Picture Perfect! Turn Words and Data into Powerful Graphics

Quickly turn your words, data, and ideas into powerful graphics. Attend this high-energy, interactive workshop to learn how to communicate even the most complex content in a way that is impactful and unforgettable. Get step-by-step instructions, practical tips, and tools. After attending this workshop, you’ll be able to make any complex idea easy to understand in three steps: turn ideas, text, and data into graphics, visualize and better communicate your solutions, make professional graphics that are clear, communicative, and compelling, and find the right imagery at the right price.

Each attendee will receive:

  • DIY Billion Dollar Graphics ebook

  • 200 Professional PowerPoint Graphics

  • Graphic Cheat Sheet

  • P.A.Q.S Questionnaire

  • Top Websites for Free or Low-cost Graphics

Bringing your own laptop is strongly encouraged but not required. When we render infographics, having a laptop will allow you to create your own. Please have PowerPoint 2013 or greater on your laptop to participate.

A light breakfast will be provided.

If you have time after the workshop, continue the conversations by joining us for lunch nearby. The cost of lunch is on your own.


Mike ParkinsonMike Parkinson, Microsoft MVP and APMP Fellow, is a visual communication guru, professional educator, and award-winning author. Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and educational institutions work with Mike to achieve their goals. His two companies, Billion Dollar Graphics and 24 Hour Company (www.24hrco.com), provide training, tools, and creative services that help others achieve their goals.


Note that we will be in Founders Hall at the Arlington campus of George Mason University.

The Arlington campus is within walking distance of the Virginia Square-GMU Metro station on the Orange Line.

Public transportation options to the Arlington Campus

Paid visitor parking is available in the Founders Hall Garage, accessible via Founders Way North.

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Bloomery Plantation Distillery Tour 2017

The Washington DC-Baltimore chapter of STC returns to the Bloomery Plantation on October 7th. We had so much fun last year (see photos of 2016photos of 2015 and photos of 2014), we’re doing it again this year.

Bloomery Plantation is a 12-acre farm steeped in history–and moonshine! A former ironworks, today it is a charming mini-distillery where they make artisan cordials by hand from their farm’s own lemons and raspberries.

What does this have to do with technical communication, you ask? Well, it turns out running a business like this requires a lot of labeling. The process of creating SweetShines, as they call their artisan cordials, is quite technical. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it. We will enjoy a tour of the grounds and hear about the slightly tarnished past of this neck of the woods while we strengthen our ties to one another as a network of technical communicators.

Despite the focus on spirits in the Bloomery’s tasting room, this is actually a great event for families, with lots of land to explore.

Food is not available at the Bloomery Planation but you can bring your own picnic (be sure to include food, non-alcoholic drinks, and paper products; be prepared to carry out your own trash) if you’d like. Nearby restaurants include Alfredo’s, KFC, Subway, and Chick-Fil-A.

Bloomery rules:

  • Don’t bring in any other alcohol, per WV law.

  • GPS will get you lost. Use Google or Mapquest.

  • Dress casually. High heels will get you stuck in the soil.

  • Feel free to bring kids and kid-friendly drinks. 


3:00 Arrive and gather with our group 

3:15 Tasting 

4:15 Tour of grounds and history

5:00 Hang out and network

6:00 Official event ends 

8:00 Bloomery closes

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#TCCamp Workshop: User Experience from Insights to Action

UI/UX Workshop – TC Summer Camp 2017

User Experience from Insights to Action

In this interactive workshop, you will learn the “Why” of UX (user experience): Why placing emphasis on the users is fundamental. You will understand users and types of user research. We’ll examine the UX lifecycle from insights to an actionable prototype and to a very useable product or experience. We’ll survey a variety of key UX artifacts such as personas, empathy maps, customer experience maps, journey maps and more.

Workshop leader: Vera Rhoads, Senior Managing Consultant UX at IBM, Adjunct Lecturer at University of Maryland iSchool

Vera Rhoads has been teaching at the University of Maryland iSchool in the MIM program since 2004. Her focus has primarily been usability and user experience. She has been working on optimizing web solutions for large-scale Fortune 500 companies and non-profits (Fannie Mae, AARP, IMF) for 19 years. Vera’s specialties include web strategy and operations, next-generation website evolution, usability, branding, multi-lingual globalization, web content management and search implementations. She is PMP, ITIL and SCRUM master certified and works on enhancing process methodologies into the web development lifecycle.

