TCUK 2016 Keynote Speaker – Jack Molisani


We are pleased to announce Jack Molisani as a keynote speaker for TCUK 2016.

Photo of Jack Molisani

Jack is the Executive Director of the LavaCon Conference, a conference on content strategy and technical communication management. He is also president of ProSpring Technical Staffing and author of the book, Be the Captain of Your Career: A New Approach to Career Planning and Advancement, which made Amazon’s top 10 career and resume bestseller list.

We’ll have more news from Jack Molisani in a later post.


TCUK 2016 Keynote Speaker – Chris West


We are pleased to announce Chris West as a keynote speaker for TCUK 2016.

Photo of Chris West

Chris West is a professional writer. He writes marketing and PR copy, ghost-writes and publishes works in a range of genres under his own name. His most recent publication is Hello Europe! A History of Modern Europe in Sixty Eurovision Song Contests.

The Beermat Entrepreneur was co-written with Mike Southon, co-founder of 1980s training company The Instruction Set. It was published in 2002 and was one of the first of a new generation of books on entrepreneurship. Previous ones had been rather dry manuals. Beermat told it like it was. The book has been translated into many languages and sold over 60,000 copies in the UK.

Chris West: Life on a Beermat
The Beermat Entrepreneur was one of the bestselling entrepreneurship books of the 2000s. I shall tell the story of how it got written and promoted, and what we did to turn the book into a ‘brand’ – what we got right and what we got wrong!

I shall look at (amongst other things):

  • Choosing the right subject
  • Choosing the right co-author
  • Working with a subject-matter expert
  • Choosing a publisher and working with them
  • Getting publicity
  • Building a brand
  • Brand extensions that worked – other Beermat books, speaking
  • Brand extensions that didn’t work
  • The importance of keeping focus and momentum

Capita TI – Platinum Sponsor Interview, Sally Haywood


Sally Haywood – Senior Localisation Engineer, Capita TI

Sally Haywood from Capita TI

Sally Haywood has been working in the translation industry for the past 20 years. She has a degree in German and Russian and a Masters in Machine Translation.
She has worked in various positions at ITR as a Senior Project Manager, Localisation Engineer and now as a Business Development Manager for Capita TI. She specialised in the management of complex software projects, and in her role as Senior Localisation Engineer, developed new workflows and technical solutions to support the Project Management team. She has a wide-ranging knowledge of CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools as well as high-level skills in InDesign, FrameMaker, Captivate and DITA etc.
Sally loves to play the piano, and she sings with Ripon Choral Society. She has 3 daughters and a very playful young dog!

TCUK: We are delighted you are joining us as a first-time sponsor this year. Can you tell us what encouraged you to support us?

SH: Earlier this year, Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) acquired International Translation Resources (ITR) which brings together the expertise of both companies to provide the best solutions for our customers. You can read the full story at While ITR has sponsored and exhibited many times at TCUK, this is the first time that Capita TI will have a presence. For us, it is imperative to stay on top of industry trends in technical communication, new ideas, tools and technologies. We provide end-to-end solutions for our customers and need to embrace new technology. Whatever tools and technologies our clients are using for their source material, we also need to use in our translations in order to deliver a fully functional end product, whether that be localised websites, software apps, online help, technical documentation or eLearning.

TCUK is great in promoting new trends in technical communication and provides an excellent forum to swap and discuss ideas. It is great to have the opportunity to listen to presentations on case studies from a wide variety of industries, which always gives us food for thought.

We also welcome the opportunity of being able to make new connections and talk to technical communicators about issues they are facing; often we have experiences we can share from projects we have worked on.

TCUK: This year the TCUK event special focus is “From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator”. Are there any relevant trends in technical communication that apply to both novice and experienced communicators?

SH: It is clear that, as technical communicators, you need to embrace change and develop new skills that can define your role and help to develop your career.

Technical communicators need to promote their role within their company as they are now no longer responsible for producing the technical manual for a product, but also for eLearning, marketing material, technical support documentation and any other information that enhances a user’s experience.

We have seen a huge rise in the need for eLearning translations. Technical communicators need to embrace new technology and develop different ways of writing. ELearning often contains minimal amounts of on-screen text, and so conveying information in a very succinct way is essential. ELearning can include animation and voiceover, and technical writers may even find themselves having to author a script for the voiceover artist: a skill that is very different from authoring a technical user guide.

The need to be agile continues to dominate the authoring and translation world. Traditional waterfall methods of developing software applications can lead to delays in time to market and product release. We all know the challenges of creating agile content, but by communicating and collaborating with other stakeholders and embedding content creation as part of the process, your role as a technical writer or content creator will be promoted.

TCUK: You are joining us for the first time this year. What encouragement would you have for technical communicators to get them to join you this year?

SH: Get involved! It’s always great to be involved in any way you can with other technical communicators. Making new connections and meeting people face to face is a good way of exchanging ideas and asking questions about other people’s experiences. You can make contact with others who are facing similar challenges to you in their writing, and although you can read online about solutions to those issues, it’s invaluable to talk to others, to share your thoughts and learn from those who have been there and done that! You will learn just as much from talking to your peers as you will listening to the fantastic line-up of speakers.

Who knows….you might even win the quiz!

TCUK: The TCUK conference moves to a new location each year. This year, TCUK is hosted in Bedfordshire, England. What are you looking forward to most at this year’s conference?

SH: I think Bedfordshire is a great location for the TCUK conference. It’s central and easy to get to and Wyboston Lakes would seem to be the perfect venue.

We are looking forward to hearing more about this year’s conference theme “From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator” and to making new connections, as well as seeing old friends.


Gold Sponsor TCUK 2016 – Semcon


Semcon logo


The world’s most efficient car. Revolutionary tidal power. Doubling production in the same plant. Documentation in nuclear power plants.

No challenges are too difficult for us at Semcon. We are an international technology company in engineering services and product information with 3,000 dedicated and highly skilled employees, who develop the future together with our customers.

Semcon has more than 30 years of experience in its chosen industries – automotive, life science, telecommunications, energy and other development- intensive industries.

Our services include all kinds of challenges within technology development such as product development, product information, quality, training and methodology development. We find flexible ways of working tailored to our assignments and customer needs and use our global resourcing capacity.


Online booking for TCUK 2016 is now open


The online booking for TCUK 2016 is now open. TCUK 2016 is taking place at the Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre between Cambridge and Milton Keynes, from the 13th to the 15th of September.

Wyboston Lakes aerial view

Early-bird prices are available from today until 30th June, and the early-bird all-inclusive residential package is £620 for members and £770 for non-members. These prices will rise to £680 and £830 respectively from 1st July.

The early-bird price for day registrations is £180 for members and £245 for non-members, rising to £210 and £275 respectively from 1st July.

We announce programme details in the coming days and weeks, so please bookmark and check back often. You can also keep up with our news on Twitter, Facebook, Lanyrd, and LinkedIn.


Bronze Sponsor TCUK 2016 – PleaseTech


PleaseTech logo

PleaseTech Ltd.

PleaseTech is a technology company specializing in collaborative document co-authoring and review software.

Whilst technical writing primarily involves the use of XML-based editing tools, documentation such as articles, case studies, educational content, manuals, specification, guides, contracts, proposals and more are created, updated and reviewed in formats including Microsoft Word and PDF.

Our flagship product, PleaseReview™, is a proven collaborative review and co-authoring solution for Microsoft® Word® and other document types including source code. It facilitates controlled, simultaneous and secure collaboration for the review and editing of documents.

Whilst document review and co-authoring is recognized as a critical business issue which consumes considerable resources across the organization, the basic problem remains: if you have a Microsoft Word document (or Excel, PDF, etc.) and need several people to review it, how do you do that in an efficient and controlled way? This is where PleaseReview adds value: it offers control, management and metrics to the review, accommodates both online and offline reviewers (supporting a mobile workforce) and enables secure collaboration with external partners. In addition, its extensive functionality is easy to learn and use, promoting efficient team work and happier reviewers.

