Julie Grady

Julie Grady is the marketing/technical communications specialist at Qsource, a nonprofit healthcare quality improvement and information technology consultancy. Her experience includes creating promotional and informational materials; editing, writing, and designing technical publications, proposals, analytical reports, web content and books. She is also a reviewer for the Southern Medical Journal and theses and doctoral students.

Julie has a master’s degree in English and a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Memphis. She recently edited You Can' Eat Your Degree, by Tricia Berry and Danielle Forget Shield.

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Practical Conference on Communication (PCOC) Opens Oct. 26 in Knoxville

The Practical Conference on Communication (PCOC, pronounced “peacock”) offers what many conferences do not—an opportunity to apply practical skills and knowledge immediately in short workshops. Given biannually by the Society for Technical Communication East Tennessee Chapter (STC-ETC), PCOC encourages a deep and detailed sharing of job-applicable knowledge in a short amount of time. The 27th annual event is being held at the Rothchild Catering & Conference Center, in Knoxville, Tennessee. Continue reading ...

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Prepare for a Challenging Content Management Swim

Alan Porter has an extensive background in technical communications, so I was thrilled when I learned his recently published book, The Content Pool, spoke to the exact topic I was struggling with at work, knowledge and content management and providing an ROI to senior executives. I was eager to get started, but I struggled with the book’s length and unfriendliness to someone on the job trying to get the gist and apply/implement it. Continue reading ...

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A (Re)Fresh Perspective on Practicing Technical Communication

Before I sat down to talk to Leah Guren, I knew her name and reputation because of her history and recognition in the technical communication industry and with the Society for Technical Communication (STC). I thought she was a pioneer in technical communication, having started in the field in 1980 at a software company. However, Guren stated that the profession is actually more than a hundred years old, and had foundations in academia in the 1970s. Continue reading ...

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Enhancing Online Help with MadPak Suite Components

Patrick Calnan, Documentation Team Lead for N‐able Technologies has been using components of the MadPak Suite for a while, and presented at WritersUA on how MadPak Suite can enhance online help in a quick 30-minute session. Although he’s not a MadCap employee, Calnen packed a lot of useful information into a short session, effectively touching on several components of the MadPak Suite with insight on how his company has implemented them in their online help projects: Feedback, Analyzer, Contributor, Mimic and Capture. Continue reading ...

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Dealing with SMEs in Technical Communications and User Assistance

Dr. Kevin C. Moore, the Chief Learning Officer at Tier1 Performance Solutions, presented at WritersUA on the neuroscience of knowledge transfer, and Dealing with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in the Design Process using the same approach, a basis of understanding the mind. Dr. Moore started his SME discussion with four letters—A, O, K and B—Attitude, Opinion, Knowledge and Behavior. Whatever you learned from his session, he said that those are the four critical things to take away. AOKB of you, your SMEs and your users. Continue reading ...

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Session Summary: Cascading Style Sheets—Current Techniques and the Promise of CSS3

Mike Hamilton, VP of product management for MadCap Software and member of the Orange County Chapter of the STC, really got specific at his WritersUA session on CSS3. Hamilton believes most technical communications teams do not CSS2 to its fullest potential. So he focused on providing practical and applicable tips for CSS2 and CSS3 as it makes its way to adoption as a standard. Although Hamilton described CSS techniques using Flare, his tips are applicable regardless of the program used. He reminded participants that the DIV element "is our friend;" that the key to layouts is using the attributes Float, Position and Overflow; and that while CSS3 holds promise, the promise comes with caveats. Continue reading ...

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Session Summary: Adobe Tech Comm Suite Tool Seminar

During WritersUA 2012, Adobe® hosted a tool seminar with several presenters, each one speaking to a unique feature or in more detail on a feature of Technical Communication Suite (TCS). The package allows for authoring DITA-compliant content in FrameMaker®, publishing to multiple outputs with RoboHelp® and Captivate®, and adding images, demos or simulations with Photoshop® and Captivate. Outputs include print, PDF, EPUB, AIR®, WebHelp, XML and HTML. Continue reading ...

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Session Summary: Usability Testing–Down, Dirty, and Doable!

The Usability Testing presentation started with some humor. An attendee, looking at Leah Guren’s slides featuring her cow insignia for CowTC , said “Would cows be the midpoint between pigs and chickens in an Agile environment?” Then Guren used the remainder of the break before the official session time to play her company appropriate song, I Am Cow, by Arrogant Worms. Continue reading ...

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Why You Should Have Attended User Assistance 101 at WritersUA

WritersUA 2012 started with the basics in the pre-conference sessions on Sunday. Even with 17 years of experience in technical communications, I found the four content strategy sessions to be very valuable and informative, as a refresher on the basics of any technical communications project, and as applied to user assistance (UA). The Content Strategy track of UA101 included Writing Procedures by Leah Guren, Editing by Rhonda Bracey, Task Analysis by Leah Guren and SME Interviewing by Nicky Bleiel. Continue reading ...