New Heights 2015 – Designing Documents That People Really Want to Read and Use



newheightsNew Heights 2015 will be held the evening of October 22 and all day October 23. This year’s presenter will be Geoff Hart. His presentation is called “Information Design: Designing Documents That People Really Want to Read and Use.”

Designing Documents that People Really Read and Use

Words are great things and we’d all have to find honest work without them.

Figuring which words we need to use isn’t so hard. But how do we clarify the difference between carmine and crimson? How do we specify the location of the 200 pixels that we want someone to click or tap midway through a procedure? Sometimes you really need an image. Warning: Some graphic language.

Pictures are lovely to look at, though not always easy to create. Also, it is not so simple to get people to look at the parts we want them to look at.

Sometimes a technical communicator just has to resort to words… or (here’s a thought!) combine them!

About the Presenter

Geoff Hart has reputedly been telling tales (sometimes ending up in considerable trouble thereby) since he was 6, but he took nearly 25 years to realize that he could earn a living at this trade. Since 1987, he’s worked as a technical writer and scientific editor for IBM, the Canadian Forest Service, and the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada. Geoff specializes in authors who have English as a second language. He also does technical writing and French translation.

Since 2004, he’s been a freelancer (and only occasionally stops complaining about his boss). He claims to have survived at least two bouts of leading or managing publications groups with only a minor need for ongoing therapy. He has published over 400 non-fiction articles on communication, as well as the books Effective Onscreen Editing and Writing for Science Journals.

Geoff is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication ( He says that he spends an altogether unreasonable amount of time mentoring colleagues. His training is in plant ecology and plant physiology, which continue to fascinate him. In his spare time, he has committed three science fictional novels and a short story collection. Visit him online at

Preliminary Details

Date: Friday, October 23, 2015
Location: Innovate Calgary (formerly  CTI), 3553 – 31 Street NW, Calgary (Alastair Ross Technology Centre) (map)
Time: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.


Early Bird registration is now open! Register for our New Heights workshop now for the Early Bird rate! Our rate is well below comparable daily workshop fees.

Early Bird Rate: $275* for STC and affiliate members; $400 for non-members

* If you live more than 50 km from Calgary, please pay the full fee and email the Treasurer for $50 reimbursement.

** If you are an STC Student Member, please pay the full fee and email the Treasurer for a $50 rebate.

Register for Event

Past New Heights Workshops

  • New Heights 2014 – “Getting Your Small Business Started” Presenter: Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra.
  • New Heights 2013 –  “Goal-directed Audience Analysis: Who’s Using your Content?” Presenter: Judith L. Glick-Smith.
  • New Heights 2012 – “New Heights: “Modern Editing: Improving Product Quality.” Presenter: Linda Oestreich.
  • New Heights 2011 – “The Treasure and the Hunt: Content as an Extension of User Experience.” Presenter: Rahel Anne Bailie.
  • New Heights 2010 – “Instructional Design.” Presenter: Bernard Aschwanden.
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Martin Stares to Present on Content Strategy

STC Alberta is proud to announce that Martin Stares will be giving an overview on Content Strategy to the membership. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, September 16 at 7:00 p.m. Mark your calendars!

Additional details will be released as they are received.

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MadCap Software to Sponsor New Heights!

MadCapLogo-250x250-Edited-2STC Alberta is pleased to announce MadCap Software, Inc. as the flagship sponsor of the 2015 edition of its New Heights event in October. MadCap has generously donated a copy of the MadPak Suite to us for this event. Everyone who is an Early Bird registrant will be eligible to win this prize. The Early Bird rate ends on September 30.

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The Spring Edition of SuperScript is Here!

