Tech Comm Professional Development: 2013 Conference Overview

2013 conference circuitBudgets, interests, business and personal objectives all play a large role in putting together a professional development plan. You may have opted for an advanced degree or an ongoing certificate program.  If you’re not in a position to take on a long-term commitment, the short-term infusion of knowledge, skills-building, energy, and professional collaboration that comes from conference attendance may fit your goals. And the 2013 conference list contains a huge array of choices.

Now comes the challenge: how do you determine what 2013 conference(s) you should attend? Some of the points to consider:

  • Subject matter:  are you looking for specific training in tools, a broad review of a specific discipline, or a deep dive into the trends that impact your company or industry? Do you need a certification? Are there thought leaders you want to hear and perhaps engage in conversation?
  • Cost:  Are you paying out of pocket, or do you need to provide a business case so that your employer will cover it? Does the cost of the event include meals or social events?
  • Location: The benefits of attending a conference in person are significant, but traveling to a distant locale can be costly, both in terms of money and personal comfort.  Can you book airfare through a discount service, or does the conference host offer discounts? Are other transportation alternatives, such as train, bus, or driving available? Are there less expensive accommodations close to the conference site? Is there a virtual option?
  • Timing:  Can you plan to attend the conference with enough time to take full advantage of early registration and advance booking discounts? Does the event occur at a time that won’t pose a risk your employer (disrupting annual release cycles, missing important company events, etc.) Can you schedule time to meet with vendors or consultants during the event to get “more bang for the buck”?

In addition to some of the more well-known technical communication events, you may want to consider conferences that focus on a single topic or trend or ones where you can explore disciplines related to technical communication.  We’ve put together the following listing of 2013 conferences to give you a starting point on figuring out where your interests and opportunities might be best served.

 

