Session Matrix – TC Summer Camp 2016

Session Matrix- Saturday 30 July 2016

This year we had 3 sessions each with 4 different discussions. Every discussion requires a scribe and a facilitator. Scribes keep the notes and facilitators keep the conversation focused and make sure that everyone gets a chance to talk.  Both get special merit badges for their extra efforts!

Notes for each discussion have been posted to the individual session pages.

Workshops- Notes

  1. GitHub Based Documentation Workflows
  2. Content Strategy for Technical Communicators
  3. Work Global- Live Local
  4. Adobe Workshop

Unconference Session #1- Notes

  1. Content Reuse
  2. Writing/Formatting Best Practices
  3. Writing for Hearing/Sight Impaired
  4. Documentation Automation

Unconference Session #2- Notes

  1. Style Guides
  2. Keeping Up With Industry Trends
  3. Documentation Review Process
  4. Content Architecture and Design

Unconference Session #3- Notes

  1. Technical Communications in an Agile Environment
  2. Technical Editing Fundamentals
  3. Documenting APIs
  4. Writers and Product Usability

Workshop Notes- TC Summer Camp 2016

GitHub Based Documentation Workflows

Scribe: Hilary Fraley

Top Takeaways: 

  • GitHub is a web-based repository for software projects.
  • GitHub uses Git, a distributed version control system for software development.
  • Approxiamately 1/3 of developeres use GIT for code management.
  • The branch structure is logical, alllows you to treat docs like code and takes you out of silos.
  • All projects collaborators can review and contribute.
  • There are a few options for working in GitHub.
  • Options for working in GitHub:command line,GitHub web site, GitHub desktop app.
  • The general GitHub workflow is create a branch, add commits, open a pull request, discuss and review, and merge and deploy.
  • Documentation options include READMEs, Wikis, and GitHub pages, GitHub adds features like issue tracking and feature requests.


  • Free individual and company accounts;create public repositories, contribute to projects.
  • Paid account is required to create private repositories.
  • Companies concise buy GitHub Enterprise for internal use.
  • Opportunities for Technical Communicators on GitHub; contribute content, edit content, add comments on public repos; Create project docs and manage communities on private repos;track issues, manage project files, create project docs on GitHub Enterprise.
  • Terminology: Repositories(“repos”) are the most basic GitHub element. They’re like project folders;they contain all files for a project.
  • Branches are parallel versions of repos.
  • Branches don’t affect the master branch, so they are a sage way to experiment forks are personal copies of author user’s repo that live on your own account.
  • Collaborators have read/write access.
  • Commits are revisions. Pull requests are proposed changes.
  • Merging means taking changes from one branch and applying them to another.
  • Issue control contributors can note issues with project files.
  • You can create labels and milestones and discussions for different issues.
  • Version control: GitHub offers a unique concept of master branches, other branches, and making local copies.
  • Integration: There are approximately 90 productivity tools you can integrate with GitHub.
  • GitHub Golden Rule: Anything in the master branch is always deployable.

Content Strategy for Technical Communicators

Scribe: Jeanette LeBlanc

Top Takeaways: 

  • Bottom line is biggest driving factor, prove ROI
  • Intelligent content the goal but “minimum viable,” is the bare minimum: available;accurate;appropriate(connected intelligent)
  • Bad delivery can conceal great content
  • Three phases: assessment, recommendations, implementation plan and estimates-suggest a small pilot project


  • C.S within ID/actors org.-getting hard to draw a line between
  • course ware, can contribute courses
  • What is CS? Use info products to achieve the org. goals
  • Business obj: $$, distinguish from competition, referable
    ISBN; legal- Cheap content PDF only; low value, unclear, out of date, etc.
  • Critical success factors:
    -change management
    -risk management-pilot helps
    -tech risk management(performance)
    -storage management
    -strong team(skills assess)
    Beyond technical communication:
    -Connect across silos, show business case, with numbers,convey version so people -understand the benefits, think like a customer (very effective), collaboration: can help customer(very effective)
    -Collaboration: can help customer experiences
    -Road blocks: accountability, culture, resistance to change, time/priorities
    -Bridge the gap:educate, meet, show value
  • Expanding goals: as you achieve each piece, you can scale up

