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The Premier Technical Communication
and Content Strategy Conference

April 14-17, 2019 | Hard Rock Hotel

Main Conference Day 1

7:00 - 8:30 AM

Registration, Breakfast

8:30 - 9:30 AM

General Session & Welcome Address

9:30 AM

Technical Support Lounge Opens

9:30 - 10:15 AM

Break and Networking

10:15 - 11:10 AM


Track 1

Photo of Mike Hamilton

Micro Content, Chatbots, and Machine Learning – What Do They Mean for Technical Authoring?

Presented by: Mike Hamilton

In our high technology world, the need for quality content is always growing. However, how that content is delivered or received is constantly evolving. In this session, Mike Hamilton will introduce the concepts around “micro content” and how it will impact traditional technical authoring. The session will cover how your content can support your existing publishing requirements (PDF, HTML5, eBook, etc.) and be made compatible with micro content at the same time. Learn how to prepare your content for use as source material for automated chat feeds, bots, and other automated delivery techniques.

Session Topics: Micro Content

Track 2

Photo of Scott DeLoach

Enhancing HTML5 Responsive Layout and Design

Presented by: Scott DeLoach

CSS provides numerous options for positioning elements. In this session, we will discuss the pros and cons of using responsive layouts, float, grid, and flex in MadCap Flare. During the session, Scott will share real-world examples of using each approach and share best practices for using them. Attendees will receive a sample project that contains examples they can reuse in their own projects.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | Responsive Design

Track 3

Photo of Joe Bleasdale

Creating Mega Menus in MadCap Flare Outputs

Presented by: Joe Bleasdale

Need a larger menu in your MadCap Flare output, akin to e-commerce sites? In this session, Joe Bleasdale covers how the disguise system team was able to design and implement a large mega menu in a Top Navigation project from scratch. With basic, advanced, and multi-level mega menu examples, you’ll get an overview of how to create a menu with Flare’s tools, and how to design alternative menu structures.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | Menus

Track 4

Photo of Tony Vinciguerra

Holy Grail Part 1: Driving Down Support Calls with Truly Helpful Online Help

Presented by: Tony Vinciguerra

What if you could show your leadership the monetary value of what your team does? In this how-to session, Tony Vinciguerra, Senior Manager of Technical Writing at athenahealth, a SaaS company that offers billing, medical record, and network services for hospital and ambulatory clients, will share the details of how he worked closely with his company’s customer support team to gather and analyze the data necessary to attempt to show how his team’s online help drives down support calls and saves his company money in the process - half of the so-called Holy Grail of technical documentation. He will share his failures and successes, as well as offer advice and concrete steps that you can take to start your own journey.

Session Topics: Tools Neutral

11:10 - 11:30 AM

Break and Networking

11:30 - 12:25 PM


Track 1

Photo of Jennifer Morse

What’s New from MadCap Software: MadCap AMS, MadCap Flare, and MadCap Central

Presented by: Jennifer Morse

The April 2019 release of MadCap Flare adds new cutting-edge features and improvements to streamline content development. Jennifer Morse, Director of Product Evangelism, will take a high-level look at the new features of Flare, including micro content and the new Micro Content Editor, Zendesk publishing, CSS variables, and more. MadCap Central gets a completely redesigned user interface for an improved UX, as well as enhancements to Projects, Tasks, and Widgets. We’ll also take a look at how these updates fit into the new MadCap Authoring and Management System (AMS) solution offering.

Track 2

Photo of Nathan Wolf

Creating a Contemporary Print PDF Design with MadCap Flare

Presented by: Nathan Wolf

With the move to more advanced online help systems, it can be easy to overlook PDF output. If your audience relies on PDF documentation, this session examines some best practices that enable you to create fresh, stylish PDF output. Take a look at some tactics to design your Page Layouts for a modern look and feel, and learn about creating some topics, snippets, and variables to enhance your output. Finally, you’ll learn about creating your TOCs and Targets with settings to make it all come together.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | PDF Outputs | Design

Track 3

Photo of Robin Stefani

Customer-Friendly User Guides with MadCap Doc-To-Help

Presented by: Robin Stefani

Have you ever felt that a Subject Matter Expert's explanation adds to the complexity of the information? As writers, we want to provide clarity, ensuring our readers are empowered to use the product we are documenting. With fifteen years as an educator and six as a technical writer, Robin Stefani has integrated her experiences to develop customer-friendly user guides for complex software. In this session, you will learn how to break down complex content into user-friendly bites employing Doc-to-Help capabilities.

