Alexandra White

Information & Communications Technology

Documentation technical writing Technology Diverse Backgrounds Into Tech tech Diversity in Technology Technology in the classroom technical editing Technical Communication Communication Empowering Communities Team Communication Community Engagement Effective Communication Developer Communities

New York City, New York, United States

Alexandra White

Technical Writer at Google

Alexandra is a technical writer for Google Ad Manager. In this role, she focuses on writing help center documentation for publishers. Prior to Google, she was a technical writer for Joyent, a web developer for WNET/PBS, and a digital marketer for JCC Association.

Alexandra has a bachelor’s degree in professional writing with an emphasis in digital and technical writing from Michigan State University.

Current sessions

Moving beyond empathy: a11y in product development

Accessibility is a crucial part of product creation. Every team member, from product managers and UX designers to engineers and technical writers, must have at least a basic understanding of what accessibility means for their role in product development. While there is a general understanding of some accessibility best practices for building front-end sites, we can and should do better.

Instead of focusing on empathy and why accessibility is important, this talk will focus on how we can actually make change in our work.

In this talk, we’ll discuss:

+ A11y-friendly words
+ User-centric design
+ Semantic HTML vs ARIA
+ Prove it works: automated and manual testing
+ Accessible documentation
+ Advocating for a11y as a priority

You’ll walk away with some easy wins to start making your products better, and some bigger goals to help implement change in your company. After all, accessibility is for everyone.


Technically Speaking: Improve Your Code with Documentation

Well written instructions, informative comments throughout code, clearly scripted screencasts, and smart information architecture can take complex code and make it accessible to new developers. In the age of code sharing, this can be imperative to teaching the next generation of developers, passing along your code to successors, and help you better understand your own work.

When I was an engineer, helpful READMEs and other docs created by my colleagues were crucial to quick onboarding and coming back to old products. Now, as a full time technical writer, I rely on our engineers to be able to concisely explain how products work. From these experiences, I feel it is essential that everyone feel empowered to write documentation, not just the technical writers.

In this talk we’ll discuss:

+ Why writing docs is important for engineers
+ Understanding your audience
+ Optimizing for the deliverable: READMEs, code comments, tutorials, release notes, and more

We’ll also cover some tips for communicating about your past work to your future self.


How to assemble a quality writing portfolio

We’ve all spent a long time trying to decide how to craft the perfect cover letter and resume to apply to new positions. To get a gig as a professional technical writer, we're often expected to present writing samples, too. These samples are the key to showing potential employers that you can concisely explain a process in various mediums.

I went through this process many times while applying for different technical writer positions. From my experience going through the interview process and writing submissions for Google, I learned more about what was expected of a technical writer and how to better position myself as an expert technical communicator.

In this talk we’ll discuss:

+ How to pick the best writing samples for a job application
+ How to approach additional writing prompts and homework
+ Document design and packaging writing for print and the web
+ Empathy for our potential employers, readers of the writing samples

We’ll also touch on how to update your existing work to meet the expectations in the job description.


Past and future events

DeveloperWeek New York 2020

9 Dec - 10 Dec 2020
Brooklyn, New York, United States

O’Reilly Open Source Conference

13 Jul - 16 Jul 2020
Portland, Oregon, United States

Techorama 2020 BE

24 May - 26 May 2020
Antwerpen, Flanders, Belgium

Write The Docs Portland

4 May - 5 May 2020
Portland, Oregon, United States

Build Stuff Ukraine

18 Nov - 20 Nov 2019
Kyiv, Kyiv City, Ukraine

Build Stuff Lithuania

13 Nov - 16 Nov 2019
Vilnius, Lithuania

Evolution of Technical Communication

2 Jul - 4 Jul 2019
Sofia, Sofia-Capital, Bulgaria

KnowledgeConf

25 Apr 2019
Moscow, Russia

Write The Docs

9 Sep - 11 Sep 2018
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Czechia