In an environment where greater productivity and tighter deadlines require smarter processes, PleaseReview can help reduce review cycles by up to 65%, time spent in review meetings by 60% and delivers typical savings of 35% in document production costs.

PleaseTech has satisfied customers ranging from small consultancies to global organizations from multiple business sectors including Life Sciences, Defense, IT, Utilities and Government and across disciplines such as regulatory, proposals, software engineering, marketing, contract management, QA and more.

For more information come and see us in the exhibition area, contact us at or visit our website


The Novice Technical Communicator – Where does my journey begin


This is the first in a series of articles based on our 2016 theme for TCUK: “From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator”.

Fountain pen and ink bottle resting on an open blank notebook with 2 closed pens lying next to the notebook

For a person entering the world of technical communication, this world may seem exciting and yet daunting. The role of a technical communicator is constantly evolving with the changes in technology and constantly presenting new challenges.

There are many avenues to be travelled upon – for example, you can choose writing, editing, illustration, designing or publishing. Regardless of the avenue you choose as a technical communicator, you need to be able to understand complex (technical) information and convey this to your audience in a meaningful and appropriate way.

On the job, you would work with a range of specialists – designers, engineers, technicians, marketers, product developers and publishers. You would need excellent communication skills to be able to deal with different types of personalities and extract the information you need from them.

The career opportunities in the field of technical communication are plenty. At this point, you will be asking yourself, where do I begin my journey as a technical communicator?

Here’s our take on how you can kickstart your career in technical communication.

What does technical communication involve?

Typically, technical communication involves creating documentation for technical processes, software programs and systems.

You could produce end-user content – from the user’s perspective – that provides useful information on the product functionality and usability, which helps to solve the user’s problem, answer their questions and meet their needs.

Your everyday work could involve creating new documents, updating or rewriting existing documentation, performing user research and presenting the information in the most appropriate manner. You could commission or illustrate photographs and diagrams, test materials and work with digital platforms for delivering and publishing content.

Other types of documents you could create include:

  • articles, case studies and white papers
  • educational content
  • product manuals and specifications
  • policies and procedures / standard operating procedures
  • API documentation
  • how-to guides
  • blog posts

The field of technical communication is moving beyond merely authoring classic documentation. Documenting what developers do is a growing area. Straddling the field of user experience while keeping one foot in technical communication is a popular choice. Technical communicators are expected to understand and utilise a variety of software programs, tools, methods and digital platforms that aid content creation.

Which industries need technical communicators?

You will make careful considerations about the industry you want to work in as a technical communicator.

Before you choose the industry you want to work in, firstly, decide what you want to write about and try to follow your passion.

There are many industries that require the skills of a technical communicator, such as:

  • aerospace, defence and manufacturing
  • architectural structure and engineering
  • digital technology
  • educational services
  • government agencies and organisations
  • information technology
  • telecommunications
  • scientific research labs
  • publishing agencies

Use the internet (or any available resources!) to research which local industries are recruiting technical communicators – you can widen or narrow your search based on your results.

Professional mentors and training

The most difficult part of embarking on a career is breaking into the field. We have highlighted a few steps to guide you.

Step one: Research the company you want to work for

Use online and offline resources to find out what you can about the company you would like to work for.

  • Website – Most companies have a website – a shop window – which gives you an insight into the company history, present and future. Use the website to understand what the company does. Learn about the company products – even write your own (product) article based on the information you have so far.
    Download (free) resources such as case studies and white papers to give you an idea of the type of content that is being written and the level of skills required to produce that type of content.
    Make note of the things you think you can improve on as you navigate the website. If asked at a later stage to share your thoughts, then you refer to these notes.
  • Social Media – Take a look at the social media channels the company uses to promote their brand and products. This will give you an insight into the way in which the company engages and interacts with its customers and audiences online.
  • Publications – Take a look at trade magazines or other publications where the company contributes content to or is featured in.
  • Contacts – Make a note of the persons responsible for producing technical content. You will find contact information such as an email address or social media profile available on the ‘Contact Us’ page of the company site. Always use the preferred method of contact when reaching out.

Step Two: Make contact and get a mentor

In step one, you collected a list of contacts you can approach.

Start off by introducing yourself and let them know who you are and what you are looking for. You could send them a copy of the article you wrote or other pieces of content that showcase your skills to generate interest.

This would give them an opportunity to learn something about you. If they are interested in your work, they will contact you and request you to either contribute to a project that suits your skills or guide you through the hiring process for a role at the company.

You may have to contact several technical communicators before you receive a response. But it’s worth your time – in the end you may just land your first role as a technical communicator.

Entering the field of technical communication is challenging, but there are professionals out there who can mentor and guide young professionals looking for a break.

Step Three: Memberships and Training

Become a member of a recognised technical communication organisation or institute.

This is a great way to meet professional technical communicators, join groups, attend events and find mentors and more contacts.

Many memberships offer discounted events, courses and workshops for you to attend.

The Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators is the largest (non-profit) body in the UK that represents the technical communication profession. The ISTC offers a range of professional communities, events and courses for its members. The ISTC has a mentoring programme.

Becoming a member of a professional organisation shows that you are proactive and curious about your field.

Here is a list of technical communication organisations you can consider joining:

Write your Tech Comm CV

Writing a CV for any profession is a tough task.

Being new in the field could mean that you may not have much experience. Use your CV as an opportunity to showcase your skill set and any relevant experience. For example:

  • Experience – If you have graduated from university – write a brief paragraph about a piece of course work you produced. Include skills that would be relevant to the role you will apply for – research, information gathering, use of imagery, and writing style used to produce course work.
    If you have your own blog or have written any articles or product reviews, then reference those in your CV. This could act as a portfolio of your work.
    If you were employed whilst you were a student then include your dates of employment and a brief sentence about your role.
  • Skills – List the software packages, methods and tools you used to produce your work with.

From writing the CV to choosing the right format for the content is perhaps the biggest hurdle. Take a look at these sample technical writing CVs to get an idea of how the CV should be formatted, and begin writing the content.

Your CV should read easily and follow a simple format as follows:

  • Top of CV – Name, address, contact details and social media profile – include a link to LinkedIn profile. Brief tag line of objective.
  • Body of CV – Work experiences till date – professional or voluntary. A list of skills, qualifications, certificates, and link to portfolio (if works are available online).
  • End of CV – Education.

The clarity of your CV should indicate the clarity you will bring to the job!

The cover letter for your CV should address the requirements posted in the job advertisement. If you are submitting an unsolicited CV, your cover letter should reflect the insights you gathered in step one.

Build your network online or offline

When building a new career, how you network with other professionals is key in the progression of your career.

There are many technical communication leaders and experts out there that you can connect with on social media or even meet at events. You can follow them for regular updates and even post a message to them when you see something of interest from them in your personal feed.

The internet is a fascinating way to connect with people. Set up your own professional social media profile on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and share your thoughts on the industry, join groups or communities and participate in discussions with other professionals.

Keep in touch with the people you meet along the way. You never know when an opportunity may arise and you could be contacted – because you took the time to connect with them.

Our next article will focus on the Expert Technical Communicator.

Written by: Vee Modha
Contribution by: Karen Mardahl


TCUK16 Call for Proposals deadline extended to Thursday 7th April


In response to requests we’ve received, the deadline for the Call for Proposals has been extended to Thursday 7th April 2016.

This year’s special focus is From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator.

We also welcome proposals on any topic that you feel will be of interest to technical communication professionals. Delegates at previous conferences have expressed interest in presentations on a wide variety of topics and a suggested list of topics may be found on the Call for Proposals page.

We have a series of articles by Andrew Lightheart that can provide help and inspiration in putting together your proposal. When you are ready, fill in our proposal submission form.

We look forward to working with you this year.