Session Topics: MadCap Doc-To-Help

Track 4

Photo of Heather Hadley

On-Demand Help for On-Demand Software: How to Write for SaaS

Presented by: Heather Hadley

Because of the popularity of the SaaS model for software delivery, software development teams focus on continually releasing incremental changes instead of deadline-driven release dates. However, how can you ensure that your documentation is up-to-date and accurate when the software is constantly changing? In this session, you’ll learn how to deliver accurate and timely documentation for SaaS software. Get the best practices on how to integrate documentation in the development cycle and how to create a continual feedback loop on your documentation, so that you can constantly improve it. You'll also learn how to tailor your documentation to cover custom features that have been developed for individual clients.

Session Topics: Tools Neutral

12:30 - 1:45 PM

Lunch and Networking

1:45 - 2:40 PM


Track 1

Photo of Neil Perlin

Caution: Contains Graphic Material

Presented by: Neil Perlin

If you’re new to MadCap Flare, you may be working with graphics inefficiently, such as formatting graphics locally using the Image Properties dialog box, inserting graphics in lists incorrectly, or inserting graphics using tables as layout control tools. In this presentation, Neil Perlin shares better, efficient tips and techniques to handle graphics. Learn the differences between BMP, GIF, JPG, and PNG and their effect on file management, how to use CSS-based formatting, using graphics as custom bullets in bulleted lists, and more. You’ll leave this presentation able to make your graphics work more efficient and future-proof.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | Graphics

Track 2

Photo of Luciana Voigt

Knowledge Management for Bots using MadCap Flare

Presented by: Luciana Voigt

eSocial is part of the Brazilian Public System for keeping integrated records among fiscal, social security and labor obligations. Its main purpose is to formalize this information through digital means, relative to all of the country`s employees, public or private. This represents an enormous challenge for Brazilian employers due to the many changes in bookkeeping records that this new law established. Senior Sistemas is responsible for processing 6 million payrolls, which comprises of around 20% of Brazil’s total payrolls. Learn how the team build the eSocial knowledge base with MadCap Flare to overcome the challenge of increased customer tickets, and how they indexed these documents as a resource for SARA (Senior Automated and Responsive Agent), their Bot developed with IBM Watson.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | Bots

Track 3

Photo of Henri Kester
Photo of Chelsea Santos

Custom Protocol Selector 2.0: More Personalized Content

Presented by: Henri Kester, Chelsea Santos

A few years ago, the team at Illumina launched the Custom Protocol Selector (CPS), a tool that generates a customized PDF with only the information their customers need for their workflow. Since then, CPS2.0 was launched, which is now more flexible, faster, and mobile-friendly. CPS2.0 has HTML and PDF output, can switch to different levels of detail on the fly, provides interactive elements, and is much faster. In this session, Chelsea Santos and Henri Kester demonstrate the new features of CPS2.0, and explain how they built this tool.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | Custom Tools

Track 4

Photo of Andrea Maliska

Using Lightboards to Provide an Effective and Engaging Virtual Learning and Training Experience

Presented by: Andrea Maliska

Ways of learning and absorbing information is ever changing, and virtual classrooms and online learning are in demand for an increasingly globally dispersed and on the go workforce. But self-paced learning has taken a lot of the engagement and instructor time out of learning which, in turn, decreases retention and student approval. The Lightboard is the answer to this increasing problem. Developed by professors to create a more engaging classroom experience for large auditorium style rooms, Lightboards are now making their way into online learning and moving beyond the higher education space. In this session, Andrea Maliska will take a look at how these Lightboards work, the cognition behind them, and how they can be used to helped corporations build engaging and effective vILT experiences and reach a larger audience.

Session Topics: Tools Neutral | Learning and Development

2:40 - 3:00 PM

Break and Networking

3:00 - 3:55 PM


Track 1

Photo of Mallary Silva-Grondin

Using MadCap Flare to Create Enterprise API Documentation

Presented by: Mallary Silva-Grondin

Over the last three years at TraceLink, Mallary Silva-Grondin and her team has released over 20 API Guides containing over 170 messages/calls, translated into multiple languages. Get the story of a “start up within a startup”, showcasing features and best practices of authoring API content in MadCap Flare, as well as a cautionary tale of where the team failed fast. If you’re an API writer working in a startup environment with Flare as a primary authoring tool, or need to create SOAP, REST, and asynchronous messages for ERP systems, this session is for you.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | API Documentation

Track 2

Photo of Homer Christensen
Photo of Patrick Fueldner

Using MadCap Central for SME Reviews and Contributions

Presented by: Homer Christensen, Patrick Fueldner

At Nestlé, MadCap Central is used for prototyping new features and designs, and as the primary hub for review and contribution by Subject Matter Experts. In this session, Homer Christensen of PEACE team solutions and Patrick Fueldner of Nestlé discuss their experiences and the processes developed to reduce the turn-around time to get a finished topic published. Learn how the cloud authoring experience has simplified the round-trip process of SME authoring of content, incorporation into the project, and review and approval, letting them leave annotations for requests and instructions beyond the simple text editor, anywhere at any time.

