Cognitive Ergonomics in Technical Writing - Lessons from the Field




Trying to explain bleeding edge, complex technology in a way that is useful and comprehensible is challenging for a number of reasons:

  1. Naming, Terminology & Mental Models- Terminology - words as symbols, words as signs pointing to concepts. Should we create new terminology to explain ‘new’ or ‘novel’ concepts and technology? Or should we borrow from existing terminology and repurpose words to point to new new concepts and technology? If we do the former, then how does this new terminology impact on our audience’s comprehension of what we are trying to say? If we do the latter, then how do we resolve tensions between the meaning of existing terminologies and the mental models they represent.

    What are the practical ways we can support the creation of new mental models to aid understanding?

  2. Fast and Slow Thinking - Kahnemann - how do we apply Kahnemann’s principles to Technical Writing We know people don’t want to think, we know they prefer heuristics that are often biased to process information. Yet as Technical writers, we have to convey complex information that may require this less preferred deep thinking.

    What are the practical ways we can resolve this tension and support people to comprehend complexity easily.

  3. Culture and Behaviour Change Do you ever feel like you’re wading through mud. The docs aren’t getting written, you’re overwhelmed and a new release is coming out. Why culture matters and what it is? What is culture clash? How do we discover cultural indicators and work with them to promote an effective docs-first culture?

  • Conference: Write the Docs Prague
  • Year: 2021

About the speaker

Anita Diamond