The first ever TCUK poster competition at TCUK18

We are inviting anyone who is planning to attend the conference – either as a delegate or as a presenter – to submit a poster. We will choose the best 20 of the submissions and have them made into pull-up display stands that will be on display in the exhibitor area throughout the conference. Those whose posters are on display will have an opportunity to discuss their poster ideas with other delegates. The posters on display will be judged and there will be a prize for the best poster and the funniest poster.

There are only a few rules and requirements:

  • The poster must be your original work and must be on a technical communications-related subject.
  • The file must be submitted so it is suitable for printing at 800mm x 2,000mm (portrait orientation) in PDF set to 300dpi. Any images included in the banner artwork will need to be high resolution.
  • Posters can be accepted only from those who are attending the conference.
  • Entries must be received by 3rd September 2018 – send to

Here are a few places that provide tips for creating good posters:

We look forward to seeing your entry!

TCUK19 Speaker Mark Monaghan – It started at 10 – how technical communication guides us through life

Mark Monaghan will be giving a presentation at TCUK19 entitled “It started at 10 – how technical communication guides us through life”.

Technical communication sets up our expectations for learning from a young age. This session highlights some of the familiar and some unexpected places one person experienced the fruits of our profession, and suggests how the lessons from these early encounters can continue to inform the documentation process throughout a career.


About Mark Monaghan

After a meandering career including TEFL, mechanics, and coaching, Mark completed a degree in Astrophysics at Maynooth University. It was here that he wrote his first technical document, after getting frustrated with verbally explaining to each individual in the class how to fix a particular bug in the virtual machine with the image reduction software. He now works at a fintech company.

TCUK19 Speaker Michael Bergstrom – Ten STE Myths Busted

Michael Bergstrom will be giving a presentation at TCUK19 entitled “Ten STE Myths Busted”.

This presentation draws on some of the material written in Mike’s article “The Great STE Myth”, published in the Winter 2018 edition of Communicator. It tackles the inaccurate hype surrounding Simplified Technical English, exposing ten of the myths that are continually propagated in an attempt to keep this controlled language alive. Mike’s view is that STE is a standard that has failed miserably to find its way out of its aircraft maintenance procedure niche and should be best avoided as far as possible in favour of Plain English. “Writing STE is like writing with a pair of boxing gloves on” he claims. This presentation is bound to create some fireworks and ruffle some feathers of STE proponents, but one of Mike’s self-proclaimed hobbies is ruffling feathers.

About Michael Bergstrom

Mike Bergstrom started his career as a graduate Electrical & Electronic engineer in 1983. He has worked in design, development, applications and product management in many electrical/electronic engineering disciplines including IC design, high power analogue design, computer hardware and communications. He has been a technical translator and technical writer for the last 25 years, most of it as a freelance technical author/documentation consultant. When it comes to technical writing, he has seen it all. Mike currently works at Elekta as a technical author team leader. He considers himself an engineer who can write, rather than a writer who can engineer.

TCUK19 Speaker Mike Hamilton – Micro Content, Chatbots, and Machine Learning – What Do They Mean for Technical Authoring?

Mike Hamilton will be giving a presentation at TCUK19 entitled “Micro Content, Chatbots, and Machine Learning – What Do They Mean for Technical Authoring?”.

In our high technology world, the need for quality content is always growing. However, how that content is delivered or received is constantly evolving. In this session, Mike Hamilton will introduce the concepts around “micro content” and how it will impact traditional technical authoring. The session will cover how your content can support your existing publishing requirements (PDF, HTML5, eBook, etc.) and be made compatible with micro content at the same time. Learn how to prepare your content for use as source material for automated chat feeds, bots, and other automated delivery techniques.

About Mike Hamilton

Mike has over thirty years of experience in training, technical communication, multimedia development, and software development at several organizations including Blue Sky Software/eHelp/Macromedia where he ran the RoboHelp program from 1998 to 2005, Cymer, a leading supplier of laser illumination sources to the semiconductor industry, National Steel & Shipbuilding, and the US Navy.

Mike is often a featured speaker at industry events, including the WinWriters Online Help Conferences, STC (the Society for Technical Communication) Annual Summits, TCWorld events, TCUK, SOAP, and many more events. Mike has also appeared at the Microsoft Campus and STC regional conferences and events.

Mike is also frequently quoted in technology articles in various trade publications.

TCUK19 Speaker Olly Kirillova – Don’t Panic! Applying 10 Risk Management Principles to Technical Communication

Olly Kirillova will be giving a presentation at TCUK19 entitled “Don’t Panic! Applying 10 Risk Management Principles to Technical Communication“.