Event Name

Produced/ Hosted By

2013 Conference Dates

2013 Conference Location

Description

Technical Communication
TCCamp (Unconference) Single-sourcing Solutions January 26 San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA The purpose of TC Camp is to provide a local bay area conference for technical communicators that is driven by the members of that community–writers, editors, designers, and the people who support them.
MEGAComm Communicators Conference MEGAComm February 7 Jerusalem, Israel Attended by hundreds of technical writers, MARCOM professionals, graphic artists, programmers, web designers, translators, small business owners who want to grow their presence on the web, and other hi-tech professionals
TWIN: tcworld India Tcworld, GmbH February 21-22 Bangalore, India There are many technical aspects which will be covered like HTML5 and DITA. We invite everyone to come and gain new insights into the demanding field of technical writers.Technical communication is an evolving field in India and therefore Technical Writers, Translators, Information Architects, Copy Editors, Software Specialists, Project Managers, and Content Developers will benefit greatly from attending.
Mid-Atlantic Technical Communications Conference Philadelphia Metro Chapter of STC March 8-9 Willow Grove, PA, USA The theme for this year’s Mid-Atlantic Technical Communication Conference is “Sharpening Your Personal Brand.”
Spectrum 2013 Rochester chapter of STC March 21-23 Rochester, NY, USA The conference theme “Why Not the Best?” focuses on expert creation and delivery of content, leaders, technology, and skills in the technical communication field.
Write the Docs Write the Docs April 8-9 Portland, OR, USA A two-day conference focused on documentation systems, tech writing theory, and information delivery. This conference creates a time and a place for this community of documentarians to share information, discuss ideas, and work together to improve the art and science of documentation..
STC Summit Society for Technical Communication May 5 – 8 Atlanta, GA, USA
ACM SIGDOC 2013 Association of Computing Machinery (ACM) Special Interest Group on Design of Communication September 30- October 1 Greenville, NC, USA
TCUK 2013 Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (ITSC) September 24-26 Bristol, UK three intensive days of workshops, presentations, and networking for tech comm professionals from across the world. Delegates and sponsors came from places including the USA, India, Australia, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Israel, as well as many parts of the UK.
Tekom Tcworld, GmbH October Wiesbaden, Germany
Content Management & Content Strategy
Intelligent Content The Rockley Group / The Content Wrangler February 7-8 San Francisco, CA, USA This year’s event focuses on helping organizations better understand the emerging discipline of corporate publishing with an emphasis on teaching you what you need to know about the standards, methods, and tools needed to deliver the right information, to the right people, at the right time, in the right format and language, on the device of the customer’s choosing.
AIIM 2013 Annual Conference: Extreme Information Association for Information and Image Management March 20-22 New Orleans, LA, USA for those who are ready to think strategically about information management on a massive scale; to embrace the stewardship, optimization, and application of their enterprise information assets.
Confab London 2013 Brain Traffic March 25-27 London UK Whether you’re a seasoned content expert or still learning the ropes, Confab will have something for you.
Content Management Strategies/DITA North America 2013 Center for Information Development Management (CIDM) April 15-17 Providence, RI, USA Learn from managers, information architects, technology experts, authors, trainers, and others who have worked hard to develop outstanding solutions for managing content effectively. Learn from their successes and the pitfalls they’ve encountered. Engage in conversations with those who share your concerns, can address your questions, and bring their experience to bear on your plans and hopes
Confab Minneapolis 2013 Brain Traffic June 3-5 Minneapolis, MN, USA We’re trying to hit that perfect balance between well-known content experts and emerging new voices. Whether you’re looking for conceptual discussions about the future of content, or practical, day-to-day applications within your own work, Confab will have something for you.
The LavaCon Conference on Digital Media and Content Strategies LavaCon October 21-23 Portland, OR, USA To assist organizations solve content-related business problems that results in increased revenue and decreased production costs.
Gilbane Conference Lighthouse Seminars November Boston, MA, USA Gilbane has been the go-to industry event where marketers, content managers, technologists, and business strategists learn how use content technologies to build new and more engaging customer relationships
User Experience and Interaction Design
Interaction 13 Interaction Design Association (IxDA) January 27-31 Toronto, ON, Canada Celebrate 10 years of interaction design to embark on a journey toward defining our role as guides through social interactions, digital and beyond. Inspire and be inspired at Interaction13 and make an impact on the social fabric of your community, organization, and society.
Writers UA: The Conference on Software User Assistance Welinske.com March7-8 Seattle, WA, USA
MinneWebCon University of Minnesota April 15-16 Minneapolis, MN, USA MinneWebCon’s roots are in people coming together to solve problems and make things easier, and we are entering our sixth year with a big-time commitment to grassroots knowledge-sharing.
UX Immersion Conference User Interface Engineering April 22-24 Seattle, WA, USA Designing for Mobile
