Spectrum Program

Spectrum Conference Rochester STC Chapter

Spectrum 2020, a Virtual Conference
Saturday, September 19 to
Monday, September 21

The Expanding Spectrum of Technical Communication

Every year the range expands of roles filled by technical communicators, audiences they serve, topics they address, skills they need, and areas of special interest to the field. The 2020 theme, The Expanding Spectrum of Technical Communication, reflects the exciting and challenging scope of work we do now as technical communicators and the growth of opportunities each year. The conference schedule follows information about the keynote speaker. You are invited to attend Spectrum 2020, the Rochester Chapter’s 61st annual conference. Register on Eventbrite. See you at Spectrum!

Spectrum 2020 keynote speaker Kirk St. Amant

Kirk St. AmantThis year’s keynote speaker, Kirk St. Amant, is well-qualified to address the spectrum of technical communication. His talk, “Dynamics of Cognition, Usability, and Design,” will give participants insight into three key areas. In his talk, Kirk examines the psychology of usability in different design contexts.

Design of materials greatly affects how individuals use materials to achieve objectives.

Expectations of usability can influence factors ranging from reactions to page layout to understanding the images that exemplify a process. These factors are connected to cognition, how the mind processes information when identifying and using objects. These factors are also connected to cognitive assumptions of context, or the setting where the materials are used.

Kirk will examine certain cognitive aspects that affect how people perceive, understand, and use informational and instructional materials in various settings. He will also provide strategies for applying cognitive concepts to guide design and research activities to develop effective visuals and usable designs.

Kirk is a popular speaker at the STC Summit, a contributor to STC’s journal and Intercom magazine, a prolific writer of scholarly articles, a collaborator in the STC community, and a teacher. Kirk is a co-manager of STC’s Health and Medicine SIG. His brief, direct, and clear articles written more than 20 years ago for STC’s International Technical Communication SIG are still in use in classrooms and for reference today.

Kirk is a Professor and Eunice C. Williamson Endowed Chair in Technical Communication and Research Faculty Member with the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Science (CBERS) at Louisiana Tech University.  Kirk also serves as the Director of Tech’s Usability Studies Research Center and its Health and Medical Communication Research Center.  In addition, Kirk is an Adjunct Professor of International Health and Medical Communication with the University of Limerick in Ireland, a Guest Professor of Usability Studies with Southeast University in China, and a Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor of User Experience Design with the University of Strasbourg in France.  He researches how cognition affects usability and design with a focus on international health and medical contexts and international online education. Kirk is a Fellow of STC.

Spectrum 2020 Schedule

See also Conference Session Descriptions, Workshop Descriptions, and Speaker Bios.

Saturday September 19 Workshops

8:30 am to 11:30 am Morning Workshops

12:30 pm to 3:30 pm Afternoon Workshops

Sunday September 20 Leadership Day and Speakers Dinner

1:00 pm to 4:00 pm Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey and Volunteering in STC. Rochester chapter president Kelly Schrank facilitates a discussion among STC leaders and participants.

4:00 pm to 5:00 pm STC update and discussion led by 2019-2020 STC President Ben Woelk

Monday September 21 Keynote and Conference Presentations

8:30 am Opening remarks

8:45 am to 9:45 am Keynote address, Kirk St. Amant, Dynamics of Cognition, Usability, and Design

9:45 am to 10:00 am Morning break

10:00 am to 10:50 am Presentations Session 1

11:00 am to 11:50 am Presentations Session 2

12:00 pm to 1:00 pm Lunch, Chapter Awards, Tech Pub Awards, Sponsor Presentations

1:00 pm to 1:30 pm Networking, Exhibits

1:30 pm to 2:20 pm Presentations Session 3

2:30 pm to 3:20 pm Presentations Session 4

3:30 pm to 4:00 pm Refreshment Break

4:00 pm to 4:15 pm Lightning Talks

  • Carolyn Klinger, We are Experience Designers!
  • Chuck Campbell Low-Cost Tech Comm Software Alternatives
  • Wendy Barnhart Agile, Agile, Bo-bagile: All these terms, let’s unravel

4:15 pm to 4:30 pm Ninja Talks

  • STC 2019-2020 President Ben Woelk and Past President Bernard Aschwanden

4:30 pm to 5:00 pm Prize Giveaways

5:00 pm Closing Remarks, Ben Woelk and Bernard Aschwanden

6:00 pm to 7:00 pm After Conference Party

What is a Lightning Talk? A Ninja Talk?

A Lightning Talk is a five-minute talk on a key topic in the technical communication field, with 20 slides created by the presenter, advanced automatically every 15 seconds. The speaker not only presents a talk with a serious purpose in a short period of time, but must time each segment to coincide with a slide. Even when the slides advance too soon, speakers typically recover well and smooth over any gap. Delivering a Lightning Talk is an art!

A Ninja Talk is a five-minute talk ostensibly on a topic in the field, with 20 slides created by someone other than the presenter (the challenger), and advanced automatically every 15 seconds. Further, the challenger provides the topic, at the time of the talk. These talks are more light-hearted than Lightning Talks, and are fun for audience, challenger, and Ninja presenter alike. A skilled Ninja actually makes some sense during the presentation. We have skilled Ninjas, so plan to join the fun!