Welcome

Karen Rempel, New York Technical Writer and Editor
Karen Rempel, New York, NY – Manhattan, NYC Technical Writer and Editor

Hi, I’m Karen Rempel, a New York-based documentation specialist, senior technical writer, and experienced technical editor. This is my website for showcasing my technical writing experience and helping you get to know me a little. To discuss how I can create great documentation for your next project, please call me at 347.353.9725 or send an email to kyr@karenrempel.com.

Technical Writer with Experience and Extraordinary Ability

I have been producing top-notch technical documentation for over 20 years. I’ve served my profession, the Society for Technical Communication, as both Chapter President and International Competition Judging Manager. I’ve won technical writing awards at both the national and international levels, and have been recognized for my extraordinary ability in this profession.

I have a passion for technical writing and all the related tasks that support bridging the gap between users and technology. I specialize in taking on tough technical project challenges and then turning over an easy-to-update system for my clients to maintain.

Whether your project is big or small, I’d love to discuss how I can help you solve your documentation challenges. Contact me at  347.353.9725 or send an email to kyr@karenrempel.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

International Consultant

I am located in Manhattan, NYC, NY, and work as an incorporated consultant on a C2C basis. If you need a local New York, NY technical writer, I am available to work on site anywhere in the five boroughs if this suits your project needs. I also work on site as needed for clients in Jersey City and Hoboken, NJ. I typically work via telecommuting for my clients around the globe, and maintain a Vancouver telephone line for my Canadian clients.

Technical Writing Recommendations

“Karen is an excellent technical writer and has a great ability to take a high-level approach and translate it to tangible, detailed steps. Her work ethic and quick ability to understand and document requirements is fantastic. She also has a keen eye for the usability of the target system and a strong understanding of what the business needs.”

Christopher Fay, Executive Director, JP Morgan, New York City

“Karen is fantastic with everyone she works with, an important skill for capturing the input of a large team.

I would not hesitate to use Karen’s services again. She was instrumental in making this project a success and is a true professional in her field.”

Brian Harrington, Capital Projects Lead, Chevron Canada

“Karen has worked on a Delivery Standardization Handbook for Sysco Canada and has provided outstanding technical writing services. Her ability to provide technical direction on the project was superb; she was further able to quickly integrate as a team member on the project and was able to quickly gain trust with the project committee. We are extremely satisfied with her work and contribution and will look to engaging her service for future projects.”

Jon Tuttle, Vice President Standard Operating Excellence, Sysco Canada

“Karen’s attention to detail, professionalism, and quick turnaround times were much appreciated in our project. Her expertise and enthusiasm in using MadCap Flare was evident and the detailed training documentation she provided will ensure our success going forward. It was a real pleasure to work with Karen! Thank you!”

Karin Dyck, HR Analyst, BC Hydro

For more reviews of my work, please see Recommendations.

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New York, NY Technical Writer and Web Content Developer designs Etsy store

Krystyna's Place Etsy StoreI worked a part-time job at Krystyna’s Place on Cornelia St. in New York this summer. I wanted to connect with people on the streets of New York, as a way of solidifying my transition from Vancouver to New York. I opened and closed the store, served customers, dressed the windows, and created an online store for Krystyna’s Place on Etsy. This web content development project entailed creating all the visual and design elements for the store, including a logo and header. I photographed 30 pieces that Krystyna had selected, measured them, wrote descriptions, and fell in love with the clothes!

This was the ideal summer job, allowing me to bring together my technical writing, photography, and design skills into a practical, hands-on situation with New York people and fashion. Now I can add fashion to the list of industries I’ve written for. For a fuller account, see my Wild Visions site.

New York, NY Technical Writer of Extraordinary Ability

Visa 2I fell in love with New York City (NYC) on my first visit in October, 2014, and moved here from Vancouver in 2017. I petitioned for immigration to the US on my own behalf (without a sponsor or employer), on the basis of being an Alien of Extraordinary Ability (I love that title!) in my field of work, technical writing. The photo above shows my initial application, which was 450 pages long and weighed 8 pounds. Note the patriotic red-white-and-blue color scheme.

I made the decision to immigrate in March 2016, and submitted my application on July 4 of 2016. My application was approved in late December. Super fast! Being accepted for immigration to the United States is a wonderful privilege, and many people helped me by writing letters on my behalf for the application. Thank you all!

Visa 3From the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website, this is the requirement for the EB-1 employment-based immigration category:

“You must be able to demonstrate extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics through sustained national or international acclaim. Your achievements must be recognized in your field through extensive documentation. No offer of employment is required.

“You must meet 3 of 10 criteria, or provide evidence of a one-time achievement (i.e., Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal).”