Hello everyone! The latest edition of SuperScript is now available. In this issue:

  • President’s Message – Chapter President Mitch Willis updates us on what’s been going on in the Chapter recently and what’s coming up next for STC Alberta.
  • Edmonton Director Opportunity – Are you interested in being the Edmonton Director? Check out this article to learn all about this great opportunity!
  • Looking for an Intern? – Lynn Dittmer, Work Experience Coordinator from Mount Royal University provides details about how you can get in touch with qualified interns.
  • Just Say Yes – Kris McBride provides some great advice on what just saying “yes” can do for your career.
  • Realizing a Calling – Ozair Khan shares his experience on what brought him to realize his professional calling.
  • 2015 Salary Survey – After a few years, STC Alberta is again conducting a salary survey. To get the most comprehensive results, it’s important to get as many of our members involved as possible! Please make sure you check out this article for more about the salary survey.
  • 2015 New Heights – Check out this article to find out about the upcoming New Heights event.
  • Upcoming Programs – Check out this article to learn about what STC Alberta has planned for the next few months.

Comments welcome to the Newsletter Editor.

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Essential Accounting Services

Essential Accounting Services specializes in small business accounting and bookkeeping services. In addition to corporate taxes, they also do personal taxes. They will manage all of your accounting, so you can focus on your business.

Email or call Helen today

cell: (403) 826-0659

(403) 249-6693

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Portfolios – Apr 23

Your portfolio is a marketing tool that can land you that next contract or employment opportunity. It shows prospective employers the scope and depth of your talents. Learn the tips, tricks, and traps for making a professional portfolio from one of the best in the industry, Patrick Brooks. He’ll also share common “portfolio bloopers” that can make a recruiter cringe, and some of the tips that will make them see your full potential. Join STC Alberta for this program to get the edge on the competition.


Date: Thursday, April 23, 2015
Time: 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. (doors open at 6:30pm)
Location: Innovate Calgary, 3553 – 31st Street NW (large boardroom) (map)
Cost: STC members $15, non-members $30, non-member students $15

Registration is now closed.

About our Speaker

Patrick Brooks has been in communications ever since he worked the graveyard shift at the local radio station in his hometown. He switched to visual communications a few years later, graduating from the Alberta College of Art with a diploma in commercial art. With this credential in hand, he has held art director and senior designer positions at Adobe, Tourism Calgary, Canadian Airlines, Air Canada, several agencies with a bit of freelance throw in for good measure.

In 2003, he obtained a Bachelor of Design degree and began teaching information design at Mount Royal College. He later upgraded to a Master of Arts degree in order to satisfy the minimum credential needed to continue teaching when the college obtained university status. In 2013, he taught the information design portfolio class, leading 26 students in producing their first portfolios, highlighting the best work of four years of academic effort.

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Technical Communicator

Restricted to STC members only. Enter password

Position Overview:

As we continue to grow we seek a creative and self-motivated Technical Communicator to join our User Experience team. This is a new full time position that will be part of the Product Development Group in Calgary.

Come work with us in an exciting multidisciplinary, fast-paced work environment. Your contribution can make a difference to the satisfaction of our customers and the success of our company. Join us as we invent the future of connected safety applications.

Key Responsibilities:

In this role you will be responsible for the creation of technical communications, information design, and content delivery systems. The goal is to provide value through a rich user experience that introduces, instructs and engages users on an ongoing basis.


We seek a broad range of skills that include:

Proficiency with the Adobe Suite of content creation tools

The ability to gather, distill and present technical data across a multitude of mediums

Experience with real time dash board design

Strong writing skills, including the ability to write concise, creative, and effective instruction

Familiar with modern multimedia content delivery and presentation tools as well as traditional print technologies.

Instructional design

Content management

Technical Communication degree or equivalent

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MRU 2015 Information Design Portfolio Showcase Event – Apr 15

Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Communication – Information Design graduating class of 2015 looks forward to seeing you at their Portfolio Showcase event. Students will display a variety of projects they have developed through their degree program. We hope to see you there.

Date: Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Time: 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Festival Hall in Inglewood, 1215 – 10th Avenue SE (map)
Cost: Free

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Wine and Cheese – Mar 26

STC Alberta is hosting a wine and cheese party and you are invited!

What better way to learn about networking than at a party? Come out for a social evening, have some cheese with a glass of red or white. Non-alcoholic beverages will also be served.

To open discussions, we will have special guests available to talk about networking with a social media presence, tips for effective interviewing and building portfolios. There will be plenty of time to ask questions.

You don’t need to be looking for your next job to benefit from attending this event.