Bronze Sponsor TCUK 2016 – Acrolinx


Acrolinx logo

About Acrolinx

The Acrolinx platform helps the world’s greatest brands create amazing content: on-brand, on-target, and at scale. Built on an advanced linguistic analytics engine, Acrolinx is the only software platform that can actually “read” your content and guide writers to make it better. That’s why companies like Adobe, Boeing, Google, and Philips use Acrolinx to create content that’s more engaging, enjoyable, and impactful. Learn more at



Platinum Sponsor TCUK 2016 – SCHEMA



SCHEMA – Complex Documents Made Easy!

SCHEMA Group was founded in 1995 in Nürnberg and today has around 100 employees. SCHEMA ST4 is an XML-based editing and content management system, offering extensive features for all aspects of the creation, management, translation, quality management, publication and distribution of product information of any kind. SCHEMA ST4’s scalability makes it suitable for small editing teams as well as for company-wide solutions for information logistics. SCHEMA ST4 can be used as a standard product or a customer-specific solution. With the SCHEMA Content Delivery Server, information can be distributed intelligently to all common platforms, independently of SCHEMA ST4.

Our products and solutions are successfully deployed across various branches of industry to simplify ‘complex documents,’ including technical documentation, software documentation and help systems, catalogs, labeling for pharmaceutical companies, training material, solutions for specialized publishers, contract and bid management. SCHEMA ST4 is based on Microsoft .NET technology with Windows and web clients, and can easily be integrated and deployed into modern IT landscapes, as it supports the entire bandwidth of documentation standards (XML, XSL:FO, DITA, etc.). SCHEMA ST4 offers a broad line-up of interfaces (XML editors, MS Office, Adobe CS & FrameMaker, SAP, etc.). SCHEMA is proud to be an active part of a network of renowned partners, as this also enables SCHEMA to offer specialized solutions for its customers.

Among the many customers already using solutions based on SCHEMA ST4 are: ABB, Agilent, Avaloq, Bosch, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bundesanzeiger, Carl Zeiss, Daimler, Deutsche Bundesbank, General Electric, Hewlett Packard, Lindauer DORNIER, MAN, Miele, Reifenhäuser, Roche Diagnostics, Schaeffler Gruppe, Siemens, SMS Siemag, Österreichische Bundesbahnen, Ottobock Healthcare, Philips, STOLL, Voith, Wolffkran and many more.

Further Information: www.schema.deSCHEMA blog in German / SCHEMA blog in English


Silver Sponsor TCUK 2016 – 3di


3di logo

3di Information Solutions Ltd.

“Complexity made clear”

3di has delivered technical communication and localization services to global companies, government organisations, and technology and software businesses since 2002. Our in-house team is based near Guildford. Quite a few of us are attending TCUK as delegates.

Our customers and suppliers love working with us and keep coming back. The people we work with day-to-day like our friendly and reliable approach and our focus on quality — we don’t let them down. The people who pay the bills like our competitive rates and our focus on efficient processes — we save them money.

Visit our stand at TCUK to:

  • discuss your work and the challenges you face
  • brief us about projects you have coming up
  • tell us about your availability to work with us and our customers

For more information visit our website


Platinum Sponsor TCUK 2016 – Capita TI


Capita TI Logo

Capita TI

Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI) is a leading provider of language services to both public and private organisations. We offer a wide range of professional translation and interpreting services, including website localisation, face-to-face interpreting, voiceover and subtitling, and multilingual SEO, in over 180 languages. Our experience has helped a diverse range of businesses and community groups to translate everything from websites and important documentation, to software and digital files, so that internal stakeholders and customers alike can understand the information they require, no matter what language they speak.

As we are part of Capita plc, a FTSE 100 organisation, we can offer extensive experience and resources, as well as being able to provide reliable end-to-end solutions. Our processes and capabilities are demonstrated by our ISO accreditations in information security; quality of management systems; and environmental management.

Capita Translation and Interpreting (Capita TI)


Diamond Sponsor TCUK 2016 – Adobe




Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information. Adobe’s award-winning software and technologies have set the standard for communication and collaboration for more than 25 years, bringing vital and engaging experiences to people across media and to every screen in their lives, at work and at play.


The business world is expanding rapidly amidst increased globalization, digitization and mobile device penetration. In this dynamic and evolving scenario, the technical content we will deliver has to be contextual, consumable and actionable – and easily available at the right place, at the right time and in the right amount. Hence, the ways in which the content needs to be authored, enriched, reviewed, managed, and delivered are also changing. This means that today’s technical communication tools need to support all the above requirements—while offering the highest return on investment, the lowest total cost of ownership, and the fastest go-to-market.

Adobe’s Technical Communication group delivers best-in-class tools and services that are aimed at facilitating the end -to-end process of creating ground-breaking content, publishing it seamlessly across media and devices, and achieving greater business success.

Adobe’s Technical Communication products include the Technical Communication Suite, FrameMaker, RoboHelp, FrameMaker Publishing Server, FrameMaker XML Author and RoboHelp Server.

Adobe TCS iconAdobe® Technical Communication Suite (2015 Release) is an indispensable toolkit for content developers, comprising five industry-leading tools for single-source authoring, content management and reuse, and multichannel publishing. Easily author bidirectional XML/DITA content with Adobe FrameMaker. Create training modules with Adobe Captivate and video presentations with Adobe Presenter. Collaborate seamlessly via multiplatform PDF-based reviews and integration with CMSs and cloud storage. Deliver dynamic content experiences across mobile devices, formats, and platforms, with Adobe RoboHelp and FrameMaker.

Adobe FrameMaker iconAdobe FrameMaker (2015 release) is a complete solution for bidirectional technical content. Publish natively across channels, mobile devices and formats, without any plug-ins. Author with best-in-class XML/DITA support using a simplified authoring environment. Collaborate seamlessly with subject matter experts, even on mobile devices. Manage content using out-of-the-box integration with leading CMSs and the cloud. Leverage the proven strengths of FrameMaker to handle long, complex documents.

Adobe RoboHelp iconAdobe RoboHelp (2015 release) empowers you to deliver engaging help, policy, and knowledge base content across mobile devices, formats, and platforms. Publish content as mobile apps, or in HTML5, EPUB 3, KF8, and MOBI. Help users find relevant content faster with dynamic content filters and contextual search results. Work more productively with a modern ribbon UI, customizable Quick Access toolbar, contextual tabs, and named conditional expressions.

Adobe RoboHelp Server iconAdobe RoboHelp Server 10 extends the capabilities of Adobe RoboHelp and Adobe FrameMaker. Merge multiple segments of Help content, including responsive HTML5 content, into a unified information system. Host it for anytime, anywhere, any device access. Get extensive analytics reports on content usage, and use the insights to optimize Help content. Manage user rights and security, and take advantage of simplified deployment and configuration. Control operations remotely with an intuitive UI.

Adobe FrameMaker XML Author iconAdobe FrameMaker XML Author (2015 release) enables you to easily create bidirectional XML content. Author with an intuitive user interface, multiple views, MathML equation support, XSLT and XPath, and new DITA 1.3 support. Manage content using out-of-the-box integration with leading CMSs and Dropbox. Empower your subject matter experts to create valid XML content without knowing XML using the simplified XML authoring environment. Collaborate seamlessly using PDF-based reviews, even on mobile devices.

Adobe FrameMaker Publishing Server iconAdobe FrameMaker Publishing Server (2015 release) is an enterprise software to automate multichannel, multidevice publishing. Allow multiple users to access publishing services remotely, and manage your publishing setup with a comprehensive dashboard. Output bidirectional content in multiple formats: HTML5, WebHelp, EPUB, KF8, MOBI, PDF, and CHM, and as mobile apps. Leverage out-of-the-box support for leading CMSs, or use the web APIs to smoothly integrate with other CMSs.


TCUK 2016 will be held 13 to 15 September 2016 at Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre


The ISTC is delighted to announce that the Technical Communication UK (TCUK) conference 2016 will be taking place at Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre on 13 to 15 September 2016.

Wyboston Lakes Executive Centre is located midway between Cambridge and Milton Keynes, at the edge of the historic market town of St. Neots.