Have you ever felt as if you are on fire because the deadlines shifted again? Although there are some risks that you cannot prepare for, there are many others you can control, predict and plan for. 

Technical communicators can apply risk management strategies to prepare for different outcomes. A proper risk management plan is what will keep you sane and in control. In this session, I’ll cover the basics: what constitutes a risk in Technical Communications, how to identify and evaluate risks, and, most importantly, how to set up an effective risk mitigation framework and finally stop panicking.

About Olly  Kirillova

Olly Kirillova, a technical communicator, content developer, and a bit of a control freak. Being a technical communicator for almost ten years, I worked in diverse projects, aimed at skilled IT professionals as well as completely non-technical users. I believe that user needs come first and always advocate for people I write for. My inner perfectionist finds joy when the documentation tasks are on track and risks are well-managed. Besides technical communications, I’m interested in project management, UX, and travelling.

TCUK19 Speaker George Lewis – How to publish your docs every 10 seconds like Amazon

George Lewis will be giving a presentation at TCUK19 entitled “How to publish your docs every 10 seconds like Amazon“.

The traditional documentation approval and release cycle doesn’t fit with products that use continuous integration. I mean, Amazon updates their products every 10 seconds (ok 11.7s)!! How can they possibly have time to compile HTML in a desktop publishing tool and then publish? 

 “Docs as code” arose out of the need to align documentation processes with code development processes. So the approach has been driven by developers and DevOps teams to use the tools they already have such as simple text-based authoring with Markdown or ASCIi doc combined with static site generators.

 But this was not enough, so now we have developer portals tools such as and APIary. Does this mean there is no place for the powerful DTP tools we are comfortable with such as MadCap Flare or FrameMaker?

 In this presentation we will look at the docs as code workflows and tools, and see how a feature-rich DTP package like MadCap Flare can be used.

About George Lewis

George heads up the Service Delivery team at 3di. Having started his career in tech comm nearly 20 years ago in Germany, George has served his time as a writer of documents as well as a consultant helping organisations automate their documentation workflows.

 George is passionate about developing the people and processes necessary to bring tech comms into the 21st century.


TCUK19 Speaker Liz Gregory – Ten hundred topics? Try planning with mind maps

Liz Gregory will be giving a presentation at TCUK19 entitled “Ten hundred topics? Try planning with mind maps“.



Topic-based authoring is like managing your life on post-it notes. They’re small, there can be hundreds of them, and sometimes you walk off with one stuck to your shoe. It’s hard to work small but see the big picture.

A visual person, I found my solution in mind maps. I use structure, colours, and icons to plan and manage my project, topic types, effort, progress, and issues within our agile framework.

This presentation will outline the techniques I use in Mindjet MindManager. Mind maps aren’t for everyone, but if you like your information visual, maybe they’re for you!

You can download a trial version of Mindjet MindManager here: and have a go yourself.

About Liz Gregory

Liz Gregory MISTC is the sole technical author at tvONE and writes about commercial AV hardware and software. She has a background in chemistry and education and is a champion of user-first content. Liz’s current big project is raising a wonderful daughter while continuing to be the sole author supporting 500 products. She’s learned a lot about juggling deadlines, priorities, and being organised: plan, plan, plan, and always carry a contingency nappy. She is a dedicated member of the Thames Valley ISTC group, and enjoys knitting, web comics, and ball pits.

TCUK18 Speaker Bridget Khursheed – Cybersecurity and documentation: security considerations for authors

Bridget Khursheed will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 entitled “Cybersecurity and documentation: security considerations for authors”.

Photo of Bridget Khursheed

When APIs make documentation synonymous with the product, what security considerations should authors be aware of? In a PSD2 world where cybersecurity is key what vulnerabilities might documents expose to an attacker? This talk explores how you can maximise security in API and other documentation and learn a defensive mindset to promote and protect company information through security best practice.

About Bridget Khursheed

Bridget Khursheed is a poet and geek from the Scottish Borders. She works at KAL, a fintech company based in Edinburg,h as Global Documentation Manager and is currently studying for an MSc in Advanced Security and Digital Forensics.

TCUK18 Speaker Robert Kratky – Git(Hub) for Technical Writers: From Zero to Published Docs (workshop)

Robert Kratky will be giving a TCUK18 workshop on “Git(Hub) for Technical Writers: From Zero to Published Docs”.

Photo of Robert Kratky

Git, repositories, commits, and branches – whether these are new terms for you, or you already know your way around GitHub – come and learn how to use this platform, and what is this approach towards technical authoring.