Session Topics: MadCap Central | Reviews

Track 3

Photo of Daniel Ferguson

The Highlight Reel: Using a Syntax Highlighter in Your MadCap Flare Project

Presented by: Daniel Ferguson

If you have code samples in your MadCap Flare project, then using a syntax highlighter is a must. With very little effort, a syntax highlighter can transform your code samples from ugly to usable by automatically applying language-specific styles to your code samples. This drastically improves the readability and usability of your samples, to say nothing of the fact that it can reduce your authoring time (sometimes dramatically). In this hands-on session, we'll set up a syntax highlighter in a sample Flare project. After this session, you'll be ready to implement a syntax highlighter in your own project.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare

Track 4

Photo of Peter Kelley

How We Converted the Visa Rules Publication to MadCap Flare

Presented by: Peter Kelley

In this presentation, Peter Kelley, Director at Visa, will cover the process of converting the Visa Rules publication process for their 1,200 page, highly formatted PDF from a custom XML-based software application to MadCap Flare. He’ll share how the team converted data from XML to DITA and imported into Flare, and best practices on project structure. In addition, he’ll also discuss how to manage the authoring process across a global team of writers, how to leverage TFS for source control, and advanced conditions to add translation and multiple publication capabilities to a project.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | Case Study

3:55 - 4:25 PM

Break and Networking

4:25 - 5:20 PM


Track 1

Lightning Talks

In this high-energy lightning talk session, speakers will share a brief presentation on a particular topic of their choosing. Each speaker will present for five minutes, sharing tips, tricks and more in a fun, fast-paced format designed to give the audience a rich variety of information. The session will wrap up with questions from the audience.

Track 2

Photo of Paul Pehrson

Integrating Media into a MadCap Flare Project

Presented by: Paul Pehrson

MadCap Flare is now bundled with MadCap Capture and MadCap Mimic. But why should you use Capture and Mimic rather than a tool that might be more familiar to you? Long time Flare user Paul Pehrson will discuss the advantages of using Capture and Mimic and show you how you can integrate some of Flare's most powerful single sourcing features in your media files. Learn the basic features of Capture and Mimic so you can see how these powerful tools can help your projects.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | MadCap Mimic | MadCap Capture

Track 3

Photo of Jenny Pittman

How to Create a Tech Docs Builder to Automate Builds

Presented by: Jenny Pittman

With a master project, four children, and outputs in up to thirty-nine languages, BeyondTrust needed a way to manage builds of both web sites and PDFs. Leveraging madbuild.exe, the team created an in-house app to import resources and build targets. Jenny Pittman, Senior Technical Writer, will discuss the triumphs and frustrations of building a builder, as well as how the app takes complex code and simplifies the process for non-technical users. Attendees will take away sample code and ideas for their own automated builds.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | Automation

Track 4

Photo of Nita Beck

MadCap Flare Listapalooza

Presented by: Nita Beck

In this session, MadCap Flare consultant Nita Beck will demonstrate how to achieve a variety of custom list formats through the magic of CSS (especially auto-numbering), HTML structures, and Flare gadgets such as snippets. Learn how to define complex selectors that automatically dictate the format (bullet style, number format) of nested lists as you type your content. In addition, you’ll learn how to design custom list formats, step-action-result tables with auto-numbered rows, and snippets with bullet styles or number formats that automatically adjust when inserted to lists.

Session Topics: MadCap Flare | Auto-numbering

5:30 PM

Technical Support Lounge Closes

6:00 - 9:00 PM

Moonshine Flats Hosted Networking Reception

location iconMoonshine Flats, 344 Seventh Ave

With day one complete, it is time to let loose at Moonshine Flats – downtown San Diego’s largest country bar. Located just blocks from the Hard Rock Hotel, the venue features over 18,000 square feet of space, a spacious lounge, and a massive wooden dance floor for country-western line dancing. We’ll enjoy a mix of country music, food, drinks, and yes - you guessed it – some instructor-led line dancing to get your feet moving.

Moonshine Flats Hosted Networking Reception