WDCB Chapter is an STC 2018 Pacesetter Winner

Graphic for the STC 2018 Pacesetter Winner badgeThe Washington, DC – Baltimore Chapter is pleased to announce that we earned an STC 2018 Pacesetter Winner award, which recognizes innovative and successful community initiatives. Unlike STC's other Community Achievement awards, which recognize communities for consistent strength in many varied activities, the Pacesetter Award recognizes the successful implementation of a single beneficial innovation that may be implemented by other STC communities.

The Pacesetter Winner certificate will be presented to chapter representatives during the Leadership Program (on Sunday, May 20) at the 2018 Summit in Orlando, FL. All chapter members attending the 2018 Summit are invited to take part in a group photo with the certificate after the Honors Program.

Our citation will read:

For organizing the Summit Dine Around, which brought small groups of conference attendees together in a casual setting to enjoy local cuisine and network with other Summit attendees.

STC Pacesetter Award Evaluation Committee

Congratulations to the entire membership of the Washington, DC – Baltimore Chapter, to our administrative council, our 2017 summit planning committee, and to our hard working volunteers.

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STC WDCB Wins a 2018 Gold Level Chapter Achievement Award

STC CAA 2018 Gold badgeThe Washington, DC – Baltimore Chapter is very pleased to announce that we earned a Gold level award for the 2018 STC Community Achievement Awards (CAA). The award, which recognizes exceptional STC communities for providing outstanding member services and creating innovative ways to serve chapter members, was awarded to our chapter based on the activities and programs offered throughout the 2017 calendar year.

The CAA award certificate will be presented to chapter representatives during the Leadership Program (on Sunday, May 20) at the 2018 Summit in Orlando, FL. All chapter members attending the 2018 Summit are invited to take part in a group photo with the certificate after the Honors Program.

Our citation will read:

For your contribution to STC leadership initiatives, promotion of the Society, active community outreach, and leadership transition plan, as well as for your active support in hosting STC Summit 2017.

STC Community Achievement Award Evaluation Committee (CAAEC)

Congratulations to the entire membership of the Washington, DC – Baltimore Chapter, to our administrative council, and to our hard working volunteers.

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It’s Not Too Late to Enter the WDCB Competition by 27 November!

You still have time.

The extended deadline to enter the WDCB 2017 Technical Communication Competition is 7 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday, 27 November 2017. For information, rules, and entry forms, go to https://competition.stcwdc.org/

Graphic of the 2017 Technical Communication Competition award badges for BOS and Winner.

If you’ve ever driven across the West, you’re familiar with the signs that say "Last gas station for 300 miles. Fill up now." The Washington, DC-Baltimore Chapter’s competition is the last STC competition you can enter this year. The five other STC U.S. chapter / regional competitions had earlier deadlines and are either completed or finishing up.

Get recognition for your hard work and useful feedback from the judges. Enter today.

Anyone is eligible to submit entries. You do not have to be a member of STC. You can be a student or a professional. You may enter work as an individual or on behalf of a colleague or member of your department.

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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

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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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