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Tag: technical communication

Getting Ready for TCUK12

I love the conference held by ISTC every October: the Technical Communication UK conference, also known as TCUK. A little hop over the North Sea takes me to a gathering of really nice people whose conversations and presentations get my synapses working overtime in a very good way. From our technical communication perspective, we can discuss XML, temperature controls for showers, stationery stores, content strategy, captioning, Subject Matter Experts… oh, the list goes on and on and on. I’ve done this in 2010 and 2011. I will do it again in 2012. TCUK12 is a bit special for me This year, I was given a great honor – I was asked to be a keynote speaker for the special track on accessibility and usability. I said yes! I also have a workshop and a panel discussion scheduled. The panel discussion will be moderated by the wonderful Kai Weber a.k.a. @techwriterkai.…

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Let’s talk and teach, not fight, about accessibility

A mini-vacation and some random negative tweets stirred some dusty brain cells this week. As a result, I want to make a constructive call to action. Let’s work on constructive and positive approaches to spreading accessibility awareness everywhere. This is not being cheesy and cutesy. I’m not bringing out the unicorns and rainbows, even though they can correct accessibility errors in one sprinkling of fairy dust. The background Somewhere at the end of 2008 or beginning of 2009, I saw Chris Heilman make a similar call. He said something about making positive changes. He proposed that we stop (negative) rants about some inaccessible something. Instead, he suggested taking constructive action. I took that to heart. I recall coming across a website for some spinal injury organization that had a useful-sounding brochure on exercises for people who had spine problems. The brochure was a PDF and it was inaccessible. I immediately…


Thinking About Audience – Always, Always, Always

So what did the dying Deaf man want to say? This tale popped into my mind yesterday. It came from a newsletter about a Deaf hospice care project that a friend of mine was involved in as a sign interpreter. A Deaf man in hospice care was trying to communicate with his caregivers and was getting frustrated at not getting his message across. A social worker came to see him and formed an opinion of what the man wanted to say. That opinion was influenced by the social worker’s own opinion of what a dying person would want to say. This social worker did not know sign language, and for some reason, this was not considered a problem. The man became more agitated in his efforts to communicate, and everyone assumed that he was afraid of dying. That brought up discussions of faith and comfort and lots of abstract ideas.…

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