Perspectives on Spectrum 2011: Doug Eaton

I came for the food and was not disappointed. (Just kidding—It was April Fool’s Day. Remember?)

When conference fees come out of my own wallet, I especially appreciate good value. Spectrum 2011, like previous Spectrum conferences I’ve attended, delivered.

Diane Gayeski’s keynote offered a constructive reminder: When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Sometimes writers and training designers need to probe a bit to discover a true need, which may not be additional documentation or training that has been requested.

Consecutive sessions by Bernard Aschwanden, Kristi Leach, and Neil Perlin filled my day with new, practical insights on using metrics to improve project estimating, evaluating document usability, and future-proofing my Help projects to facilitate output to mobile devices.  If you’ve been involved with technical communications for very long, you know two of those three names. Stick around this field, and you may get familiar with the third.

There were other great sessions, but I have not worked out how to be in two places at once. You will probably have to make a choice if you come to Spectrum.

I ended up hanging around for two hours after the events talking with interesting people who had interesting things to say about their work. If you are looking for an event like that to jazz up your work life, check out Spectrum 2012.



Doug Eaton won an Award for Excellence in STC’s 2009 International Online Communications Competition and has won three Awards for Excellence in STC-Rochester’s competitions. He has served as the President and Program Director of STC’s CNY Chapter. He develops Help systems and training for Sensis Corporation in East Syracuse, NY.

Perspectives on Spectrum provides insights by individual conference attendees on their experiences at STC Rochester’s Spectrum 2011 regional technical communications conference. If you’d like to provide your thoughts on the conference, please drop a note to or provide your comment on this post. Please note that comments posted to the STC Rochester website are moderated and  are published at the discretion of STC Rochester.