Trends, Tools, and Technologies in Software User Assistance – Feb 17, 2011

The application of technical communication skills to the development of software user assistance has grown immensely in the past twenty years. This specialization is very fulfilling and challenging and technical communicators are finding their role in the software development process to be increasingly valued. User assistance is much more than “Help.” It encompasses a wide range of skills and technologies that are combined to improve the software user’s experience. We contribute through wizards, tutorials, and web-based training. We develop and populate knowledge bases and content management systems. Printed manuals and their PDF equivalents are still an important element of our documentation sets.

Many of us are now embedding helpful content directly into the user interface. We are involved with usability testing, localization, testing, quality assurance, and branding.

About the Program

This webinar provides a cutting-edge overview of the latest trends in software user assistance, defines the key terminology, highlights the most important technologies, and offers predictions on future directions of our field. The seventy-five minute session should be of interest to technical communicators of all backgrounds and experience levels.

  • Date: February 17, 2011
  • Time: Doors open at 6:30 p.m., Program from 7:00-9:00 p.m.
  • LocationsMake the most of this event by attending in person for excellent professional networking and also since online connections are limitedRegister now!
    • In Calgary, we will meet at Calgary Technologies Inc. (CTI), 3553 – 31 Street NW. View Map. CTI is located in University Research Park. Parking is free anytime after 5:00 p.m. and there are plenty of spots. If you are taking the LRT, get off at the Brentwood station; the CTI is across the parking lot.
    • In Edmonton, we will meet in Room 9-208 Grant MacEwan University, City Centre Campus. View Map. City Centre Campus is located on 104 Avenue between 106 Street and 111 Street in the heart of downtown Edmonton. Room 9-208  is located in the Robbins Building, between 109 Street and 110 Street, on the second floor (See page 2 of the attached PDF for exact location in the building). There is a parkade west of 109 Street with pedway access to the college. Public transportation is also available along 104 Avenue with stops in front of the Robbins Building.
    • Attendees outside of Calgary or Edmonton (or if you can’t make it in person) will be able to join us via GoTo Meeting (details will be emailed after you register).
  • Who Should Attend:
    • All Chapter and Society Members
    • Affiliate Members
    • Employers and Industry Representatives
    • Students, Educators, and Technical Trainers
    • Non-members and Guests
    • Anyone who works with technical information to learn more about our profession and software user assistance
  • Cost:
    • STC Alberta Student Members: Free
    • STC Alberta Members, Affiliate Members, and Non-Member Students: $10
    • Society Members: $15
    • Non-Members and Guests: $20
  • Registration: Walk-ins are welcome!
    • Calgary and Edmonton attendees can register online and pay at the door.
    • Other attendees joining us via GoTo Meeting must register by emailing
  • Contact: Rosalinda Hernandez,
  • Sponsor:
    • Thank you to the Grant MacEwan University’s Professional Writing program for sponsoring this event in Edmonton.
    • Contact Alex Kelly, Public Relations Manager, for event sponsorship opportunities in Calgary and online.

About the Presenter

Joe Welinske is the president of WritersUA, a company devoted to providing training and information for user assistance professionals, and is recognized as an authority on the subject. Joe has been involved with software documentation development since 1984 and previously visited the Alberta Chapter nearly a decade ago as one of our first high profile speakers. The focus of his work is producing high quality seminars and conferences for the user assistance and technical communication communities.

Together with Scott Boggan and David Farkas, Joe authored two editions of the popular and pioneering book Developing Online Help for Windows. He has also taught online Help courses at the University of Washington, UC Santa Cruz, and Bellevue Community College. Joe was the President of STC Puget Sound Chapter from 2006-2008. He is currently Membership Director for the Puget Sound Chapter of the Usability Professionals Association.

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