Aug 222014
Updated: September 12, 2014

Fixed collogues misspelling

How good is your work? Use the STC NE Competition to find out.

You probably feel like a proud parent about the technical content that you develop. You worry, and fret, and work so very hard to develop the best technical documentation possible to meet the requirements of the product and its intended audience. And as a proud parent, you like to show off your best work. Now is the time to get ready to do that.

The 2014 STC Competition for the New England chapter is returning in September, so start thinking about which entries you should submit — it’s the best possible showcase for technical communicators in New England to stand up and be recognized for the quality of their work.

The 2014 STC New England Competition offers you an opportunity to receive recognition and feedback for your work. The competition is a forum where you have a panel of experienced members of the technical communication profession assess the quality and merit of your technical documentation. Each entry (online or printed deliverable) is judged against criteria that measure the degree of technical content, achievement of purpose, and technical execution.

Lisa McCarty, Principal Learning Content Developer at Autodesk, has a few thoughts on the benefit and value received from last year’s STC competition:

“We were excited for the opportunity to enter our tutorial in the STC competition to be reviewed by our peers. The template that the reviewers used for feedback was clear and easy to read, and the written comments were very helpful. One of the reviewers recommended, ‘It might be helpful to give the user an exercise that builds on the learning from the tutorial. A video could show the answer.’ We are interested in this approach and are looking for ways to incorporate this type of learning in our next release. The positive response from our users, along with the feedback and award from our peers at the Society for Technical Communication will go a long way in supporting our requests to develop more of this type of learning content. Thank you for reviving the STC New England Competition and for giving our entry your consideration, as well as for taking the time to provide thorough and thoughtful feedback.”

Some of the benefits that you and your company can receive from entering into the competition:

  • Personal satisfaction and professional development
  • Recognition and affirmation from your peers
  • Validation of decisions that you made for your documentation
  • Innovative ideas for improving your documentation
  • Portfolio improvement
  • Product improvement

The experienced panel of judges performs a detailed analysis of each submitted entry. You can expect to receive:

  • Fair, impartial, constructive, and complete assessments of each entry
  • Tactful suggestions for improvement
  • Detailed and specific examples

STC New England’s competition align with the four entry competition categories used by the STC International Summit Award (ISA) for judging and awards:

  • Informational Materials — Entries intended to inform the reader of information without a specific call to action. The material is designed to attract the target audience while providing information about a technical or scientific subject, product, service, or organization.
    Entry Type Examples: Annual reports, articles, books, error messages, magazines, newsletters, periodicals, posters, and research papers, regardless of delivery medium; websites; videos.
  • Instructional Materials — Entries that train a user/learner on a particular set of skills and knowledge.
    Entry Type Examples: eLearning, mobile learning, Web-based training (WBT), facilitator guides, instructional animation or videos, student guides, tutorials, webinars.
  • Promotional Materials — Entries that market or promote a product, company, individual, or event. The materials must persuade the audience to some action, using integrated text and figures.
    Entry Type Examples: Brochures, catalogs, fliers, posters, videos.
  • User Support Materials — Entries that provide information for independent use to support a user in performing specific tasks.
    Entry Type Examples: Online help, job aids, quick start or reference guides, reference documents, installation guides, and user guides, regardless of delivery medium.

The STC Competition is open to all technical communication professionals. You do not have to be a member of STC to participate. Please help spread the word about this year’s 2014 STC Competition to all of your co-workers and colleagues in the profession across New England. We want to hear from you.

Registration for entry in the four competition categories will open September 5 and run through October 3. Be sure to look for upcoming details on this year’s STC competition!