Friday, January 1, 2016

Session takeaways: the STC India annual conference 2015

About a month ago, I attended the STC India annual conference at Pune. That it's been a month and it's still playing on my mind is proof that, this time, I had solid takeaways from the conference (this doesn't happen every time, you know). In this blog post, I will talk about those takeaways.

First, the pre-conference. I think we should do away with the "pre" suffix altogether — it isn't something one *must* do before attending the conference; it's rather something that one does *in* the conference. But, let me not nitpick. Pre-conference, Vidhya VKumar and I took a day-long workshop on writing with DITA. This meant that I missed an excellent track that had workshops on regex (by Savio) and on scripting by techwriters (by Puneet). As soon as I could, I looked at the session slides, and got my first takeaways — pointers to places where I could teach myself regex (as also ReST API, by Punam) and examples of where I can put my scripting (v. v. basic Python) knowledge to good use. I am hoping that the sessions by Savio (regex) and Puneet (scripting) get repeated at an STC city session in 2016, or even better still, at the annual conference of 2016.

I have always believed I am not cut for management. This perception was reinforced when I looked at the session slides of Bhavana and Brinda (preconference management track). The slides also nudged me to develop myself as a technical expert, and gave sufficient pointers to get me started.

I must also mention the preconf session slides on strategy by Wasique. To me, the slides look extremely well-thought out and I am sure I would have benefited much had I been physically present at the session. This, again, is one more session that I hope the STC people arrange for a repeat in 2016.

Day 1  started well, with Wasique (again) on...Bombay films. Well, not really; that part came much much later but I liked the session (seriously) because it explained the WHY of short attention spans. To someone like me who's internalised Twitter, DITA, and progressive disclosure, chunking information comes easily but knowing the science  — the real actual neuroscience  — behind why doing what I do is great.

Because there were parallel tracks, I missed a few sessions on Day 1 too (mainly because of a few bad choices). When I looked at the slides of these missed sessions, I regretted not having been at Seema's session on cognitive load. Again, to me, serving info in byte-sized pieces is natural but we can always (always) learn more, and the slides of this session did have a few takeaways for me.

Day 2, I missed Mayur's session on HTML 5. The slides are packed with information; I am sure this was one of the most highly rated sessions at the conference. I did attend the Quick Bytes session: small, 10-minute talks. I loved to tiny little bits Amruta's talk on logical fallacies in text, and was very impressed with Swati's journey as an innovator. Then, I went away for Antarchakshu. Folks, if you ever ever ever get a chance to attend one of these sessions (the Xavier's Instt at Bombay does these), do NOT pass the chance up. Before Antarchakshu, "accessibility" was just one more thing to check off a release-readiness list. After Antarchakshu, .... well :) It opened my eyes. It really did.

And so, yes, these are the sessions that I gained from.

I look forward to the 2016 conference.

Slides and session details of conference are at

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