Event: Competition Celebration and Online Help Keynote

Event Summary

Wednesday, March 21, 2012, 6-8:30 p.m.
Guapo's Restaurant Washington, DC, 4515 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20016
Judges, Entrants, Competition Committee, and Chapter Volunteers: $20
Chapter Members: $30
Nonmembers: $40

Keynote Presentation

Content is King, but adding a measured dose of interactivity to your help will increase readability and usability, as well as make it more compelling. Our speaker, Nicky Bleiel, will demonstrate a number of simple ways to improve your help in a single-sourcing environment. We will:

  • Discover the options available for interactivity, including expanding/collapsing text, image maps, glossary popups, Google Maps, and more.
  • Learn how to implement these interactive options.
  • Discuss how structure contributes to successful interactivity.

Why Attend?

We offer you four great reasons to come to this event.

  • View the winning entries in our annual competition to get ideas for the technical information we craft every day in our jobs.
  • Network with others to discover solutions to challenges and build relationships.
  • Listen to our keynote presentation from Nicky Bleiel, an online help expert. This is an abbreviated version of the presentation she will deliver at the STC Summit.
  • Enjoy a fresh and delicious Mexican buffet dinner at Guapo's DC location, less than a block from the Tenleytown Metro and in the American University neighborhood.


6:00-7:00 Dinner
7:00-7:30 Keynote
7:30-8:00 Awards ceremony
8:00-8:30 Networking


Photo of Nicky Bleiel

Nicky Bleiel has been a technical communicator for 17 years, with extensive experience writing and developing information for software products in the documentation, media, industrial automation, simulation, and pharmaceutical industries. She has presented talks at the STC Summit, WritersUA, tcworld, CIDM, and LavaCon on many topics. She has been published in STC’s Intercom (her new column is called “The Essentials”), Tieline, STC conference proceedings, tcworld magazine, TechCom Manager Newsletter, and the WritersUA and Content Wrangler websites. As the Lead Information Developer for Doc-To-Help at ComponentOne, she focuses on providing information that improves the user experience but is still efficient to produce. Nicky serves on the STC Board as a Director-At-Large and is currently a candidate for Vice President.

Reminder: Competition Deadline for Entries is 18 November 2011

Photo Credit:
NASA/USGS/Landsat 5

The deadline for entries into the 2011-2012 Summit Competitions for Technical Communication is this Friday. Entries may be mailed or hand delivered.

Entry deadline: 7 p.m. Eastern Time,
Friday, 18 November 2011

See the Competition website for

  • Call for Judges
  • Judge Application form
  • Schedule for Judges
  • Competition Categories

Judge Applications are now being accepted.

Download the Summit Competition Announcement flyer (.pdf)

The Joy of Judging in the 2011-2012 Summit Competition for Technical Communication

Apply Now to be a Judge!

Photo Credit:
NASA/USGS/Landsat 5

Judge Applications are now being accepted.

Entries are arriving for the Washington, DC – Baltimore (WDCB) chapter’s 2011-2012 Summit Competition for Technical Communication. Would you like to see them? Are you ready to help evaluate them? If you think you may be, here’s a brief summary of what’s in store.

See the Competition website for

  • Call for Judges
  • Judge Application form
  • Schedule for Judges
  • Competition Categories

The Call for Entries in our technical communication competition was announced on 1 October. More announcements will appear in websites, blogs, tweets, and lists. This year, the deadline for submission of entries is 18 November. The competition is coming together but it can not be held successfully without the commitment of a group of qualified and enthusiastic judges. The judges are recruited from among professional communicators in the Washington, DC and Baltimore metropolitan areas, and beyond. For both entrants and judges, membership in STC is not required.

During 18-29 November, team judging assignments are made for each category to be judged and the entries are logged and sorted into packages for each team.

On Saturday, 3 December, the judges assemble to receive their judging materials, entries, and instructions. They meet the other members of their judging team, get training from experienced judges on how to evaluate an entry, and have their questions answered.

Over the next six weeks, judges read and examine their assigned entries. They discover—or rediscover—the joy of encountering excellence in published manuals, reports, training materials, journals, brochures, marketing and PR materials, magazines, help systems, websites, user support materials, and more. As they begin to form opinions and record their evaluations in the judging forms, the judges apply all the knowledge and experience at their disposal. They prepare their comments for the entrants and a defense of their decisions for the consensus meeting.

On Saturday, 14 January, the judges meet again to discuss the entries and decide which ones deserve an award. Some entries stand out as award winners; others elicit debate. The judges relish the opportunity to compare notes on design, presentation of information, layout, and overall quality of an entry. By the end of the Consensus Meeting, a consensus is reached on award levels for each entry based on specified criteria, not against each other. The competition committee begins the process of choosing the Best of Show, choosing the Best Student Entry, notifying the winners and non-winners, and sending the very best to the STC International Summit Awards Competition. Veteran and new judges leave the Consensus Meeting with a sense of a job well done. They have judged the work of their peers and shared their passion for excellence in communication. Many will be eager to do it all over again in future years.

If you are ready to experience the joy of judging, we need your help. For more information about judging entries and the types of judges needed, see the Call for Judges on the Competition website.

Thank you!