Work Global-Live Local

Scribe: Kate Bowerman

Top Takeaways: 

  • Use of video chats can help enhance communication
  • Thorough meeting prep-take the time to do equipment checks and meeting prep
  • Foster a remote-friendly can have and build relationships with collegues
  • Stay focused at home-set up a distraction free environment;build in breaks and obc time.
  • How people wound up working remotely
  • What is Salesforce and our roles at Salesforce
  • Stay visible and engaged- moving up; stay visible; communication tips.
  • Video use- cultural-“office hours”- can increase
  • Perception of visibility-thinking, expressing appreciation
  • Formal reports that highlight work-newsletters
  • Meeting prep-consider upgrading equipment every few years.
  • USB mix are good quality with mute button
  • Send gifts to thank people-incentives-snack box
  • Exchange-send a chat-be flexible to meet team-timezone needs
  • Team culture how to foster good productive culture
  • Question of the week/ice breakers
  • Virtual happy hours
  • Virtual coffee chats
  • Lunch locally-professional groups-host when people travel to your area.
  • Wine and dine
  • Cross segment and collaboration
  • Anger from coworkers who can’t work from home
  • Have boundaries work/non-work time
  • Staying focused when working remotely
  • Set aside office space just for you
  • Groom for success
  • Move it-Don’t just sit there
  • Standing desk
  • Wireless desk
  • Time out plugin- plan your breaks
  • Work clothes first thing in the morning
  • Evgo suite
  • Have a social life
  • Shut down work on office hours

Adobe Workshop

Scribe: Madeline Graham

Top Takeaways: 

  • Up to 40% of tech writers spend their time formatting-Frame Maker frees up time for content by automatically applying template
  • Authoring and publishing tool in one
  • Allows you to import multiple docs and automatically apply preset
  • Allows interactive, linked 3D models in PDFs


  • Importing Word-publishing capability-no programming knowledge necessary,
  • Graphical interface allows you to pick and choose criteria
  • Structured frame Maker=the whole thing.
  • Only way to get this choice is through pop-up a installment or through edit and preferences.
  • Use structured, no benefit to choosing unstructured.
  • Can send .fm documents for review by converting, review will importt as trach changes
  • Authoring=”work space drop down,”a set of different tools based on job e.g.
  • Design, Authoring. Also allows you to reset your workspace after moving things around.
  • Also allows different wstom workspaces for different users.
  • Imports docs as links rather than image; smaller file size. LA choice to “Copy in doc” or “import as reference”
  • You can make preset file and choose that when importing multiple docs that you want in the same format.
  • A style with at green dot= no FU style exists
  • Tips for new users: choice for standard or structured templates when starting document
  • Can tag info thats repeated as a variable: automatically takes IP format when inserted (no need for format painer or ctrl + F replace)
  • “Update book” option updates index, table of contents, pages etc-great if you move chapters around
  • Three pages that make up template:
  • Body-Master-Reference(index)
  • U3D-file ext. for 3D models
  • Can publish to mobile app for mobile accessibility, Ebooks, Adobe digital pub solution, HTML resonsive-can change publishing settings depending on medium e.g. brown headings for web vs. blue for PDF
  • HTML5 allows you to easily design interactive documents-search, toggle, glossary, etc.

Content Strategy Workshop – TC Summer Camp 2016

Content strategy means planning to use information to advance your organization’s goals. Your organization should have an enterprise content strategy that covers all customer-facing content, both persuasive (such as marketing content) and informational (such as technical content). For marketing content, an enterprise content strategy means creating information that supports the organization’s communication strategy and aligns the voice and tone of content with the corporate branding across all channels. For technical content, it means identifying business goals and setting up a content development and delivery system that supports them. In this workshop, we’ll talk about how to develop a content strategy for technical communication that aligns with the needs of marketing and other types of content across your organization.


Gretyl Kinsey is a technical consultant with Scriptorium Publishing with expertise in digital media production, an interest in changing tools and technologies, and a passion for learning. Gretyl graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where she specialized in multimedia production. Outside of work, she enjoys writing and performing music, drawing comics, cosplaying, swimming, and trying out dessert recipes.

Twitter: @gretylkinsey