MAY 5-6 2014

Join us for our 2015 conference!

View the videos


Write the Docs is a two-day conference focused on documentation systems, tech writing theory, and information delivery.

Writing and maintaining documentation involves the talents of a multidisciplinary community of technical writers, designers, typesetters, developers, support teams, marketers, and many others.

This conference creates a time and a place for this community of documentarians to share information, discuss ideas, and work together to improve the art and science of documentation.

We invite all those who write the docs to spread the word:

Docs or it didn't happen!


Sign up for the mailing list to get announcements and updates about the conference.



We will be having a hike on Sunday before the conference. Portland is one of the most beautiful cities in the USA, and has wilderness inside city limits. Come see what beauty hides in the hills behind town.

The hike will leave at 1pm.


Urban Airship will be kindly hosting the pre-registration event this year. Get your badges early, and get to know some other attendees before the conference starts.

Urban airship is located at 1417 NW Everett St. The event will run from 5pm to 8pm on Sunday, May 4.


Join us at Ground Kontrol on Monday night for classic arcade games and drinks. Bring your badge, grab a refreshment, and challenge someone to a 4-player Pac Man match.

Ground Kontrol is located at 511 NW Couch St. We’ll be there from 7:00-9:00 PM Monday night.

If Tekken or Frogger isn’t your thing, we’re also having an event at Henry's Tavern.


Day 0

Join us for a Pre-Registration event at Urban Airship (Map) held from 5-8pm. Grab your badge and shirt early, and get to know other documentarians with provided drinks.

Day 1

Sponsored by Atlassian

Main Track

Time Session
8:00 Venue Open
8:15 Breakfast
9:00 Eric Holscher - Introduction
9:20 R. N. Homer Christensen - Flow: A Permaculture Approach to Documentation Projects
10:00 Ali Spivak - Communities are Awesome
10:20 Heidi Waterhouse - The New Sheriff in Town: Bringing Documentation Out of Chaos
10:40 Break
11:00 Amalia Hawkins - Ignorance Is Strength: Writing Documentation By Learning As You Go
11:40 Mo Nishiyama - Did It In Minutes: The Art of Documenting Meeting Notes
12:00 Nina Vyedin - Hacking the English Language
12:20 Lunch
13:20 Lightning talks
13:50 Alex Gaynor - Documenting Domain Specific Knowledge
14:10 Geoffrey Grosenbach - Graphical Explanations
14:30 Matthew Lyon - Minimum Viable Documentation
14:50 Lois Patterson - What Makes Good API Documentation: An Example-Based Approach
15:10 Kenneth Reitz - Documentation at Scale
15:30 Break
15:50 Simeon Franklin & Marko Gargenta - TechDocs at Twitter: Creating the Culture of Documentation
16:30 Maxwell Hoffmann - Say more with less: writing for a global audience
16:50 Amelia Abreu - Data, Documentation and Memory
17:10 Christina Elmore - Death by Documentation
17:30 Party Reminder
17:30 End
19:00 Conference Party - Sponsored by RethinkDB

Lola’s Room

Time Session
9:00 Unstructured Time - Have a chat with someone, check your email, or just relax.
13:50 Bryan Helmig - Your API Consumers Aren’t Who You Think They Are
14:10 Eric Holmes - STEM rising: strategies for teaching technical writing at the collegiate level
14:30 Open Spaces - Get together and talk with people about a specific topic you care about. Signups will be on a white board.

Day 2

Main Track

Sponsored by Twitter

Time Session
8:00 Venue Open
8:15 Breakfast
8:55 Announcements
9:00 Drew Jaynes - Putting the (docs) Cart Before the (standards) Horse
9:20 Susan Salituro - From docs to engineering and back again
9:40 James Pearson - Don’t Write Documentation
10:00 Christopher Kelleher - Make Music Not Noise
10:20 Break
10:40 Brian L. Troutwine - Instrumentation as Living Documentation: Teaching Humans About Complex Systems
11:20 Lauren Rother - We Strongly Recommend You Write Best Practices
11:40 Scot Marvin - Wabi-Sabi Writing
12:00 Britta Gustafson - Strategies to fight documentation inertia
12:20 Lunch
13:20 Lightning talks
13:50 L.S. Cook - Scale for Support Without Losing Personality
14:10 Jared Bhatti - The Getting Stopped Experience: Improving Your Content’s First Impression
14:50 Zach Corleissen - More Than a Reference: Better APIs through Empathy
15:10 Break
15:30 Patrick Arlt - Ditch your CMS with Git and Static Site Generators
16:10 Mark Tattersall - Documentation as a Product
16:50 Eric Holscher - Closing Remarks
17:00 End

Lola’s Room

Time Session
9:00 Unstructured Time - Have a chat with someone, check your email, or just relax
13:50 Steve Stegelin - Bringing UA into the UX (and Vice Versa)
14:10 Juliana Arrighi - Cultivating Biological Documentation
14:30 Open Spaces - Get together and talk with people about a specific topic you care about


The Crystal Ballroom

This year’s Portland conference will be held at the Crystal Ballroom. It is a beautiful concert venue located in the middle of downtown Portland. We believe it will provide a great home for Write the Docs this year, with room to grow in the future.

We listened to people’s feedback last year, and one of the biggest issues was the lack of a “Hallway Track”. To help solve that problem, we also have booked Lola’s Room, which is a separate space in the same building. Lola’s Room will be available for use by attendees throughout the conference. The building also has a couple of other areas where you can have a conversation with someone new and interesting you just met.


Call For Sponsorship

We are seeking corporate partners to help us create the best conference possible. Please act fast, the time is nigh and sponsorships are limited.

For more information please contact us.

Current Sponsors


If you have any questions or concerns, please email us.