Date: Thursday, March 26th
Time: 6:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Innovate Calgary (Alastair Ross Technology Centre), 3553 – 31 Street NW, Calgary. Plenty of free parking is available. The building is located near Brentwood LRT station (map).

Registration is now closed.

About our Speakers


Travis Schneider, M.Sc., Ph.D. (Cand.)

Travis is an Industrial/Organizational Psychology Consultant who leverages his expertise in assessment to help guide clients on their career paths and help coach employees and leaders to better realize and improve their potential.

He received a M.Sc. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Western Ontario, and he is currently completing his Ph.D. on the topic of how new technologies, such as social media, can be used as part of an organization’s hiring process.

His graduate and consulting work on assessments has ranged from focusing on the design, or psychometrics, of assessments (e.g., classical test theory, item response theory, polytomous item response theory), to the validation and administration of these assessments, and finally to the delivery of feedback on these assessments to clients. He leverages these skills to better understand clients, what issues they are facing, and how they can be coached to solve these issues and become better employees and leaders.

About Calgary Career Counselling

Established in 2009, Calgary Career Counselling (CCC) is a firm of ten Psychologists as well as career coaches, all specializing in career planning. Together, we have over 125 years of career counselling experience. We also have an Education Advisor and Job Search Strategist to help you determine the best educational options and maximize success in your career path.

Career counselling with a Registered Psychologist is an excellent way to explore your strengths and talents, and to build upon those to establish a fulfilling career direction. The process of career counselling includes personality, interest and values assessments, as well as coaching and discussion around career choices to ensure you find the right career direction for you. All career counsellors at Calgary Career Counselling are Master’s and Ph.D. level Psychologists with extensive experience helping people reach their full potential.

We are a private organization offering fee-based services, but many extended health plans cover Registered Psychologists. Further, we regularly donate our time to helping those in need with career planning presentations and individual career counselling. Our current relationships include The Calgary Women’s Immigrant Association and Discovery House.


Twitter: @CgyCareerCouns


Suzanne Muldoon, Modis Canada Inc.

Suzanne is the Recruiting Director for Western Canada at Modis.

About Modis

As a global provider of IT staffing services and the second largest in North America, Modis connects the very best IT professionals to great opportunities at leading companies. And they do it every single day – for both temporary and permanent assignments and across virtually all industries. Modis  uses their insight, flexibility and expanded resources to anticipate the needs of leading tech companies and help them make exceptional connections with top tech talent.

Services include:

  • Staff Augmentation
  • Direct Placement
  • Management Consulting Solutions

Success is about making the right connections between people, solutions and objectives. With Modis, you can take a strategic approach to boosting performance through an optimal mix of internal staff, outside consulting resources and project outsourcing. And because we take the time to properly understand the needs of our clients and candidates, we can help them make exceptional connections and achieve greater levels of success.


Twitter: @modis


An Vo and Gilbert Nanlohy

Two senior students who completed the Information Design Program’s Portfolio course at Mount Royal University will be showcasing their portfolios and speaking briefly about what they included and how they developed their portfolios.


Information Design Program website

Twitter: @mountroyal4u


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Flare Users Group – Apr 7

The Calgary Flare Users Group is the place to share ideas on technical writing, single-source authoring, content management, and getting the most out of using MadCap Flare. If you’re new to Flare or have been using it for years, let’s get together and share ideas on using Flare.

Everyone is welcome. Please send an email to if you would like more information and would like to attend our next meeting.

Agenda for the next meeting:

  • Introductions and updates
  • Creating a PDF from Flare content

Date: Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Innovate Calgary (Alastair Ross Technology Centre), 3553 – 31 Street NW, Calgary (map)

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Volunteer Opportunities

Are you interested in being part of the award-winning team that runs STC Alberta? The time is now. As some of our volunteers are moving on, now is a great time to jump in and join us. We’ve had such high volunteer involvement in the past few years that we’ve been able to form teams for many of our roles, so join a team (see all positions here), or take on one of the following positions. As always, you’ll have full access to a knowledgeable and experienced council, and past volunteers to help you along the way! Read More…

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