Sustainable Content for Software Documentation Powered by Simplified Technical English (STE)
As a technical communicator, how often do you struggle to translate complex ideas into brilliant content? Is this the result of a highly diversified documentation team? Or do your subject matter experts waste too much time churning out ineffective documentation?
How can you simplify technical subjects to straightforward ideas that are accompanied by a few long overdue ‘aha’ moments?
It is widely accepted that sustainable content makes for a strong and positive impact, especially when implemented over a period of time. Substantial cost-savings in human and machine translations are easily achieved by simplifying your technical English content. This is because when sentences are simpler and less ambiguous, they become easier and less expensive to translate.
What qualifies as sustainable content and how does STE drive this change towards efficient content management, re-use, and ultimately self-driven workflow processes?
With over 15 years of experience working with software documentation writers who wish to become proficient in the STE language standard, we find that many readers and users of their existing documentation get confused at times when information is not being conveyed in a very clear, easy-to-understand manner, and language can be a reason.
This presentation will demonstrate how industry best practices based on STE principles are used for standardising the English language of your technical content. Thanks to this standardisation, a number of benefits towards sustainability can be achieved:
- A robust industry-specific terminology
- Leaner translation memories to facilitate re-use
- Technical accuracy.
Let's bring science into technical writing
Lately, there was a discussion in the tech writing community about a scientific basis for technical writing.
For instance, developers have computer science which includes algorithms, theory of computation, information theory, and automation, marketing managers have an economic theory and behavioral theory at their disposal. Therefore, technical writers suffer from imposter syndrome because our expertise is based on practice, not formal theory. But it would be misleading to believe that technical writing has no scientific basis.
In this talk, I want to go through the main theoretical basics of technical writing (cognitive science, psychology, andragogy, rationality and system thinking, statistics, information design, and visual literacy) and let us all see the bits of it in our day-to-day tasks. So that everyone can tell "You know, I am something of a scientist myself".
I will draw a technical communication lifecycle and we go through each stage together searching for scientific basements and applied theory.
Interviewing a Technical Writer Candidate
Ever since I joined the Tech Industry I have always and always been on the other side of the interviews; interviewee. For the first time in my career, I got the opportunity to interview a candidate. The recruitment and interviewing process is a tense situation, not only for the interviewee but also for the interviewer.
Even though I was pretty anxious but at the same time excited, I prepared myself to be the best interviewer possible. So that I can help my organization to pick the most suitable candidate using my tech and soft skills. I did a thorough research before interviewing my future teammate and want to share a few tips, specially for a first-time Tech Writer Interviewer.
Chaos to contained: How a content project can lead to better content BAU
Some content roles are straightforward and let us hit the ground running. Other jobs are like arriving on a planet that has never heard of content or docs. This is the story of how - as the first tech writer in the business - I brought the chaos under control, restructured a knowledge base, filled in the content gaps, and made the business take ownership of the docs.
In this talk I’ll share the methods and approach I used in workshops, the kinds of conversations I had, and the stakeholders that I reached. To finish off, I’ll talk about the challenges that remain, the lessons learned and the side effects of leaving a business wanting more.
Optimizing SEO for Technical Documentation
Technical Documentation can leave a major footprint on the web, sometimes consisting of dozens if not hundreds of pages of content. This footprint plays a major role in the discovery, usage, and developer satisfaction of platforms or products. So why then does documentation tend to be so unoptimized for searchability? In this talk, we'll explore the role SEO plays in helping developers find the documentation they need, using real-world examples from Dolby's own developer platform Dolby.io. Additionally, we'll highlight some of the tools we built and tips we learned, improving and growing docs.dolby.io's online presence.
Knowledge Experience for a PLG Strategy
Product-led Growth (PLG) is a go-to-market strategy being adopted by a growing number of SaaS companies. PLG is based on generating sales from customers using the product and succeeding with as little interaction with sales and field teams as possible. A pillar of implementing a PLG strategy is enabling users to onboard and succeed in the product as quickly and easily as possible. This positions Knowledge Experience as a leading pillar in the overall growth and success of a company.
How customer journey mapping can improve your docs and customer experience.
As a college student, I focused more on learning and writing code. I never imagined I would land three internships as a Technical Writer. Everything happened naturally when I began my journey with the Fedora organisation as an open-source contributor for the Fedora Magazine Community. In this chat, I aim to introduce you to the step-by-step process of customer journey mapping and share my internship experiences. It never occurred to me that journey mapping could accomplish such amazing things. Usually, user experience engineers conduct the majority of journey mapping. As a writer, when it's your turn to identify flaws, improve, or update your documents, it's the best way to go. As I have experienced it, I will describe the following:
The benefits of conducting a Journey Mapping workshop.Who should be involved in the workshop?A list of mistakes to avoid.Asking for feedback from customers: how to do it.A few style guides for documentation.
Happy Contributors, High Standards: pick two! Balancing quality and community in open source documentation
You’ve followed all the advice on community motivation and recruitment strategies and you now have a vibrant community of volunteers actively contributing to your open source documentation project. Fantastic!
At the same time, you have to wrangle an unpredictable, at-will, motley crew of amateur technical writers who don’t always produce the quality of documentation you want to present to the world. How do you keep your community hyped without lowering your standards?
Sarah will share some of the strategies she uses to get the best out of Astro’s community-driven, open source documentation: from how to address the dreaded “unsolicited PR” to tips for establishing a culture and process that improves submissions before they ever reach your inbox. She describes how “settling for less” can actually give you more, by cultivating an attitude of #NWTWWHB (“not worse than what we had before”).
Hack the Docs: how security professionals use documentation
We write documentation to help our colleagues and users find their way through our systems - but your carefully-crafted documentation can also help attackers learn what your systems do, and give them unintentional pointers on where to start breaking it.
In this session, we’ll discuss the common things that go wrong in docs from a security perspective, from giving away too much to giving away too little, and the kinds of harm erroneous docs can do; what “secure” documentation looks like; and how security professionals themselves can improve their work through documentation development.