UXPA 2013 Annual Conference User Experience Professionals Association July 9-12 Washington DC This year’s conference will explore all the collaborative relationships, techniques, and team-oriented practices that enrich the UX profession.  It’s a fitting theme as this year is the first time that UXPA International is creating joint conferences through collaborative efforts with UXPA DC and UXPA China
User Interface Conference User Interface Engineering November 5 -7 Boston, MA, USA
Training & Instructional Design
ASTD TechKnowledge American Society of Training and Development January 30-February 1 San Jose, CA, USA More than 1,200 who focus their daily attention on the design and delivery, management and strategy of technology and learning
New Learning Technologies 2013 Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT) March 6-8 Orlando, FL, USA bringing together senior professionals from government, industry, academia and the military to present the latest developments in the field of learning and training technologies
eLearning DevCon Rapid Intake Inc. May 6-9 Las Vegas, NV, USA Our focus is to deliver practical development and management skills in the hands of those who create the content every day at a low cost.
ASTD International Conference and Exposition American Society of Training and Development May 19-22 Dallas, TX, USA ASTD 2013 is the premier event for workplace learning and development professionals, with more than 9,000 attendees from over 80 countries.
Knowledge Management, Information Architecture & Taxonomy
InfoCamp PDX 2013 Infocamp.org February 16 Portland, OR, USA One day unconference for all sorts of people excited about connecting people with information. This includes visual/user experience designers, librarians, web folk and other InfoNerds.!
NFAIS Annual Conference National Federation of Advanced Information Services Feb 24-26 Philadelphia, PA, USA In Search of Answers: Unlocking New Value from Content Each new generation of information products and services has slowly progressed along the path from delivering information towards the ultimate goal of delivering answers. Now at last the keys to unlocking much greater value from content may be at hand. The convergence of existing and emerging technologies for the mining, linking, analysis, measurement, and management of large quantities of global information across multiple media and data formats has produced an unprecedented toolkit
eKNOW: International Conference on Information Process and Knowledge Management International Academy, Research and Industry Association (ARIA) February 24-March 1 Nice, France Co-located with Digital World 2013.
IA Summit Information Architecture Institute April 3-7 Baltimore, MD, USA The IA Summit is the primary event for those redefining strategy and structure in support of cross-channel systems and user experiences. The 13th IA Summit will be jointly presented by ASIS&T and the IA Institute.
Balisage: The Markup Conference Mulberry Technologies August 6-9 Montreal, QB, CA Annual conference devoted to the theory and practice of descriptive markup and related technologies for structuring and managing information.
KMWorld 2013 KM World November 6-8 Washington DC, USA Building Collaborative Organizations: People, Platforms & ProgramsIn conjunction with Taxonomy Boot Camp, Enterprise Search Summit, and SharePoint Symposium
Media, Design & Publishing
Tools of Change for Publishing O’Reilly Media Feb 12 -14 New York, NY, USA The publishing industry is in the midst of profound change that goes much deeper than simply using new tools and technology to publish in new formats.
Vision Plus 15 IMPACT:  Information Mobilizing People to Accomplish Critical Tasks International Institute for Information Design (IIID) November 7 -9 Hong Kong IIID was founded to develop research and practice in optimizing information and information systems for knowledge transferin everyday life, business, education and science.
Vendors, Tools & User Groups
SharePoint Summit 2013 SharePoint Summit (English) May 13-15 Toronto, ON, Canada Designed and developed by a steering committee made up of clients, consultants and SharePoint solutions providers, SharePoint Summit 2013 is a key event for meeting important players in the SharePoint community and learning about their successes – and mistakes.
MadWorld Madcap Software April 7-9 San Diego, CA MadWorld is a two-day conference with a fresh take on technical communication, featuring industry thought leaders and fellow peers from companies such as Caradigm (a Microsoft | GE Healthcare company), Blackbaud, N-able Technologies, Advanced Language Translation and more!
Lectora User Conference Trivantis Corporation April 29-May 1 San Antonio, TX, USA Discover more about Lectora and network with hundreds of other users and the Lectora team.
SDL Innovate 2013 SDL, PLC June 13-14 San Jose, CA, USA The fourth annual SDL Innovate conference, offers two days of unparalleled learning and networking opportunities. Get cutting-edge insight from the experts and organizations that are shaping the future of global business.
Other Conferences of Interest
Next Generation Customer Experience Worldwide Business Research March 11-13 San Bernadino, CA, USA Benchmark with the brightest minds and most respected brands at the leading cross-industry, cross-channel customer experience event
Open Book: Sigma Tau Delta  2013 International Convention Sigma Tau Delta (International English Honor Society) March 20-23 Portland, OR, USA

Expanding your knowledge and skills beyond what you’ve already mastered is key to continuing a satisfying career, and conference attendance is one option that provides additional benefits:  expanding your professional technical communication network, re-energizing your thinking about your work and your job, and setting your sights on a long-term goal.

If you know of a 2013 conference that should be on our list, we welcome your input, so feel free to post a comment or send us a link via email.

Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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