of people who came to our booth:

  • People who were interested in LearningDITA, or were already taking courses and wanted to thank us
  • People who wanted to know how DITA could help them

It was gratifying to see that all the work we’ve done on LearningDITA has been so well-received, and even better to see how people were happy to have a free resource to get started with DITA.

Of the second group, I fielded several questions about how they could make use of DITA in InDesign (something of a specialty of mine).

Notable sessions

How to Get Three Stars: What We Can Learn From Mobile Game Design

Alexandra Cata discussed how mobile games use a variety of methods to inform and guide the user through the application. With my background in game design and software QA, I’ve always been interested in how developers can use nonverbal elements like iconography or contextual highlighting to condense information for easier uptake.

Relating to Rocket Science

Joshua Santora, a real-deal NASA employee, discussed how NASA breaks down their more technical achievements for delivery to the general public. While people are interested in a rocket launch, how do you keep them engaged beyond the actual launch? This is particularly important for me, since I often need to discuss how I can achieve results for a client, but the means are technical. It can be a struggle to break that down to make sure that we’re all on the same page.

The Future of Document Design in Virtual Reality

Crystal Elerson and Terry Smith delivered an interesting session on their preliminary findings in a research study that examines how users read in a physical and virtual environment. While I knew that there were reasons that publishers would use serif or sans serif fonts, I wasn’t aware that there could be a significant impact on readability. One of my more interesting courses of study in college was in linguistics and language acquisition, and this session helped me to fold what I learned there into how I could use that to help clients.


So much professional development.

I’ve been interested in attending a conference for a while now, and it was good to finally go to my first. I enjoyed meeting attendees and talking about what we do, and I appreciate the variety of sessions that I was able to attend.

I wouldn’t hesitate to attend another conference, and I’m looking forward to presenting at WritersUA East this coming October!