I was able to provide documentation that showed I met not 3 but 8 of the 10 criteria, both in the first submission and in this second submission that provided additional evidence (350 pages, 5 pounds):

RFEThis was a rare opportunity to turn my technical writing skills to the task of preparing an immigration petition on my own behalf, and I was accepted as a permanent US resident on this basis. This means the US government considers my technical writing accomplishments to be equivalent to winning an Oscar or an Olympic medal. If you need a rock star technical writer to perform extraordinary technical writing and editing for you, you know who to call!

And if you need assistance preparing your own Alien of Extraordinary Ability application, I can certainly help you with that.

New York, NY Technical Writer Running for Team for Kids

New York NY Technical Writer After the Marathon!I had a blast last November running in the New York marathon. I exceeded my fund-raising goal for Harlem United, with the help of many generous friends, clients, family members, and colleagues. Together we raised over $3,000! And I ran in memory of David Bowie, which added another special element to the day and made the crowd interaction along the race course even more fun.

Bowie in blue suitI had such a great time that I am running in New York Road Runners’ 9 + 1. That’s 9 races and one volunteer shift in 2017 to qualify for the New York Marathon 2018. I’ll be running a crazy 5 races in June! This will include one in a mini-skirt, a retro run in old-school track clothes, a pride run, a dash through the Bronx, and a special race in Queens where I’ll be raising funds for Team for Kids.

I am thrilled for this chance to support kids to learn the love of running. Something that will last their whole lives and lead to life-long health and fitness. If you’d like to make a donation of $5 or more to Team for Kids, please visit my fund-raising page.

BTW, I just ran in the Central Park Classic 10K last weekend, and the oldest runner, an 82-year old New Yorker named George Hirsch, ran faster than me! So you see, it really is possible to run for a lifetime, for those of us who are lucky.

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New York, NY Technical Writer running in New York Marathon to raise funds for Harlem United

Vancouver technical writer racing in the Scotiabank half marathon, 2008
New York technical writer racing in a half marathon in 2008, leading up to the NY Marathon of 2016!

I have exciting news. As many of you know, I love running, especially on the awe-inspiring trails in Vancouver. To me, running provides a great balance to working as a technical writer at my computer. Much as I love working on projects for my clients, it can take a physical toll to spend too many hours at my desk, so I try to balance it out by running four times a week.

Now I have a great motivation to hit the trail at the end of the work day! I will be running in the New York Marathon on November 6, 2016 to raise money for Harlem United. My goal is to raise $3,000 for this fantastic organization that helps Harlem community members by providing access to health care, resources, and education about AIDS and HIV. They provide quality HIV prevention, housing, and care services in a safe and nurturing environment to unite Harlem’s diverse communities and address the needs of all people living with and threatened by HIV/AIDS.

I’m asking all my friends, family, clients, and colleagues to help support the amazing work that Harlem United does, and cheer me on in my dream of running the New York Marathon.

If you can help, please visit my donor page. You can sponsor me by:

  • Mile ($26 for the 26.2 miles of the marathon)
  • Kilometre ($42 for the 42 kilometres of the race)
  • Meal ($100 to buy a group lunch for LGBT youth at risk for contracting HIV)
  • Or pick your own amount!

Here is an inspirational video on YouTube about the impact Harlem United has made in helping people who had no hope.

I’ve been wanting to run in the New York Marathon for 20 years, since I first began running in 1996. It’s the largest marathon in the world (yikes!) and goes through all five boroughs of New York City. This will be my first full marathon, though I’ve run ten half marathons. I’m thrilled to finally run this race and to raise money for Harlem United.

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New York, NY Technical Writer creates art video project Another New York Love Affair

Although my first passion is technical writing, recently I’ve been developing video skills as well. I am excited to share Another New York Love Affair #25 with you:

I took this footage of the “Sterling Cooper” building in my final week in New York, at the end of March. At the time I was midway through watching Mad Men on Netflix, and in love with the cast of characters. Also in love with New York, and the beautiful strangeness of Madison Avenue. Enjoy!

I am aiming for 100 over the next three years.

New York Technical Writer teaches Instructional Design for Smartphones

SmombiesTHEY’RE UBIQUITOUS. People—especially technical writers—love their smartphones the world over, from Vancouver to New York, and the smombies are among us! Yes, the smartphone zombies are among us! You’ve seen them—people walking slowly, looking down at their phones, oblivious to their surroundings, possibly risking an accident—an increasingly common social phenomenon.

To smombies, the content on their phones seems more interesting than real life. I did a one-minute video of a New York subway platform, and almost everyone on the platform was looking at their phones while waiting for the train. The situation is becoming extreme. But I understand, because I’m addicted to my smartphone, too! It seems like fun, not work, to learn on a smartphone instead of a computer. So how can we use this technology to teach?

