Imagine that you need to create a mobile help but you have no clue how to start or what to do. No worries, my tips will help you make your first steps on this bumpy journey. ☺
When writing documentation, target audience is one of the first things on mind of an information developer. Audience determines what deliverable to choose, as well as what style and tone to apply to it. Wrong idea of the target audience’s needs may result in total failure of documentation. Therefore, a good information developer should be aware of every possible target user. Having deep knowledge of the product, understanding the aim of the documentation and the audience – their needs, possibilities, desires, and preferences, results in a masterpiece documentation.
So, how do we know what our target user wants? The answer is research! And I did a little research of my own on one of the most fast-growing generations in history. Millennials. So, let’s have a closer look at them and try to do our best to meet their expectations.
What if a Technical Communicator without localization experience was commissioned a localization task? What if they accepted without being familiar with the localization guidelines? What if they failed? There are no definite answers to these questions, but the one, which is for sure certain, is that certain guidelines are to be followed. So, let’s take a look at what major problems and potential pitfalls may come up on the way of a Technical Communicator challenged to complete a task in which they haven’t gained enough experience yet.
I was going to write this post much earlier. However, each time I got down to it, I was either distracted by whatever I saw in my timelines or just seemed not to have enough inspiration to kick-start the process.
Some people call it a creative block, some – a lack of inspiration, others blame laziness or a habit to procrastinate till the very last night before the deadline. No matter what it is, for an information developer such a non-creative state may sound like a nightmare, as we need bright ideas and resourcefulness like a breath of fresh air. But if you happen to feel unproductive at times, there are some tricks which may help you to find your muse again.
Most of us think that movies and comics are the only places where real heroes dwell. We believe that these mysterious guys just come from nowhere to save the day, and then disappear till the next time when everything goes completely wrong.
But that is not how it actually works. Real heroes surround us, and we meet them every day while commuting, working, or even drinking tea at the nearby restaurant.
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!
User documentation that includes different types of graphics is more effective and easier to perceive than monotonous text. A diagram is just one type of graphics that prevails mostly in technical documentation. When creating diagrams on a daily basis, you eventually learn to overcome such difficulties as: vague explanations, inaccurate SMEs’ drawings, abundance of details, or lack of information. As an Information Developer, you must know how to combine these diverse chunks to create consistent graphics in user documentation. In this article, I will discuss some tips on decrypting SME’s drawings to make the process of creating diagrams an interesting and creative experience.