In this workshop, we will start with an empty folder and end up with a simple system for validating our docs and an automated publishing process to get our edits to a static website. You will learn about Git, version control principles, and basics of continuous integration and delivery.

About Robert Kratky

Robert Kratky is a Principal Technical Writer at Red Hat. He has published dozens of technical and outreach articles in both print and online media, and presented about documentation topics. At Red Hat, Robert specializes on developer docs and improvement of user experience with documentation.

TCUK18 Speaker Alison Peck – If variety is the spice of life…

Alison Peck will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 entitled “If variety is the spice of life…”.

Photo of Alison Peck

I enjoy a challenge and rarely turn down a professional one– something has to be well outside my comfort zone before I say ‘No’ for lack of enthusiasm. I do consider, though, the financial impact of learning new skills and how useful they are likely to be in the future.

This session looks at some of the ‘non-standard’ things I have done – the things that some technical communicators may hand over to colleagues who are specialists in that area – and how they have worked out for me and (more importantly) for my employer/clients and the people using what I develop.

About Alison Peck

Technical communicator wasn’t on my list of possible jobs when I was at school. Like many, I fell into it. But by then, I’d developed a life-long fascination with language, with learning, and with the visual appearance of information. When I finally found myself working outside the health service, it was with small companies where everyone knew me. I sorted out their Word issues, proofread their marketing materials and even helped them phrase a CV a little better. I loved hearing “Do you think you could…?” because that often led to something I hadn’t tried before. Exciting? Maybe. Different? Definitely.

TCUK 2019 Sponsor – Syncro Soft SRL

Oxygen provides a comprehensive suite of XML authoring, developing, publishing, and collaboration tools. The products are designed to accommodate a large variety of users, ranging from non-technical users to XML experts, and integrates all the major XML-based technologies (including DITA). They are available on multiple platforms (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, etc.) and in various different forms (as a desktop application, Eclipse plugin, or browser-based tool).

The suite of products include:

• Oxygen XML Editor: All-in-one comprehensive XML authoring, publishing, and developing tool
• Oxygen XML Author: User-friendly, visual XML authoring and publishing tool
• Oxygen XML Web Author: Intuitive XML editing and reviewing tool in any modern web browser
• Oxygen XML Developer: Industry-leading tool for designing XML Schema and transformation pipelines
• Oxygen WebHelp: Convenient, interactive tool for publishing DITA and DocBook content on the web
• Oxygen PDF Chemistry: Attractive PDF output from HTML or DITA through simple CSS styling
• Oxygen Content Fusion – Easy to use, flexible collaboration platform for any type of documentation workflow

TCUK 2019 Sponsor – MadCap Software

Logo for MadCap Software

We Develop Innovative Software Solutions Backed with World-class Technical Support

MadCap Software was formed in 2005 by industry veterans with decades of experience in the technical communication and documentation industries, with the objective to develop great products backed with world-class technical support.

Today, MadCap Software is a trusted resource for thousands of companies around the globe for single-source, multi-channel authoring and publishing solutions designed for technical communication, knowledge management and content development. From authoring, publishing and translation, to cloud-based project and content management, to contribution and review in the cloud, you can streamline content delivery and manage the entire content development lifecycle with MadCap Software.

TCUK18 Speaker Ant Davey – I’m just a technical writer. Actually, no.

Ant Davey will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 entitled “I’m just a technical writer. Actually, no.”

Photo of Ant Davey

At a conference some years ago, I was listening to an IBM senior staff member, responsible for customer experience, about career progression. There was an audible intake of breath from some of the younger members of the audience when she suggested that technical writers couldn’t, or shouldn’t expect to, be a technical writer for the whole of their career. Coming from marketing and PR, it wasn’t news to me.

Since I started work, I’ve written and managed direct mail campaigns, educational materials, website content, even a book chapter about metal detection in the food processing industry. I have shot and edited photographs and more recently video as well. I developed an information architecture for our in-house media library, trained as a change management specialist, handled customer enquiries, advocated for a move to structured authoring, supported two new website upgrades, created company-specific Facebook pages, and written annual reports. My latest venture is into scripting and producing podcasts. This short bio-pic covers the fields of activity that I’ve been involved in as a technical communicator that are just some of those that you might be asked to do in future.

About Ant Davey

A writer and editor in marketing and PR for 15 years, before I discovered that there was such a thing as technical writing. That’s when I enrolled on the distance-learning MA in Technical Authorship at Sheffield Hallam University (other courses are still available). I dabbled in writing software user guides for a few years before I was lucky enough to find a job in the rail industry. Now working on matters engineering, operational, physiological and psychological. As well as writing and editing I’m a teacher and mentor, photographer, videographer, video editor, and now podcast script writer and producer.

