WritersUA Conference, 2011: Day Two

March 17, 2011

This week I’m attending the WritersUA Conference in Long Beach, California. I’ll try to write short notes on all sessions I attend and post them on this blog. However, as there may be five sessions on at once, I cannot cover everything! NOTE: All commentary is MY OPINION and does not reflect the opinion of anyone else at the conference.


On the Job Twittering

Michelle Lentz is currently marketing manager for a start-up, and is an ex-technical writer. She looks after her company’s social media presence so she had plenty of hints on using Twitter for business purposes. Many in the audience had a Twitter account, but nowhere near as many actually used it. After Michelle’s session I expect many more may dip their toes into Twitter again. Funny bit: The boss of one of the attendees Tweeted during the session asking if the employee was attending the session! She was, but she didn’t know how to Tweet back so someone nearby helped her (all conference sessions have ree WiFi for attendees).

Captivate 5: PowerPoint Collaboration and Shared Review via Acrobat.com

This was a hands-on session, run by the irrepresible Kevin Siegel. I learnt about some cool features of Captivate 5 — the linked connection to PowerPoint, and particularly the shared review using Captivate Reviewer. Kevin was an excellent trainer, but some technical issues on a few laptops (including mine) meant that I couldn’t check out the review stuff for myself. Not that it mattered as Kevin had it working perfectly on the screen. My biggest concern about the review process is that reviewers have an awful lot of installation, registration, login, etc. to do. For example, if Captivate Reviewer is not on their computer, they have to download and install it and enter some login details; if they don’t have an account with Acrobat.com, they have to set one up just to access the file that someone with an account sent them. I think the steps are too complex and would put some reviewers off totally. And in locked-down corporate environments, none of this might be possible,

60 Minutes to an HTML5 Web Page

Another hands-on session, this time run by my good friend, Char James-Tanny. Char’s an excellent teacher! We had a practical exercise to do using some of the new markup features of HTML5, and Char took us step-by-step through the construction of an HTML5 page.

A Realistic Approach to Content Management with SharePoint

Dan Beall gave an overview of SharePoint’s strengths and weaknesses for content management, then described some examples of how some of his clients were using it to manage translations, store and collaborate on documents, go through review cycles etc. The biggest hurdle I can see for the client that I work for is that all documents are stored in SharePoint — my client uses another document management system, so I’m not sure how or if that would work. Dan didn’t think that SharePoint would talk to another document management system.

Making UA Accessible to All

Shawna Henry, from the W3C’s WCAG group, presented this keynote address, where she emphasised that making websites accessible for those with various disabilities benefits EVERYONE. None of us is getting any younger, and as we age we will all have issues with vision, mobility, and/or hearing. And none of us know when we may be stricken with an illness or injury that restricts our usual behaviors for the short or long term. Shawna personalised the issues for us by sharing pictures and snapshot bios of several people she knows who inform the decisions made by the WCAG group.


After the day’s sessions, many of the vendors did presentations. I attended the one run by Bryan Lynn of ThirtySix Software, who make SmartDocs, an add-in for Word that allows conditional text, variables, and reusable snippets.

Next was the Trivia night, hosted by the effervescent Dave Gash, with Sue Heim assisting him as his able ‘booth babe’.

Finally, the Australian Cultural Exchange (ACE) event (an unofficial and unsupported Aussie-style pub crawl) hosted by Tony Self, saw many head out into the night for drinks and food.

One comment

  1. […] Bracey has posted great summaries of day one, day two and day […]

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