It is the largest, privately owned business and leisure destination in northern Europe, and it is set in 380 acres of rural countryside (30 acres bigger than Hyde Park).

Meeting room in Wyboston Lakes

Aerial view of Wyboston Lakes

We’ll be updating the website over the coming months with details on the speakers, presentations and how to book.

This year’s theme is:

From Novice to Expert – Writing Your Career Path as a Technical Communicator


Looking back at TCUK 2015


The Technical Communication UK (TCUK) 2015 was in Scotland for the very first time. TCUK 2015 took place on 29th and 30th September and 1st October, at the Beardmore Hotel and Conference Centre, at Dalmuir in Clydebank, just outside Glasgow.

The special focus was: Breaking the Boundaries of Technical Communication.

Magda Caloian has created some video clips of her experience at TCUK 2015:

Your comments on TCUK 2015

  • It was a good variety of material and speakers.
  • Very open and friendly atmosphere. Nice with the focus on documenting software.
  • It was very enjoyable to meet up with friends and colleagues again and the whole atmosphere was very happy and lively.
  • Well-run, very friendly, great positive atmosphere. I was really pleased to see there was a code of conduct.
  • Excellent work, as usual, by the production team.
  • Excellent opportunity to be updated and get ideas.
  • For a conference planned and executed by volunteers, it was outstanding.
  • Keynote speakers were a highlight for me, very inspiring. Pre-dinner sticks and kicks band were also very entertaining.
  • It was a great conference! I got so much input and have a lot of ideas. I’m looking forward to next year.
  • It was a pleasure attending and speaking at TCUK again, sharing experience with delegates and experts, covering the event on Twitter and having fun for those three days. Thank you!
  • I really enjoyed it. Thank you.

CJ Walker posted daily reviews of the conference on Storify:



RWS Translations – Bronze Sponsor Interview | Chris Rayner (Group Marketing Manager)


Chris Rayner (Group Marketing Manager)

Chris Rayner

TCUK: What factors encouraged RWS Translations to come to the TCUK 2015 conference?

CR: This is a new conference for RWS and a combination of the profile of the attendees, the distinguished speaker line up and programme content all appear to be a good match for our specialist services. We are anticipating a really successful few days!

TCUK: Every year at TCUK, we deliver presentations related to a special focus topic. This year’s special focus topic is ‘Breaking the Boundaries in Technical Communication’. Are there ways in which RWS Translations can help technical communicators “break the boundaries” in their professional work?

CR: RWS provides accurate and professional translations of any source material, regardless of the subject matter or language combinations. Those sectors where innovation and breaking new ground is important to their business, know they can rely on us for complete accuracy. Our panel of qualified translators are all subject matter experts in their chosen fields which ensures that the source texts are completely understood, and that all industry-specific terminology is rendered precisely in the finished translation.

TCUK: We live in a global economy where technology is constantly changing – how does RWS Translations deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by these changes?

CR: RWS is one of the top 10 language service providers in the world and has over 600 staff and offices worldwide and are able to support clients with our range of comprehensive services. As organizations constantly strive for innovative, interactive and engaging ways to communicate, we can support their ambitions in any language and any file format. Whether it is translation, interpreting, audio recording, voiceovers, video dubbing, subtitling, DTP or graphics localization, our project teams have the experience to match clients’ creativity.

TCUK: What products and services will RWS Translations be showcasing at TCUK 2015?

CR: We translate a wide range of materials for the sector – and we will be demonstrating how we meet stringent industry requirements and produce accurate and professional translations, regardless of subject matter or language combinations. Our clients are often in highly regulated industries including technology, sciences and professional services sectors and translations can include software user manuals, aeroplane specifications, financial reports and legal contracts, insurance policies, marketing and communications materials etc all of which are subject to stringent quality control procedures. We were one of the first language service providers to gain ISO certification and pioneered the development of robust quality control procedures.

TCUK: What are RWS Translations most looking forward to at TCUK 2015?

CR: We are looking forward to meeting delegates and speakers as well as other exhibitors. As a specialist language service provider we have found that spending time talking to the people who work in technical communications can be stimulating and provide us with invaluable insights.


TCUK15 Speaker – Carol Leahy to present on “Does your gender really make you a better communicator?”


Carol Leahy will be presenting on “Does your gender really make you a better communicator?”

Carol Leahy

Historically, women are seen as better communicators compared to men yet the field of technical communication is pre-dominantly male. Why is this? Are males really better at communicating technical information?

This presentation will discuss gender within the technical communications field and if it really plays a role in making you a good or bad communicator. It will delve into the wider question of the need for more women in science and technology and how technical communicators, regardless of gender, can address this question and potentially build awareness of technical communications to the next generation.


Bronze Sponsor TCUK 2015 – Fluid Topics


Fluid Topics logo

Antidot is proud to introduce Fluid Topics, its new dynamic content publishing solution, transforming the way users benefit from your technical documentation.

Break the bounds of static content, empower users and develop actionable insights with Fluid Topics dynamic publishing. Our solution gives users the power to find and navigate technical information from any source on any device. By combining it from a variety of content silos, you create a unified access point and enhance customer support. Fluid Topics gives life to digital information so that your company, partners and users are free to dynamically reuse, shape and share the content they need whenever they need it.

Fluid Topics also gives you the tools to examine how people actually use your documentation. Now you know what they look for and what you should focus on.

Since 1999, Antidot has helped more than 150 clients in the areas of publishing, e-commerce, healthcare, corporate portals and intranets.


Change of Keynote Speaker at TCUK 2015


We are very sorry to announce that Murray Cox is now unable to attend TCUK 2015.

His place as a keynote speaker will be filled by Neil Perlin. Neil is an internationally-known online content consultant, trainer, and columnist, and is certified in both Adobe RoboHelp and MadCap Flare. Neil’s keynote presentation is on “Breaking Our Own Boundaries”, looking at ways to break out of self-imposed boundaries – expand, extend, and avoid pigeonholes – to help us move in challenging, well-paying, and fun directions.

Please see the programme page for other late-breaking changes to the conference programme.


SDL – Platinum Sponsor Interview | Andy Bromley (Director Structured Content Technologies)


About SDL

SDL has been innovating for more than 20 years. A leader in global customer experience – with a completely integrated cloud solution for content management, analytics, language and documentation, SDL solves the complexity of managing a brand’s digital footprint as it grows across multiple languages, cultures, websites, devices and channels. Seventy-nine of the the top 100 global companies work with SDL to help them create authentic, in-context customer experiences that drive demand and loyalty.

Learn more about SDL

SDL | Customer Experience Cloud

Experiences customers have with a brand impact how they will do business with you now, or in the future. SDL Customer Experience Cloud helps deliver a personalised experience to customers that shows you understand them at every point in their journey. SDL CXC can help turn customers into loyal and brand advocates with its solutions for Analytics, Social, eCommerce, Campaigns, Web, Documentation and Language.

Learn more about SDL CXC

Andy Bromley | Director Structured Content Technologies


Andy first became interested in the potential for content technologies when as a Law undergraduate (15 years ago) he built a website for Law students to share content and revision tips.

Since then he has had the responsibility for content strategy and technology implementations at a number of leading content and content technology companies including Lexis Nexis, Oracle and now SDL.

Andy Bromley in interview with TCUK

TCUK: Thank you for sponsoring TCUK 2015. Tell us why SDL is sponsoring the Technical Communication UK Conference…

AB: Firstly let me say that it has been a great privilege for us to participate as a sponsor of TCUK over the last few years and we are honoured to have the chance to do so again this year. We always look forward to the chance to catch up with old friends, and of course make new ones at TCUK  events.

One of the most important considerations for us in sponsoring the TCUK conference is that for a couple of days we are able to get out of the office and away from the whirlwind of our everyday responsibilities. To spend time with our fellow professionals dedicated to thinking and learning about technical communication. It is an opportunity for personal and professional growth that every year sends us back to our jobs with more inspiration, passion and knowledge of the subject that we care about.

