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”

Great documentation saves money

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.


Let’s get back to the basics for a moment. Technical documentation has many diverse drivers, but ultimately, it all strives to perform one function: assist users so they can do what they want to do with the product. Sometimes they already know what they want to do, other times the documentation helps educate them.

Continue reading “Great documentation saves money”

What is Rapid e-Learning?

There are plenty of definitions regarding Rapid e-Learning. A lot of them are variations of strange theories. But, I have only one definition:

“Rapid e-Learning is the development of learning courseware within a short timeline, which is achieved using basic templates which form a static framework and contains the learning content.”

This implies that not much time is spent on creating complex and pretty animations and interactions. There is debate aplenty in e-learning circles and many people may consider e-learning not valid unless it has a high level of interactivity, pulsing text and images and other bells and whistles, such as nonsensical games.  Anything less may be considered as boring click-and-read material. All this just adds extra time (lots of it) and extra expense.

It is easy to disguise poor instructional design with slick effects and animations.  However, a lot of this stuff  is neither necessary or effective and I believe all these repetitive flying, flashing texts and images can trigger extreme irritation.

The QA of Product Design

I bring this article to you courtesy of Gryphon Mountain Journals, as I think it adds enormous pertinence to what I do. You may view the original article here.

Technical Communication: The QA of Product Design

Friday, August 13th, 2010

In our ongoing department reorganization, we technical writers are experiencing some angst as we carve out a desirable place for ourselves. However, as we’ve talked about it as a community of practice (no longer as an organized team with our own manager), I think we’re coming to an agreement that now is the time to make things happen—to strike, as Tom likes to say.

Continue reading “The QA of Product Design”