Write the Docs Day Australia 2017 - Recap

Write the Docs Day Australia 2017 - Recap

A big thank you to all attending our first Australian Write the Docs Day in Melbourne. We are extremely grateful to our sponsors, volunteers, speakers and attendees. We loved the time, effort and passion put in by everyone for this event.

Hopefully, this event met people’s expectations and provided an opportunity to learn, meet and interact with other documentarians in a growing community.

Here is a quick recap of the event, along with the feedback received from attendees and speakers. We encourage you to keep in touch and continue support and build this community.

Summary of events

Writing (Half) Day

The first half of the day was dedicated to a documentation sprint, with attendees contributing to one of the 5 open source projects that were pitched on the day. Attendees could choose from Dart, Kubernetes, ReactiveUI, WebPact or Cyrus mail. Sarah Maddox had blogged about the Doc sprint experience here: https://ffeathers.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/doc-sprint-at-write-the-docs-day-australia/


The afternoon schedule consisted of 5 awesome presentations from local, interstate and international speakers.

Margaret Fero gave us a very succinct talk on things to consider while creating and delivering documentation for a variety of use cases.

Video: Delivering Documents For All Three Use Cases

Chris Ward spoke about the increasing popularity of bots and what this could mean for writers, especially working with conversational interfaces.

Video: Conversational UI for Writers

Laura Bailey demonstrated the process she adopts before writing anything, be it technical documentation or presentations.

Video: How I decided to do this talk

Nicola Nye’s technical talk focused around Sphinx to generate docs across multiple formats.

Video: Writing extensions in Sphinx: supercharge your docs

Lastly, Brice Fallon spoke about how documentarians can practice minimalism in their content.

Video: Peanuts and Minimalism and Technical Writing

Social event

The social event was pay-your-own drinks and dinner at a popular cafe at South Wharf alongside Melbourne CBD.


During the event, we received a number of comments on the organisation of the event, including the quality of presentations, networking opportunities and affordable cost of attending the event. The inclusion of tea/coffee and swag (t-shirts and stickers) was appreciated.

The choice of venue and selecting a professional videographer to record presentations were some other things people appreciated.

After the event, we emailed the attendees and asked for specific feedback on the event.

A few suggestions, in no particular order:

  • Schedule the doc sprint after the presentations.
  • Include more presentations if possible.
  • Increase the duration of the doc sprint so that the attendees can get more time to familiarise themselves with the project/product.
  • Pitch the documentation sprint projects in advance (before the actual documentation sprint) to allow attendees to prepare
  • Organise the social event closer to the conference venue.

We appreciate all your feedback, and strive to take this on board and evolve our events to make everyone’s experience a happier one.


As an organiser, some of the feedback aligned with my own expectations. This are some of the things I made a note of:

What worked

The venue - It was not centrally located, but wasn’t that difficult to get to either. The meeting hall was adequate for our attendee numbers.

Tea/coffee arrangements - The walk to the nearest coffee shop was an interesting concept as it allowed to break the pace and opportunities to chat with other attendees.


Event website: A few people commented that the website content wasn’t clear and needed more information.

Lunch and dinner arrangements: There was some confusion on usage of terms around lunch and dinner arrangements.

Write the Docs Australia

Write the Docs Australia meetups have been successfully running since July 2016 and we have had 13 meetup events so far across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide.

We will continue to organise events across Australia and will love to get you involved, attending, speaking or volunteering at future events.

You can get in touch with us via australia@writethedocs.org or subscribe for future events at: https://www.meetup.com/Write-The-Docs-Australia


The Write the Docs Slack has really grown this last year. Our Slack channels have been extra busy in the days and weeks leading up to the conference, and we hope that y’all continue the conversations throughout the year. If you haven’t joined, head on over and join us.

2018 conferences

It’s early days and we are working on a bigger and better version of Write the Docs Australia conference for 2018. Date, venue and call for proposals will be released early next year.

In the meantime, save the dates for our US and EU next year:

  • Portland conference, 6-8 May 2018
  • Prague conference, 9-11 September 2018

If you are curious about sponsoring any Write the Docs event, please contact us at sponsorship@writethedocs.org.

A final thank you

This Australian event was possible because folks like you make it a great experience. Thanks for making our first Australian event memorable! We hope to see you back again next year, or even sooner at one of our other conferences or community events.

Join us now!

Submit a talk!


Buy a ticket!