The idea is to design short training pieces that can be delivered via your app or website. Keep the training sessions to 10 minutes or less. Make the training tasks interactive, so people can use the fun features of their smartphones. Deliver some of your content using video—people just love watching video!

Instructional Video Design Tips

Here are some tips for designing effective videos for learning:

  • Include a title slide for orientation
  • Use high resolution (1080P HD)
  • Include still pictures—both iconic (resembling
    real objects) and analytic (symbolizing objects
    or states)
  • Include short on-screen texts—labels, call-outs,
    short text slides
  • Facilitate closed captions and subtitling—create
    your own or use YouTube’s automated features
  • Include background music
  • Eliminate unpleasant background noise (electronic
    hums, static, and so on)
  • Use a speaking rate of 180 words per minute
    (faster is more popular than slower)

These 8 tips adapted from Petra ten Hove and Hans van der Meij’s research (2015).

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New York Technical Writer judges STC 2016 International Summit Awards

I was honoured to participate in the prestigious Society for Technical Communication (STC) International Summit Awards (ISA) in two different roles this year. I served as both ISA Competition Judging Manager and as a judge. This meant I had the chance to view an exciting showcase of the top work in the field of technical writing.

The winning entries demonstrated exceptional technical writing clarity, organization, and delivery, with a strong focus on meeting the needs of the end user. The winning entries’ communication delivery methods displayed both brilliance and beauty, with innovative video and voice narration, breath-taking print artwork, and game-changing web-based delivery methods. I felt inspired to see the fantastic work that other technical writers are doing, and look forward to seeing further innovations next year.

Who Can Enter?

The ISA competition is open to entrants who have won a Distinguished or Excellence award at the chapter or regional level. Technical writers do not have to be a member of the STC to enter STC competitions. This year we had entries from North America, Europe, and Israel.

Highlights – Video and Judges

One of the highlights was viewing the video entries. I am very interested in the ways that video can be used to deliver and enhance technical communication. I developed a new set of criteria for judging videos, and will be helping to revise the judging forms for future competitions.

Another highlight was managing a team of 20 experienced and committed judges. I met new technical writers from across Canada and the US, and had the opportunity to both coach and learn as we worked together. In order to meet a very tight deadline, my amazing team judged 34 entries in just over a week. Well done, everyone!

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New York Technical Writer’s Information Interview Service sweeps across the continent

STC Pacesetter AwardI’ve written previously about the Information Interview Service that I created for the STC’s Canada West Coast chapter. Our chapter won a Pacesetter Award for this service, which pairs aspiring technical writers with experienced technical writers. I published an article about this service in Intercom, the professional technical writing journal of the STC, and both the New York Metro chapter and the Chicago chapter implemented similar services. So now if you would like to talk to a senior technical writer about what is involved in joining our technical writing profession, you have three choices:

BTW, the New York Metro chapter also won a Pacesetter Award for their Talk to a Professional service, and the Chicago chapter won a Pacesetter Award the year they implemented their service as well. I am delighted that my idea bore such wonderful fruit for technical writers across the continent!

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New York Technical Writer converts to Twenty Sixteen

Google Analytics for WebsiteYou might notice my top-ranking Vancouver technical writer site looks a little different today. I updated to the WordPress twentysixteen theme. You may recall I gave an enthusiastic shout-out to WordPress last May, when I updated my site to use the twentyfifteen theme. I still think WordPress is awesome, and it would appear that website builders the world over agree with me. As of today’s date (February 6, 2016), 59.1% of websites in the world use WordPress, according to W3Techs.

It was a snap to make the change, taking about 2 hours total to select the theme, install it, create a few graphics in the right size, and make a few minor formatting tweaks. I added my own copyright information to the footer, customized the link font colour, and changed the font size for the tags in the left column. This is an amazing accomplishment (on the part of their coders to make the task so easy), and I am very appreciative of the service that WordPress provides for free to the world computing community.

I made these changes using a combination of the user-friendly WordPress editing platform and direct coding in the .php and .css files.

While I was at it, I took a look at my Google Analytics for the site. I thought it would be fun to compare the stats from the past month to the stats I reported in May 2015:

Device May 2015 Feb 2016
Desktop 918 – 92% 936 – 89%
Mobile Phone 70 – 7% 92 – 9%
Tablet 15 – 1% 26 – 2%
Total Visitors 1,003 1,054

The table above shows that the percentage of mobile users has increased slightly. Still, the majority of people who searched for a technical writer used their desktop computer, which makes sense. I imagine people would prefer to do this at work, not while lounging on the beach!

Browser May 2015 Feb 2016
Chrome 729 702
FireFox 115 127
Safari 72 108
Internet Explorer 31 90
Other 56 27
Total Visitors 1,003 1,054

No changes in the browser pecking order either, though the use of Internet Explorer did increase significantly.

I welcome your thoughts on the new site design. Drop me a line!

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