TCUK provides a fantastic platform for this to happen and we wouldn’t want to miss the chance to participate.

TCUK: Every year TCUK delivers focused presentations on a special topic. This year’s special focus is ‘Breaking the Boundaries in Technical Communication’. Can you give some examples of how SDL products and services help technical communicators to ‘break the boundaries’ in their professional work?

AB: I was especially excited about the topic of this years conference. Technical communication is on the verge of taking on a much higher profile and strategic role within every organisation and I think we – technical communication professionals – need to be on top of these things so that we can guide our organisations through the changes that they will need to make.

SDL has been tracking these trends for a number of years now and our products have been designed to support the dynamics of these changes throughout the documentation production process. We can give technical communicators tools that allow them to get on-board with the XML revolution and also a way to gradually show the rest of their organisations how to take advantage of the amazing work they are doing.

Specifically there are 3 key trends that I see driving the momentum that will break down the existing boundaries in technical communication…

  • Firstly there is a definite preference emerging from consumers for what I would call “educational content” as opposed to “persuasive content”. This means that technical and educational content will become the FIRST priority for every business.
  • Secondly our expectations as consumers for how easily we can access content has been set very high by companies such as Apple and Google. This means that if our organisations do not live up to the standards being set by these brands they will find it challenging to compete with companies that do.
  • Lastly the evolution of structured content standards and technologies, like DITA is making a compelling case for ALL content to be produced and managed in this way and when this happens I think the expertise Technical writers have already will become a highly prized asset within any business.

TCUK: Technology is constantly changing – what are your biggest challenges and opportunities?

AB: The rapid nature of technological progress is only part of the narrative we should engage with in relation to “change”. It’s absolutely fundamental that we also consider how our strategy – and I mean specifically our content strategy – needs to evolve and then how that strategy will interrelate with and impact on changing technology.

Having a strategy makes it a lot easier to figure out how to deal with the challenges and how to take advantage of the opportunities. And that’s what SDL has been doing now for several years.

Our structured content product family has evolved to first and foremost allow the implementation of a content strategy from one end of the content lifecycle to the other and only then to provide whatever the latest trending technological functionality may be.

TCUK: SDL is delivering a presentation at the vendor exhibition – what products, tools and innovations will you showcase at the exhibition?

AB: Many TCUK attendees will be familiar with our products by the “LiveContent” brand name.

About a year ago SDL completed a redesign and tighter integration of the LiveContent suite of products and we have renamed the new integrated version of the suite “SDL Knowledge Center”.

This new iteration of the product suite is more capable and advanced than ever before and will allow you to seamlessly implement a content strategy all the way from authoring through internal SME review and ultimately to put into place dynamic delivery and collaboration with customers.

We will be showcasing this new generation product at TCUK. Some of the areas where we have made great strides forward with our products, tools and innovations.

TCUK: TCUK 2015 is going to Glasgow, Scotland. What are you looking forward to at this year’s conference?

AB: We are looking forward to getting the feedback from TCUK attendees on include:  Content Optimisation and Collaboration; Rich Media; Rich Data; Mobile Delivery; Optimisation of Global content processes; Social content and last but by no means least Content Discovery.


TCUK 2015 | Adobe – Diamond Sponsor Interview | Rohit Bansal (Adobe TechComm – Product Marketing Manager)


About Adobe


Adobe revolutionises how the world engages with ideas and information. Adobe’s award-winning software and technologies have se the standard for communication and collaboration for more than 25 years – bringing vital and engaging experiences to people across media and to every screen in their lives, at work and at play.

Adobe’s heritage is founded in digital content authoring and publishing. Adobe built the category and remains the gold standard.

Learn more about Adobe

About Adobe TCS | Tech Comm Group

Adobe Technical Communication Group (TCS) delivers tools and services within the Print and Publishing Business Unit that aim to facilitate the end-to-end process of creating ground-breaking content – deploying it seamlessly across media and devices and achieving greater business success.

Learn more about Adobe Technical Communication Suite (2015 Release)

Rohit Bansal | Product Marketing Manager – Adobe Tech Comm Products


Rohit is a Product Marketing Manager at Adobe Tech Comm. He manages various aspects of the worldwide GTM for the Technical Communication product segment including FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Acrobat, Captivate and Technical Communication Suite.

He is also an expert in Digital Marketing and Social Media. Rohit previously worked within FMCG and Publishing industries.

Rohit Bansal in interview with TCUK

TCUK: Thank you for sponsoring TCUK 2015. Tell us why are you sponsoring the Technical Communication UK Conference…

RB: TCUK is the leading conference for technical communication professionals in UK. Adobe has been the primary sponsor of the TCUK event for the last few years. And we are happy to continue our association with ISTC.

TCUK: Every year at TCUK we have presentations of general interest to technical communicators, and presentations related to a special focus topic. This year’s special focus topic is “Breaking the Boundaries of Technical Communication” and we expect to have presentations on how technical communicators have gone beyond the normal confines of their jobs. Are there ways in which your company’s products and services can help technical communicators “break the boundaries” in their professional work?

RB: The technical communication landscape is evolving rapidly. The manner in which content is created, managed and distributed is changing even faster. The new 2015 release of Adobe Technical Communication products is in fact designed to help technical communicators deliver beyond the normal confines of their jobs.

With authoring and publishing support for RTL (right-to-left) languages, Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi, now in FrameMaker, authors can create content for a truly global audience.

Collaboration is also much better now, with smoother import of Word documents into FrameMaker and a form-like, easy-to-fill, simplified XML authoring experience for casual authors and SMEs. The multi-channel, multi-device publishing capability is stronger than ever ensuring that content can be delivered across platforms and devices.

Increased focus on publishing for mobile devices including apps, will ensure that content is distributed widely and consumed easily. The new dynamic filtering feature will help the technical communicators to serve personalised content to their users and help them empower their users to find relevant content faster.

As a company we will keep developing products which are tailored to meet the changing needs of the technical communication professionals.

TCUK: From your experience of TCUK, what would you like to say to our members in order to encourage them to attend this year’s conference?

RB: TCUK is one of the best conferences for technical communicators in the region. We have been sponsoring and attending TCUK year after year.

Anybody who wants to stay abreast with the current skills, latest industry trends and best practices in the technical communication field must attend this conference. It is a great place to connect with your customers as well.

TCUK: Every year, TCUK moves to a new location in the UK. This year – TCUK 2015 is going to Glasgow, Scotland – What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s conference?

RB: We are really looking forward to attend the conference in such a picturesque location and connect with even more customers and partners this year in Glasgow.


Silver Sponsor TCUK 2015 – Technically Write IT Ltd



Technically Write IT Ltd. (TWi) is an Irish company that delivers fully managed end-to-end documentation services, mainly to large hi-tech multinationals. Our clients choose us because they value quality and need a trusted partner who can scale up and down to meet their changing requirements. The TWi team consists of more than 50 writers, editors, and project managers who work on client deliverables such as technical guides, user manuals, online help, training material, e-learning, and white papers.

TWi, together with industry partners including IBM, EMC, VCE, and Tyco, is working with Cork Institute of Technology to create a new Masters-level programme in Information Design and Development. We are excited to meet with attendees at TCUK 2015 to validate our thoughts around course content and ensure that all key topics are covered, so that graduates are well equipped to meet the challenges of our evolving industry.


Bronze Sponsor TCUK 2015 – RWS Translations


RWS logo landscape Comm & Tech trans byline

RWS Translations for all your technical and commercial language support needs

RWS Translations provides accurate and professional translations of any document, regardless of subject matter or language combination. We provide translation and interpreting services for a number of sectors; technical and manufacturing companies, pharmaceutical, leading law firms and financial institutions across a diverse range of subject areas – technical specifications, operating manuals, legal and insurance documents, medical dossiers, marketing materials and company reports to name a few. Our extensive panel of qualified translators speak over 200 languages and are experts in their chosen fields, so your source text is understood and industry-specific terminology is applied correctly in your finished translation. All of which is subject to stringent quality control procedures.

