Writing/presentation sample for Barbara Heninger:
In May, 2001, I gave a presentation at the Society for Technical Communication's 48th annual conference. My co-presenter was JoAnn Hackos of Comtech Services and the Center for Information-Development Management. Our topic? Why customers sometimes hate online help systems.
I presented a case study of an incident when customers objected to an online help system, why they did so, and what my company did about it.
About the Presentation
My case study covered a time when Cadence Design Systems changed its online documentation from a larger online library to a series of smaller WinHelp modules for a subset of Cadence products. Customers objected to the separate modules for several reasons outlined in the slides. I described what Cadence did in response to the customer's objections, and the results of those actions. I also outlined the types of activities technical writers might take in future to ensure that they write about what their users want to know.
The rest of the presentation was given by JoAnn Hackos and covered why help systems sometimes fail their users, how to research what customers need and what their environment and goals are, and what kinds of information systems could be created in future.
The presentation was attended by approximately 360 persons. 140 completed evaluations and, on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent), rated my portion of the presentation content 4.40 and the delivery 4.47; the average scores for all speakers at the conference were 4.17 for content and 4.15 for delivery.
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