InfoDevDC Meetup: Putting out fires with content strategy

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Tues 12/9/14 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM
11955 Democracy Drive, Reston, VA

Join us on the 11th floor

Our speaker this month is John Collins – Senior UX Content Strategist at Rosetta Stone.

You’ve probably heard—or said—something like “All I did today at work was put out fires.” We’ve all been there. We don’t want fires, but they happen. So, let’s see how content strategy helps put out fires in software development, some examples, and what you can do to prepare for or shift to a glamorous content strategy career. Chances are you’re already well on your way if you’re interested in the InfoDevDC meetup.
Speaker Bio

John Collins grew up surrounded by content, taking his first job in high school working with paste-up boards at a publishing house. After a stint as an award-winning journalist, he became a technical writer and then a content strategist at Rosetta Stone, where he’s done everything from architecting and writing Help systems, to writing user interface microcopy, to working with locale strings in source control, to leading internationalization projects, and even wireframing user flows.

Passionate about quality content, content strategy, user experience, and localization (It’s all related!), John enjoys sharing experience with his peers. He has spoken at WritersUA, the Society for Technical Communication Summit, the Society for Technical Communication Academic Special Interest Group, and Information Development World. You can find John online at his blog,, or on Twitter: @jrc_collins.


InfoDevDC Meetup — Getting Organized: Practical Guidelines for a Scalable Project Architecture

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Join us as we partner with InfoDevDC for Getting Organized: Practical Guidelines for a Scalable Project Architecture, featuring speaker Richard Rabil, Senior Technical Writer at Opower and STC WDCB member.

Register on the InfoDevDC meetup group event page

A description of his presentation appears below.

There is an abundance of information on the web about the features and capabilities of sophisticated documentation tools (such as MadCap Flare and Adobe RoboHelp), and yet many of these resources seldom include an in-depth analysis of one the most obvious challenges that writers face: no matter how powerful a tool is, we still need to set up and maintain a scalable system for the hundreds of files we inevitably create.

As the sheer number of topics and deliverables maintained by a documentation team grows, it becomes increasingly important to develop a system of content management that is well-organized, relatively consistent, and optimized to support long-term expansion and maintenance. In this presentation, I’ll provide some practical guidelines and techniques for designing a scalable project architecture. While the underlying principles I will be discussing are tool-agnostic, there will be an emphasis on creating scalable projects for help authoring tools (specifically I will use MadCap Flare for my illustrations). You will learn:

  • Practical ideas for organizing projects and folders at the right level of granularity, with team collaboration and scalability factors in mind
  • Guidelines for establishing and abiding by naming conventions for different types of content
  • Guidelines for policies your team can use when creating reusable content such as graphics, CSS, snippets, and other resources

Ideas and Notes from STC WDCB Summer Vision Day 2014

Photo of a spot at the beach with a chair, sunglasses, coconut drink with an umbrella

The recording for Summer Vision Day 2014 in in our list of podcasts in the sidebar.

Download the Summer Vision Day 2014 PowerPoint Slides (3.2 Mb .pptx).

During the meeting, we asked members to post ideas and needs for future events. Please use our WDCB website as a forum for sharing ideas.

  • What kinds of events would you like to see in the coming months?
  • What kinds of topics should we cover?
  • For what kinds of speakers should we look?

We asked to hear from you, the membership, and we mean it. What’s on your mind? What do you need?

Please share your thoughts here.