Software documentation isn’t just a collection of books and files that no one reads. It can be a powerful tool to generate sales and to improve customer satisfaction, as this article points out. The fact that the article appears in a publication aimed at software executives is telling.
DMN Communications can help you develop documentation and collateral that will not only keep your customers satisfied but also give them the knowledge to do more on their own. And that means a potential drop in support time and costs.
You’d think this was common sense, but seeing as how common sense isn’t always as common as we’d like to believe, there’s the Technical Writer’s Checklist. Billed as “the guide to accurate writing”, it’s a two-volume set that outlines all the steps, from beginning to end, that will help you craft better documentation.
For all of you new to the field, you’re probably experiencing what most new technical writers experience – a lack of respect. Perhaps you’ve heard some of the following phrases while working desperately to crank out that seemingly never ending manual:
Get the tech writer to take meeting minutes. Maybe the tech writer can fix this printer. Our software does not run on grammar. Can you type this memo for me?
I’m sure other seasoned writers can attest to even more outrageous comments and demands than these. Commanding respect as a technical writer does not happen overnight. You will never be seen as an equal in the development organization, even at the most doc progressive companies out there, so you may as well forget about that right now. But there are some things that you can do to boost your stature around the old cube farm. Here are our top 5:
Several years ago, I wrote about how XML will change the way tech writers author documentation. Now, with the growing adoption of DocBook and DITA (here, too), that concept is starting to become a reality.
Today is world usability day, the day content development professionals salute those who make our life easier by designing logical, intuitive, and focused user interfaces for increasingly complex applications.
User experience is a hot buzzword right now in technical communications as we often find ourselves not only authoring the content but also co-operating in the usability strategy. Providing guidance on interface text, appropriate controls, and help design strategies are examples of how information development professionals are involved in heightening the user experience.
So go ahead and take a few minutes to thank your usability team – if you’re lucky enough to have one.