TCUK18 Speaker Cecily Roberts – How to win followers & influence people: Tech comm lessons from writing about novels

Cecily Roberts will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 on “How to win followers & influence people: Tech comm lessons from writing about novels”.

Photo of Cecily Roberts

  • Do you create content for corporate social media?
  • Are you writing stealth marketing for a web audience?
  • Are you frustrated by colleagues saying “It’s all just writing”?

I will explain what I’ve learned about creating engaging web content for a diverse and unexpected audience.

  • How a personal reading log evolved into 700 reviews, pastiches, and essays, with thousands of active followers.
  • How I’ve selectively grown my audience and encouraged participation.
  • How technical and non-technical writing help each other.
  • How to reach the right people, in the right way – and enjoy it.

It’s not “all just writing”. Context is all.

Cecily Roberts

In real life, Cecily is a child of bibliophiles who has raised another.

She fell into technical communication, but has happily stayed for more than 25 years. She writes software user guides and help, but is increasingly involved with online content.

In virtual life, Cecily writes about books. In ten years, she’s published over 700 articles and discussed them with thousands. Her motives, audience, subjects, and style have evolved. She’s also written her first short story since school, which won the ISTC 2018 competition.

Her literary writing is very different from her work-related writing, but she’s increasingly conscious of symbiosis.

TCUK18 Speaker Holli Hamilton – Call to Action! How tech writers can improve UX (workshop)

Holli Hamilton will be giving a TCUK18 workshop on “Call to Action! How tech writers can improve UX”.

Photo of Holli Hamilton

As tech writers, we’re often one of the first non-engineers to interact with a new system. We have to find the ins and outs of it, to document those trials for our customers. When those ins and outs become a tangled web of check boxes and popups, then a tech writer has a choice: we can document around the issue or we can put on our designer hats and submit an improvement proposal.

In this workshop, Holli will provide exercises and examples that show how a novice (like her) at User Experience can provide feedback to help improve the customer’s journey and their impression of your company’s products. Delegates coming to this workshop will require a laptop connected to the internet to interact with example sites. The content surrounds software and websites as products but the theories can hopefully be applied to technical writers working in other industries.


Holli is currently the sole technical writer for Corero Network Security. She has been a technical writer for over 6 years and came into the field from a Fine Art background. While that may seem odd at first glance, she believes that they share the core values of communication, information absorption, and understanding your audience. She loves nothing more than the unity of these disciplines in a perfectly functional diagram.

Outside of work, she is currently renovating her first home and enjoys frustrating her husband with the amount of pinterest ideas you can cram into a single room.

TCUK18 Speaker Karla Reis – Increasing User Assistance Visibility

Karla Reis will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 on “Increasing User Assistance Visibility”.

Photo of Karla Reis

This presentation is about a project that aimed at making it easier for customers to consume our content; and thus boosting technical writers visibility and standing with internal stakeholders. We wanted a data-driven approach rather than working on assumptions, so we started with customer research, and then piloted our findings.

The results of this project were so impressive that they transformed our stakeholders into advocates for our cause, and who are now willing to voice their belief that good user assistance is beneficial not only to users but to the company as a whole.

About Karla Reis

I am a technical writer who lives and works in Brazil. For the last seven years, I have been developing user assistance for Brazil-localized software at SAP. I am passionate about user experience and about using social media to get closer to users.

I graduated in Languages Portuguese/English and worked as a translator for five years, before joining SAP.

TCUK18 Speaker Ferry Vermeulen – Using Text, Images and Video in Technical Communication

Ferry Vermeulen will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 on “Using Text, Images and Video in Technical Communication”.

Photo of Ferry Vermeulen

The Company you may want to work for is trying to give its audience the best product experience in the world. As a technical writer, you want to contribute to that effort by creating awesome content for that product. There are many great tools out there that can help you to achieve this. These tools include text editors, and graphic and video tools. But how do you decide when to use text, images, or video for your product assistance? Join this presentation to help guide you make the best choices.

About Ferry Vermeulen

Ferry Vermeulen is director at INSTRKTIV. INSTRKTIV helps brands to create compliant and user-friendly user instructions. Ferry has travelled to over 50 countries. It is his aim to visit all countries, meanwhile sorting out how product safety regulation is organized across the world. Also read his User Manual Template Case Study, about how to create compliant user manuals for the EU.

TCUK18 Speaker Matt Pierce – Effective & Engaging: The Key to Making Better Videos

Matt Pierce will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 on “Effective & Engaging: The Key to Making Better Videos”.

