User Centred Documentation

I bring an excerpt of this article to you courtesy of Tom Johnson, as I think it brings to you opinions from other technical writers around the world to help expose new trends and also supports my own documentation framework approach. You may view the original article here.

Origins of user-centred documentation

User-centred documentation stems from user-centred design. With user-centred design, designers usually study their users in depth as they design products. Designers may do any of the following to get a better understanding of users:

  • Observe users in their own environment
  • Do task analysis to define the steps users take
  • Storyboard user workflows and goals
  • Do A/B testing with prototypes
  • Create personas that represent typical users
  • Gather feedback in usability labs, and more

The goal of user-centred design is to create a product that users love. Continue reading “User Centred Documentation”

Why User Documentation Is Important

I bring this article to you courtesy of Scott Cooley, as I think it brings to you opinions from other technical writers around the world to help expose new trends and better thinking to the realm of User Documentation. You may view the original article here.

In previous blog posts, we’ve written a lot about the courses available in Deque University, but did you know Deque U is also the home of our product documentation?  These include comprehensive reference materials about our products, including user guides, quick reference guides, and automated rule information and remediation advice.  In fact, this user documentation often serves as the basis of much of the product training we do in order to ensure that everyone who uses our products is using them efficiently. In this post, we’re going to cover the importance of sections like the product resources side of Deque University. This part of Deque hasn’t been highlighted as much as our course offering, but it’s no less relevant.  That’s because the right product training is a huge part of cultivating self-sufficiency in web accessibility. Continue reading “Why User Documentation Is Important”

Why agile teams should care about documentation

I bring an excerpt of this article to you courtesy of Tom Thompson, as I think it brings to you opinions from other technical writers around the world to help expose new trends. You may view the original article here.

You don’t do documentation, so why should you care about it? How about missed deadlines, buggy code, and unhappy users?

Believe it or not, an agile approach to documentation can address all these problems—but only if the whole agile team is on board. Here’s why everyone should care about documentation and how to do documentation right. Continue reading “Why agile teams should care about documentation”

The DocOps Trend

The DocOps Trend: Applying Agile and DevOps to Technical Documentation

I bring an excerpt of this article to you courtesy of , as I think it brings to you methods and experiences from other technical writers around the world. You may view the original article here.

The advances and benefits in Agile programming and Agile project management are making headlines and grabbing a lot of attention these days. But what about technical documentation? Continue reading “The DocOps Trend”

Deepening documentation’s value by simplifying complexity

Value arguments for docs and tech comm

I bring an excerpt of this article to you courtesy of Tom Johnson, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

SUMMARY: Technical writers can also deepen the value of the documentation they create by focusing on areas of complexity to users. Complexity not only involves articulating the “string theory” parts of a system but also formulating the content in a way that users, regardless of their level, can understand. The task of simplifying complexity can only be achieved by leveraging many perspectives across groups; thus, focusing on simplifying complexity will also achieve goals around enabling information flow and improving the customer experience.

Continue reading “Deepening documentation’s value by simplifying complexity”

How out-of-date documentation can cost you

As usual, I bring this article to you courtesy of JACQUIE SAMUELS, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

Documentation is (sadly but understandably) often the last push in the great effort to get a product out the door and into the hands of your customers. Because it’s the last thing on a long list of release requirements, it sometimes gets downsized in effort or time or neglected completely. At the heart of the matter, companies feel like shirking on their documentation deliverables is a possible solution to time and budget crunches. They feel this way because they consider documentation as an add-on to the product, an extra bit of service provided to customers but not an essential component of the product itself.

 

Guess what: That’s not how customers see it.

Continue reading “How out-of-date documentation can cost you”

16 Reasons Why Your Users Do Not Read User Documentation

I bring this article to you courtesy of Dennis Crane, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

 

Nobody reads help files!

Are you sure?

In the ten years that we’ve been developing Dr.Explain, a leading-edge tool for creating help files, we saw hundreds of our customers’ projects. Our technical support team mostly receives user documentation for software products with requests to help implement some tricks. When talking with our customers, we ask them all kinds of questions about their projects, business areas, products, and audiences.
Based on that experience, we can draw a lot of conclusions, including this one: Users do read user documentation. In many cases, users frequently consult with such documentation. In some projects, it is a vital component of the product or services.

However, sometimes people do not use user documentation. In most cases, the reasons are as follows.

Continue reading “16 Reasons Why Your Users Do Not Read User Documentation”

The changing nature of content

I bring this article to you courtesy of Ellis Pratt, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

Technology has changed enormously over the last 70 years. But have technical communication standards kept up sufficiently to reflect these changes? It appears that some of the most successful software companies are breaking generally accepted best practice in technical writing – a trend that clearly should get us thinking.

If you were going back in time twenty or twenty five years and found yourself in a classroom learning about technical writing, you’d probably find it was almost identical to classes on this subject offered today. Technical communicators tend to assume that technical communication best practices, which have been taught for the past 25 years, and even further back in time, are still appropriate today.

Continue reading “The changing nature of content”