Using in-country translators ensures that translations are localized to the relevant market, and an independent linguistic review provides additional assurance of quality.

RWS is committed to providing a cost-effective service. Online tools are used for placing and tracking orders, performing in-country reviews and translation memory software all streamline delivery. Please contact RWS Translations to find out how RWS can help your business.


TCUK15 Speaker – Mike Unwalla to present on “Patterns in language for part-of-speech disambiguation”


Mike Unwalla will be presenting on “Patterns in language for part-of-speech disambiguation”.

Mike Unwalla

In the ASD-STE100 specification, some words are approved for only one part of speech. For example, the word ‘oil’ is approved as a noun, but it is not approved as a verb.

An effective term checker gives a warning only if ‘oil’ is a verb:
Correct, no warning: The oil was dirty.
Incorrect, warning: When you oil the bearing, you must…

How can software ‘know’ whether ‘oil’ is a noun or a verb?

Short answer: In the structure ARTICLE+X+BE, X is a noun.

Mike shows how software can use sets of simple patterns to identify the part of speech that a word has.


Platinum Sponsor TCUK 2015 – SDL


SDL logo

Experiences customers have with your brand impact how they will do business with you now, or in the future. SDL Customer Experience Cloud helps you deliver a personalized experience to your customers that shows you understand them at every point in their journey. Learn how SDL CXC can help you turn customers into loyal and brand advocates with its solutions for Analytics, Social, eCommerce, Campaigns, Web, Documentation and Language.




TCUK 2015 | Acrolinx – Platinum Sponsor Interview


Steve Rotter photo

About Acrolinx

Acrolinx helps the world’s greatest companies create amazing content at scale.

The Acrolinx platform helps the world’s greatest brands create amazing content that’s on-brand, on-target and that drives results. Built on the most advanced linguistic analytics engine, Acrolinx software helps companies like Adobe, Boeing, Google and Philips create content that’s more en-gaging, enjoyable and impactful.

Learn more about Acrolinx

Steve Rotter | Acrolinx, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

An author, blogger, speaker and digital marketing evangelist, for over 20 years, Steve has been helping organisations drive marketing innovation with technology.

Prior to joining Acrolinx, he held executive marketing positions with Adobe, Brightcove, and Motorola.

Steve received an MBA from Northwestern University – Graduate School of Management – and volunteers on several NPO advisory boards including World Vision.

Steve Rotter in interview with TCUK

TCUK – Thank you for sponsoring TCUK 2015. What made you decide to come to TCUK?

SR – TCUK is the premier destination for content professionals in Europe. It provides a unique opportunity to learn, share, and network with some of the greatest technical com-munications experts in the world. Since Acrolinx has been serving the technical communications market for over a decade, this was a must-attend event for us in 2015.

We’re looking forward to engaging with the amazing line-up of speakers and attendees, and sharing how Acrolinx is helping the world’s greatest brands succeed with technical communication.

TCUK – Every year at TCUK, we deliver presentations related to a special focus topic. This year’s special focus topic is Breaking the Boundaries in Technical Communication. Are there ways in which your company’s products and services help technical communicators to “break the boundaries” in their professional work?

SR – The boundaries that once existed between technical communications and the rest of an organisation’s content have disappeared. Today’s customers don’t see org charts, they see content.

With the explosion of digital channels, the historical constructs of “pre-sales” and “post-sales’ content no longer matter as every piece of an organisation’s content can impact top-line revenue and customer loyalty.

At Acrolinx, our mission is to help the world’s greatest brands “speak with one voice”. That means ensuring that all of a company’s content, whether it’s from marketing, sales, or technical communications, is on brand and on target.

TCUK – Technology is constantly changing, so what are your biggest challenges and opportunities?

SR – Our biggest challenge is also our biggest opportunity. It’s helping companies understand the massive changes that are taking place with content and marketing-related technologies. We invest a lot of time educating customers and prospects and sharing best practices with them.

When we do our job well, it opens their eyes to all of the potential upside of using a really effective content optimisation platform.

TCUK – From your experience of TCUK, or from what you’ve heard about TCUK, what would you like to say to our members in order to encourage them to attend this year’s conference?

SR – In a world where 70 percent of the buyer journey takes place through digital channels, the role of technical communications has never been more critical. TCUK will help technical communication professionals expand their vision and influence within the organisation.

TCUK – Acrolinx is delivering a presentation at the vendor exhibition – what products, innovations or tools will you showcase at the exhibition?

SR – We’ll be showcasing a technology that most people don’t even know exists: a software platform based on 100+ man years of R&D that can actually read your content and guide writers to make it better by suggesting tips to enhance their style and tone as well as to ensure the consistency of their use of terminology.

We’ll also be sharing the latest results from our Global Content Impact Index, where we analysed and rated the content for over 340 top brands from around the world. The results are quite surprising.

TCUK – TCUK 2015 conference is going to be in Glasgow for the first time – what are you looking forward to the most at this year’s conference?

SR – Being inspired by a combination of top thought leaders in the industry, leading-edge sponsors and technology vendors and, of course, all of the passionate attendees.

If we can squeeze it in, we’d love to check out the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the Glasgow Science Centre. Oh, and we’re also looking forward to trying some haggis!


TCUK15 Speaker – Berry Braster to present on “Visual Search and Augmented Reality as part of your content strategy”


Berry Braster will be presenting on “Visual Search and Augmented Reality as part of your content strategy”.

Berry Braster

For many businesses, aftermarket service and parts operations are very profitable; the service business is growing twice the rate of the average business unit. However, the service business is also very costly if we cannot provide our end users with the content they actually need, wherever and wherever they are. A good content strategy enhances the service information process, but when you combine it with developments like augmented reality and visual search you will truly see the improvements.


Jörg Plöger, of TCUK15 sponsor SCHEMA, gives a vendor presentation on “Helping Online-Help – what does next generation HTMLHelp look like?”


Jörg Plöger, of TCUK15 sponsor SCHEMA, will be giving a vendor presentation on “Helping Online-Help – what does next generation HTMLHelp look like?”

Jörg Plöger

Common online help formats (HTML Help, Java Help and Eclipse Help) look more and more old-fashioned. Although HTML Help is the only Microsoft help platform available for general application help, it is in maintenance mode. This means no new features are expected for either the runtime or the compiler.

Many software houses make software manuals only available online. Besides having up-to-date content all the time, this gives users a huge advantage. Well-established web technologies for the collection and analysis of feedback can be used.

Yet local online help still shines because of its strong interaction with the application and its offline availability.

The talk will show how you can overcome HTML Help and build a perfect online help system with HTML 5 and open source components that combines the advantages of both worlds.


Frazer Bain, of TCUK15 sponsor Acrolinx, gives a vendor presentation on “Five Content Controversies”


Frazer Bain, of TCUK15 sponsor Acrolinx, will be giving a vendor presentation on “Five Content Controversies”.

Frazer Bain – photo

Join Acrolinx’s Country Manager UK, Frazer Bain as he discusses five of the biggest, ugliest, and complex challenges facing content professionals today.
This high-engaging session will go deep on the most controversial topics facing every content professional including:

  • Does everyone work for marketing now?
  • How to expand content marketing to your entire organization?
  • Does the customer journey have a finish line?
  • Mythbusting and the role of content throughout the sales funnel.
  • Does tone matter? How to lighten up without losing control.

TCUK15 Speaker – George Lewis to present on “Liberating Tech Comm: How moving to agile empowers technical authors (case study)”


George Lewis will be presenting on “Liberating Tech Comm: How moving to agile empowers technical authors (case study)”

George Lewis

We hear those doubters all the time: “Quality documentation can’t be written in agile”, “We technical writers are not appreciated”, “We don’t have the budget to do that”.

I’d like to share how at doc-department we’ve dispelled these myths by using the information and advice we learned at the TCUK, through the ISTC and from the progressive tech comm community, willing to share their knowledge.