Photo of Matt Pierce

Video is taking on an important role in technical communication and is becoming a preferred medium for instructions, documentation, and communication. How can we ensure that our informational and instructional content videos will meet our goals, needs, and the expectations of our viewers? TechSmith conducted studies in the US, UK, and Germany with video viewers to shed light on questions like the ideal length of video, the importance of information placement and making content findable. We’ll explore the results from a creators’ point of view, translating data-driven insights into video design principles taking the viewers’ behaviors and expectations into account.

About Matt Pierce

Matthew Pierce, Learning & Video Ambassador from TechSmith Corporation, has created videos for learning and marketing for over a decade. Matthew has been a speaker at multiple learning and development focused and marketing conferences. He is a regular contributor to Training Magazine, and has been author for Content Marketing Institute, ReelSEO, and various other training publications. He currently leads TechSmith’s customer education initiative around video.

TCUK18 Speaker Mike Unwalla – To make text as clear as possible, use Simplified Technical English

Mike Unwalla will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 on “To make text as clear as possible, use Simplified Technical English”.

Photo of Mike Unwalla on a black background

Human failures cause accidents. A typical cause of human failure is unclear instructions. Simplified Technical English (STE) makes text as clear as possible.

English can be difficult for people who read English as a second language. Phrasal verbs (multi-word verbs) such as ‘carry out’ and ‘put up with’ are a special problem. STE prevents this problem.

Frequently, instructions must be in the language of the readers. STE decreases the cost of translation.

The implementation of STE is not easy. Possibly, technical communicators will resist the use of STE. Terminology management and help from subject-matter experts are necessary.

About Mike Unwalla

Mike Unwalla is a freelance technical communicator who trades as TechScribe ( He helps organizations to supply clear and effective user manuals to their customers. Mike uses controlled language to make his documents as clear as possible. He develops and sells a term checker for the controlled language ASD-STE100.

TCUK18 Speaker Derek Cooper – Quiet Leadership – Why it works in proactive organisations

Derek Cooper will be giving a presentation at TCUK18 on “Quiet Leadership – Why it works in proactive organisations”.

Photo of Derek Cooper with a forest and lake in the background

Leaders don’t have to be flamboyant, talkative, ‘do what I say’ types. Quiet leaders work with their teams, explaining the team’s objectives, and then engaging and enabling their team’s collective intelligence to develop solutions that fulfil those objectives, often in innovative and unexpected ways. Quiet leadership is about creating a team of motivated, valued and trusted people who are capable of becoming leaders in their own right, rather than forming a group of followers who are fearful of taking initiatives or making mistakes. I invite you to take another look at leadership and to recognise the subtle power of quiet.

About Derek Cooper

Derek is an ISTC Fellow who has worked in technical communication since 1992. Although his background is in marine electronics, his experience includes writing documentation for subjects as diverse as electron and optical microscopy, marine and seismic survey, environmental monitoring, financial services, and veterinary science. Derek has recently taken early retirement from Arm Technical Communications in Cambridge, where for four amazing years he quietly and effectively led a team of extremely talented Information Developers. He has now returned to running his own life as a freelance technical author, mentor, and STEM Ambassador. He is, incidentally, also the Chairman of TCUK.

TCUK 2019 Sponsor – Edissero

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Edissero has been a specialist recruiter of technical communicators since 2003, helping many different companies and organisations, from blue chips to technology start-ups, find the best technical communicators for their technical and business information needs. We help companies in the UK and Europe recruit permanent and contract, full-time and part-time technical authors (from graduates and juniors to expert-level), documentation managers, content strategists, knowledgebase managers, eLearning and instructional designers, editors, bid writers, and user experience designers.

With 16 years in this specialist market, we love what we do and are proud of our long-term partnerships with our clients and candidates. They tell us we are thorough, efficient, no-nonsense and nice to deal with.

We look forward to seeing you at TCUK 2019! Please visit our stand to:

• Register with us and talk about how we can help you further your career.
• Discuss how we can help you recruit a technical communicator.
• Take advantage of our 1-to-1 CV MOT service (please bring along your CV).
• Enjoy a sweet treat from our ever-popular chocolate bowl!

TCUK 2019 Sponsor – CAD-IT

CAD-IT are experts in Service Lifecycle Management and are dedicated to the improvement and advancement of all aspects relating to a product in its service life. By leveraging technology and readily available assets we can enhance our customers’ product and service quality, efficiency, profitability and customer satisfaction.

We deliver software solutions, services and consultancy support for our customers. We specialise in assessing our customers’ service landscape and helping them improve how they design, support and maintain their products in the field by leveraging technology and process change. This increases the quality of the support and reduces costs across several functional areas.