The Power of Empathy in Support Documentation: A 5-Step Guide


The teams behind apps and services are faced with the continuous challenge to create customer support documentation that is understandable and up-to-date at all times. With this challenge in mind this talk offers tips on planning and creating customer support documentation by leveraging the power of empathy at every stage. As a key principle in Design Thinking, empathy can be applied not only to product development but also to creative projects like designing and building a help center.

Although there has been a lot of talk about the importance of setting aside pre-existing assumptions regarding (user) behavior and empathizing with voiced out needs instead when writing support documentation, one important aspect has been largely ignored in the discussion: Planning and executing support documentation projects should be guided by empathy not only towards the users of a product but also towards its creators, developers, and support agents. By considering all relevant perspectives at all stages of writing documentation, support teams can create state-of-the-art help centers that serve their purpose in all relevant use cases, from answering customer questions to on-boarding new team members.

While building a help center alone is a big project that requires creativity and dedication, the importance of maintaining its efficiency and accuracy as an ongoing task is not always given the attention it deserves in Support teams. By choosing to approach such projects with an iterative mindset, writers can continuously improve their documentation in response to incoming feedback and relevant user data.

The tips offered in this talk aim to help writers and teams to apply empathy and iteration to their documentation projects as a way to improve not only the quality of the end product but also the writers’ satisfaction with their work in a sustainable manner.

  • Conference: Write the Docs PRAGUE
  • Year: 2019

About the speaker

Plamena Maleva