I shall share how we applied the lessons we learned in areas such as content strategy, agile writing, and DITA to address common issues; and in the process create a complete product information platform that enables us to deliver content to many areas of a business within the constraints of an agile development cycle.

And all of this for a fraction of the cost commonly quoted.


TCUK15 Speaker – Rhyne Armstrong to present on “Get Out of Your Office: Conducting Effective Site Visits”


Rhyne Armstrong will be presenting on “Get Out of Your Office: Conducting Effective Site Visits”.

Rhyne Armstrong

The day has come when we are no longer bound a desk when it comes to learning about our customers and clients. Whether you work for yourself or an organization, getting out of the office and meeting with customers offers valuable insight to learning how solutions are deployed, how user-assistance is used, and how your customers work.

In this session, we will discuss:

  • Building a business case for conducting visits.
  • Planning for a successful visit.
  • Tips you can use to make sure you get the most out of the time you spend with your clients.

How your visit can turn into much more than info to help you improve your content.


TCUK15 Speaker – Zsuzsa Nagy to present on “Beyond instructions: reference-heavy documentation”


Zsuzsa Nagy will be presenting on “Beyond instructions: reference-heavy documentation”.

Zsuzsa Nagy

This talk discusses some challenges of working in DITA with only few or no task topics.

  • Planning: Is it useful to use a short, task-heavy but generic document as the backbone of a document set if 90+% of the topics are reference topics?
  • Structure of the deliverable: You have 100+ reference topics at the same level. Do you show all of them in the table of content?
  • Workflow: We can reuse engineering content. It is in XML but not in DITA. How do we single-source and track version history for such content in our content base?

TCUK15 Speaker – John Kearney to present on “Unpacking and applying the Tech Comms Toolbox”


John Kearney will be presenting on “Unpacking and applying the Tech Comms Toolbox”.

John Kearney

Content is not the sole domain of the Technical Communicator. Subject Matter Experts, Marketing Execs, Project Managers, Business Analysts, Admin Personnel… all these and more can and will create technical content to be consumed by others.

However, as these professionals often lack the specific skills to be found in the Technical Communication Toolbox, they often face massive content quality and management challenges. This is why we can and should be seen as more than writers of manuals.

During my career I’ve been lucky enough to work extensively outside the traditional parameters of Technical Communication. Among other activities, I’ve written functional design specifications, researched new technologies, created marketing collateral, run RFIs, edited bid documentation, designed project management methodologies. All these things and more are possible once we can understand and apply our specific set of skills.

I’d like to discuss what I think are the critical components of our toolbox, and how we can all apply these to break out of our traditional boundaries. In doing so, I’ll share with you some of my successes, my failures, and the lessons I’ve learned; beginning with my time in the Civil Service, and right the way through to my present career as a Tech Comms consultant in Cambridge.

As an added bonus, I’ll be drawing on examples of effective and ineffective user assistance from my hobbies, specifically archery and live-action roleplaying!


TCUK15 speakers – Fi Parker and Martin Clark to give a workshop on “The Bid Manager and the Technical Communicator: Whose line is it anyway?”


Fi Parker and Martin Clark will give a workshop on “The Bid Manager and the Technical Communicator: Whose line is it anyway?”.

Fi Parker

The relationship between the Bid Manager and the Bid Writer is critical to the success of most bids. To explore this relationship, Fi and Martin will lead delegates on a tour of the bid life cycle, stopping at strategic points to discuss the position of these two professionals, their goals, needs and wants. As the tour progresses, delegates will develop a strategy for bid content development that will help them stand out amongst the crowd. They will also evaluate and adapt some of the tools bid managers and technical communicators use to help them maintain accuracy, speed and quality of work under pressure.

This workshop will benefit technical communicators interested in establishing themselves in the relatively lucrative world of bid writing. It will be of particular interest to those who would like to know what it’s like to work in a team on large and complex bids.


TCUK 2015 | SCHEMA – Platinum Sponsor Interview

Sebastian Göttel
Sebastian Göttel


Complex documents made easy!

SCHEMA GmbH was founded in 1995 in Nürnberg. Since then, they have continued to develop and strengthen their market position. Today, Schema is one of the leading providers of editing and content management systems. They offer standardised software, consulting, and services for the professional management of information.

Learn more about Schema


TCUK: This year’s special focus topic is “Breaking the Boundaries of Technical Communication”. When asked the reason Schema are returning to TCUK, Sebastian Göttel – Director of Sales at Schema replied:

SG: ”TCUK is a good place for meeting Tech Comm professionals in the UK. We do not know of any other event that is comparable to this event.

Personally, I love the way the event combines aspects of a conference with mindful insights into upcoming trends and a social meeting place with other professionals. I have met some very interesting and very amiable persons through TCUK.”

TCUK: Are there ways in which your company’s products and services can help technical communicators “break the boundaries” in their professional work?

SG: “We see a shift from focusing on creating technical documentation in the most efficient way to the intelligent distribution of technical content.

The right content must be available for the exact target group, at any given moment, in the needed version and in the adequate format. Editorial processes that end in the creation of a PDF file no longer meet these requirements.

The market for CCMS (component-based content management systems) is growing to include Content Delivery Systems (CDS) that will change the way Tech Comm departments are connected to their recipients, regardless of whether they are the internal service organisation or the customers.

Delivering content to mobile apps, portals or social media is just one aspect. By controlling the delivery process, Tech Comm departments can even start to systematically and efficiently collect feedback from the field. Content Delivery Systems can be built as a custom-made solution.”

TCUK: What would you say to our members to encourage them to attend this year’s conference?

SG: “If you are a Tech Comm professional and want to share best practices and discuss upcoming trends without crossing the Sea, this is the place to go!”

TCUK: TCUK is going to be in Scotland for the first time. What are you looking forward to at this year’s conference?

SG: “It is our first official event in Scotland as well. We are looking forward to meeting new people and learning more about the people that form the ISTC.”


TCUK15 speaker – Farhad Patel to present on “Dynamic Content Publishing”


Farhad Patel will be presenting on “Dynamic Content Publishing”-

Farha Patel

In today’s culture of instant gratification our customers prefer receiving small pieces of information, exactly what they need, when they need it. In order to keep up with customer expectations the Huawei documentation team planned and implemented a dynamic publishing solution to allow our customers to quickly locate, assemble and save personalized content. This session will cover important aspects of the information development process such as audience task analysis, user personas, use cases, reuse strategy, taxonomy and metadata strategy. The session will also demonstrate Huawei’s Dynamic Content Publishing solution showing its key features and functionality.


TCUK15 Speaker – Rachel Johnston to present on “Business Case, Budget and Beyond – Kicking off a Successful Project”


Rachel Johnston will be presenting on “Business Case, Budget and Beyond – Kicking off a Successful Project”.

Rachel Johnston

You have an idea for a content project. What happens next?

A content-related business case is an exercise in education more than anything else:

  • Self-education: is your idea feasible? Are the benefits as clear as you think?
  • Peer education: what change can colleagues expect and how will it affect them?
  • Management education: what is the cost of change, versus maintaining the status quo?

This presentation explains why a business case is about more than pie charts and projections, and goes to the heart of the matter — helping decision makers realise the value of content.


TCUK15 Speaker – Mattias Sander to present on “Keep It Lean: manage projects using Kanban TOCs”


Mattias Sander will be presenting on “Keep It Lean: manage projects using Kanban TOCs”.

Mattias Sander

Do you ever feel like you’re spending too much time on administration? Do you want to work smarter to achieve “mind like water”? Do you want to achieve flow by reducing waste? In this session you will learn how to apply some practical methods from Lean Manufacturing in the world of Technical Communication. Specifically you will learn how to use the Kanban TOC method, and how it helps you enable growth, reduce cost, and mitigate risk.

In the short term, the Kanban TOC method reduces your administration effort, and in the long term, it helps you identify process improvements to maximize value for both your organization and your customers.