When: Saturday 9 September 2017, 8:30-10:30 AM


Lessons in saving lives

An interview with Vera Rhoads, IBM UX professional and lecturer at University of Maryland College iSchool by the TC Camp roving reporter, Li-At Rathbun.

Vera Rhoads was in the closing panel at STC Summit in May. She’s a working professional and instructor for UX. She will be leading the UX workshop at TC Camp. Our intrepid Camp reporter, Li-At Rathbun, sat down with Vera to get her perspective on what technical communicators need to know about UX to advance their careers and capabilities.

“UX Saves Lives” -Vera Rhoads

When you hear Vera Rhoads talk about UI/UX, you become an instant believer. As technical communicators, we have the power to save lives and change the world. Vera teaches us how.

Li-At: Why is UI/UX interesting to you?

Because it has the power to change the world.

I’m being quite serious. By focusing on changing the user experience, we’re changing how people interact fundamentally with each other. It’s not so much about the interaction between humans and machines. At the end of the day, it’s how people experience the world and interact with each other.

Even if you think of a shopping experience—of how people interact with Amazon.com and the like, it’s about the connection between people. That’s why user experience and the power of user experience is so interesting to me.

Li-At: What attracted you to UI/UX?

In the early 90’s, I was working in a book publishing agency and then for a literary agency. At about the same time, I was going to graduate school. Hypertext—the Internet—was gaining momentum and I got very interested in the UX mostly from the publishing perspective, from the writer/editor/publisher perspective. I then got so involved in the technology that I got much more technical because I wanted to understand how this communication can be empowered.

This is before the term UX was even used. I was doing a lot of information architecture (IA) , navigation systems, and search systems. I’ve always been interested in the human factor of communication.

Li-At: Who should attend this September 9 workshop?

This workshop is for people who want to learn more about user experience and UX research methods. It starts with placing focus on the users: how to find out more about the users and how to create empathy with the users. How to find out what the users think, feel, say, and do.

The workshop is geared towards people who are starting in the field, but also towards people who’ve been in the field for a while and want to share their experiences.

Li-At: What’s the one thing that all technical communicators should understand about UX?

As technical communicators, we already understand about purpose and audience. We already have a lot of skills and knowledge. So what we need to know about UX is that we are not the users—and it’s all about the users.

We must study and understand the intended users and gain insight into who they are.

Don’t assume you know everything about the users. And don’t try to substitute your own experiences for their experiences. You are not your users.

Li-At: Okay, this is TC Camp. So my next question is, what’s your favorite camping spot?

Definitely Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.

My husband grew up touring America in a VW Van, the kind that you can sleep on top of. I’ve promised him we’ll tour the U.S. in one of these some day.

Li-At: If you could take one person camping with you, who would that be and why?

Elon Musk or someone smart like that might be interesting. But I’ll stick with my own husband.


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#TCCamp is only 4 weeks away

Greetings STC Member!

The 2nd annual TC Summer Camp, the techcomm unconference, is coming up in 4 weeks!

What’s an unconference?

It’s an intense day of learning that’s totally relevant to you! Sessions topics are defined by the attendees on the day of the event. There are no presenters, no juried presentations. Instead, you can join together with other like-minded people to discuss topics that interest you!

We start the day with a selection of 2-hour workshops which are run by techcomm luminaries and are designed to get your thinking going, first thing in the morning. After the workshops, the unconference begins! We start with an overview of how it all works, followed by a keynote, lunch, and unconference topic voting. In the afternoon are the unconference sessions, followed by a session wrap-up and raffle!

What hands-on workshops do we have lined up this year?

User Experience from Insights to Action with Vera Rhoads, UX Consultant at IBM
Effective Collaboration with Andrew Lawless of Rockant Inc
Structured Authoring for Beginners with Janice Summers of Single-Sourcing Solutions
Adobe Workshop with Dustin Vaughn

All this for only $35 (including lunch)!

TC Summer Camp is a day of unmatched, intense, learning, sharing, and networking for techcomm professionals. This is a great opportunity to get information on the latest trends and technologies, learn how your colleagues solve problems, and have a focused discussion with your tool vendor about important issues.

Join us Saturday, September 9, 2017 at the District Architecture Center in downtown Washington DC. This is YOUR TC Camp!

Find out more at: www.tccamp.org

P.S. Watch video highlights from January’s conference on YouTube.

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