WTD 2018 – Unconference

Last week, I attended a fantastic tech comm conference – Write the Docs Prague 2018. Hosted for the fifth time in the beautiful city of Prague, WTD allowed me to meet, chat, and share the experience with the fellow tech writers, information architects, and information developers from all over the world. Exciting!

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Startups don’t need documentation. Stereotype that can cost you

As a startup owner, you care about early validation, seeing if your idea lives or dies. Saving each penny, proving your concept, getting qualified into the race we call market – documentation is the least of your concerns. Heard that, thought that? Me too, but years in product teams and I learnt better –  information can be the bridge between surviving and  thriving.

There are points in your product lifecycle when information can pave the way to product success. The trick  is to pick the right form of documentation and present the information in the most delicious and digestible way.

My assumptions are: your product is usable and smooth in every possible aspect; it brings something new, caters to different types of users, or solves several problems.

Here we go.

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Content journey: from technical to marketing and social media

Most technical communicators I know can be divided into 2 types.

There are the ones who love creating general About/Welcome sections in their docs and get off on illustrating workflows, business value, etc.

And then, the ones who need a whole cake and then some to coax themselves into writing overviews and designing diagrams. It’s much easier for this type to write instructions about tangible, down-to-earth, even techy stuff.

My friend Viktoria Bezsmolna is the definitive type 1. Still, this free-spirited girl landed in our InfoDev department. But soon enough, she eloped to marketing. And then to PR. Now, she is a freelance writer and has her own blog – yay!

I finally decided to get to the bottom of how this journey worked out for her.

Our 1,5-hour interview was very thought-provoking, and here’s how it all summed up in my head.

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Information Architecture for the World Wide Web

Fellows – Information Developers, Technical Communicators, Information Experts – lend me your ears.
When designing knowledge bases, creating documentation portals, or documenting complex interrelations, one forgotten requirement may result in multiple very memorable working evenings.
Consider this precious advice from Peter Morville and Louis Rosenfeld and always pay heed to these crucial areas.

In short, we need to understand the business goals behind the web site and the resources available for design and implementation. We need to be aware of the nature and volume of content that exists today and how that might change a year from now. And we must learn about the needs and information-seeking behaviors of our major audiences. Good information architecture design is informed by all three areas.

Explore their book Information Architecture for the World Wide Web Peter for more useful tips!

All you need to know about user personas (Part II)

In the previous post, we discussed who user personas are and why they are important for Information Developers, considered key elements that should be included into a persona card, and reviewed a user persona sample card.

In this article, I will provide steps on how to create user personas, share some practical tips, discuss how Information Developer can apply user personas, as well as give references for further reading.

“Personas are a way to give the user a seat at the table every time.” Kendra Shimmell

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All you need to know about user personas

For decades, the concept of user personas has been associated with marketing, advertising, user-centered design, and business analysis. Nowadays, personas are winning the deserved attention of Information Developers worldwide.

Usually, the creation of user personas is initiated by UI/UX designers or business analysts. But what if you do not have any in your team? In my project, I created user personas myself and was surprised how it changed the quality of my content.

Deep understanding of readers is fundamental to creating qualitative and effective content.

In this article, I am going to review and consider user personas from the perspective of an Information Developer.

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