You will learn:

  • Practical tips & tricks from the world of Lean Manufacturing
  • How to use the Kanban TOC method
  • How to set up and use a Kanban TOC in MadCap Flare

TCUK15 Speakers – Karen Mardahl and John Kearney to give a workshop on “Keeping up with life! Or, how to put ‘Getting Things Done’ into practice”


Karen Mardahl and John Kearney will give a workshop on “Keeping up with life! Or, how to put ‘Getting Things Done’ into practice”

John Kearney

Perhaps you have the perfect method to manage your work and obligations, but can it cope with the unexpected or help you plan for the future? New boss, clients or management practices. Illness. Job loss. Stress. Changing career or job advancement. Learning new skills in addition to doing your current job.

Karen and John will introduce the concept of getting things done (GTD) as it applies to today’s technical communicator. Then, participants will have hands-on activities (also pre-conference!) to start making some getting-things-done tweaks to their routines, both at work and at home. Takeaways include

  • Testing your need for GTD
  • Exercises to understand the most important concept of “Next Action” and the concept of “Closing the Loop”
  • Demo of tools that support GTD
  • GTD Tips and tricks
  • The assurance that “your way” is still the best, especially after it’s GTD-charged!
Karen Mardahl

TCUK15 Speaker – Marjorie Jones to present on “Source Control for Technical Communicators”


Marjorie Jones will be presenting on “Source Control for Technical Communicators”.

Marjorie Jones

Software engineers have long used source control to manage the complexity of their source files. Do technical communicators need it? What advantages does it bring?

This session describes the features of source control and the benefits for technical communicators. You will learn how it can help manage your documentation files and how to use it effectively. You will also learn about some common source control tools.

This session will be useful if you already use source control and want a better understanding, or if you are thinking about using it and want to know more before deciding.


TCUK15 Speaker – Nils Bier to present on “DocOps – Agile Content Development in Practice”


Nils Bier will be presenting on “DocOps – Agile Content Development in Practice”.

Nils Bier

The way technical communicators work and collaborate with stakeholders is changing. Software industries – and more and more other organizations – are finally breaking up their knowledge silos. Their goal is to work in a more collaborative way of creating, updating and extending technical content. The interdisciplinary DocOps approach affects culture, processes, and content platforms. It’s putting everyone who’s involved literally ‘on the same page’.

In this presentation, you’ll learn how DocOps can be implemented successfully, by bringing technical communicators, service, support, and developers together. Let’s embrace DocOps to manage technical content more efficiently, to continuously improve content quality and to increase customer value.


TCUK15 Speaker – Bridget Khursheed to present on “Developing (unsupported) support”


Bridget Khursheed will be presenting on “Developing (unsupported) support”.

Bridget Khursheed

As the KAL RTM, a new concept cashless cash machine, moves from prototype to production – we need to create a complete support package for its technical teams. But can online training and documentation solutions cut it when our partners deploy in remote destinations including Australian outback service stations, Filipino diveshops, and local stores in developing countries? Technicians will have no reliable internet connection and at times not even a phone signal.

Any support delivered has to stand up for itself.

Join Bridget Khursheed on a real life journey into extreme support documentation.


TCUK15 Speaker – Doug Dennis to present on “Promote, Innovate, Repeat: maintaining documentation quality throughout organisational change”


Doug Dennis will be presenting on “Promote, Innovate, Repeat: maintaining documentation quality throughout organisational change”.

Doug Dennis

Many technical writers experience sudden, sometimes unsettling organisational change which affects their work and that of their associated teams. You might find yourself as part of a larger documentation team having to adapt to unfamiliar processes and tools, or placed under the spotlight as the sole technical writer in your organisation.

As technical writer or documentation manager, how do we make ourselves and our teams resilient and flexible in the face of organisational change?

How can we cope when our company is acquired, merged or expanded?

In this presentation we’ll discuss how promoting your team correctly, aligning them within the organisation and finding engineering pain points are some of the key factors to ensure success.
We’ll also explore some of the challenges and opportunities of moving through multiple incarnations of a company, coping with change and how to keep your documentation set coherent throughout this time.


TCUK15 Speaker – Ferry Vermeulen to present on “US regulations on instructions for use”


Ferry Vermeulen will be presenting on “US regulations on instructions for use”.

Ferry Vermeulen

In the EU, a manufacturer can use European harmonized standards to comply with CE-directives and accordingly affix the CE marking. Although there are many similarities, the process of compliance in the US is slightly different from the process of EU compliance. These differences have effect on the instructions for use that accompany a product. When exporting from the EU to the US, the differences should be taken into account, so also the instructions comply with all laws and product liability will be minimized.


TCUK15 speaker – Andrea Ames to give a workshop on “Content Experience Leadership: Transforming Your Organization for Content Excellence”.


Andrea Ames will give a workshop on “Content Experience Leadership: Transforming Your Organization for Content Excellence”.

Andrea Ames

High-value content is a critical business asset, but our clients and employing organizations often don’t realize the impact content can have on the overall customer experience — in particular, on purchase decisions and revenue, customer loyalty, and customer advocacy (the new business nirvana). And those who do recognize the impact typically have little or no skill and experience as content professionals. What to do?

Join Andrea for an exploration of the content ecosystem (content, experience, culture, process, and technology), and the critical factors across the ecosystem that can enable teams to design and deliver high-value content, communicate that to the business or client, and measure the impact.

In this workshop you will learn about:

  • A framework for practicing content experience strategy, design, development, and delivery
  • A set of principles, methods, and models for creating, curating, and presenting content
  • The factors that are most likely to enable your success — such as metrics and stakeholder communication — and strategies for planning and implementing these

TCUK15 Speaker – Andrea Ames to give a keynote presentation on “Boundaries? We Don’t Need No Stinking Boundaries!”


Andrea Ames will be presenting on “Boundaries? We Don’t Need No Stinking Boundaries! or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Change”.

Andrea Ames

It’s no surprise to those of us working in technical and scientific fields — in fact, just about ANY field — that technical communication is (and always has been) changing. In our industry more than any, the only constant is change. And that change makes boundaries a very ambiguous concept. Sadly, human brains are wired to be habitual, and change makes us uncomfortable. But to move beyond survival in our industry to thrive and find great success, you must become comfortable with ambiguity and learn to love change.

This keynote will help you to get started or to progress along your already change-embracing path. Expanding on the style of David Letterman and the Late Show Top Ten List, Andrea will describe her top 10 ways technical communicators should drive change and break boundaries.


TCUK15 keynote speaker – Andrea Ames


Andrea Ames is one of the keynote speakers at TCUK15.

Andrea Ames
Andrea Ames

Andrea L. Ames, M.S., is a Senior Technical Staff Member and Enterprise Content Experience Strategist/Architect/Designer in IBM’s CIO, where she enables strategic use of IBM’s high-value content assets for the most client delight and success and highest IBM business impact. She is a Fellow and past President (2004-05) of STC, a Distinguished Engineer of the ACM (the first technical communicator to achieve this distinction), a Senior Member of the IEEE, and a member of numerous other professional associations.

She is the Program Chair for, and designed and teaches in, the UCSC in Silicon Valley certificate programme in technical communication; has published two award-winning technical books and numerous papers and articles; and speaks regularly at conferences and professional organisation meetings.


TCUK15 Speaker – Neil Perlin to present on “Preparing Legacy Help Projects for Responsive Design”


Neil Perlin will be presenting on “Preparing Legacy Help Projects for Responsive Design”.

Neil Perlin

Do you want to make legacy projects responsive, only to find that legacy writing and coding makes it difficult to convert to responsive design. What’s the solution? This session looks at:

  • Responsive design’s technologies – relative sizing, fluid grids, and media queries.
  • Legacy issues – local formatting, image styles, hand-formatted tables, and more.
  • New issues – selecting images for different resolutions, srcset, and “movie” issues.
  • The effect on writing and the “mobile first” philosophy.

The session is tool-independent but touches on how Flare and RoboHelp handle many tasks through the GUI. You’ll leave better prepared to convert legacy projects to responsive design.