Ideas for quality content (summary + video)

Here in Lviv, we were lucky to invite Patrick Keegan, Principal User Assistance Developer at Oracle, and enjoy his talk “Free your mind! And your docs will follow”. It took me some time to digest the whirling ideas and grasp the insights.

In this post, I would like to share two approaches Patrick discussed during his presentation and how I plan to adopt them in my routine as an Information Developer.

Here we go.

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Storytelling techniques for product documentation

Is storytelling the same as writing well? How to write a concise yet interesting API guide? Is there a way to keep a help system offhand and casual without using humor? All this and much more in my presentation!

Documentation as a prerequisite for successful CSIS

Complex System of Information Security (CSIS) comprises a set of organizational and technical measures aimed to ensure the protection of information circulating in the system from disclosure, leakage, and unauthorized access (c).

If your company is implementing the CSIS, it’s in for reinforced credibility and boosted sales. And you as a Technical Communicator are in for a bumpy ride. 😊

Let’s take a look at a grueling journey of meticulously described processes, roadmaps, and guidelines that need to accompany every stage of the System development.

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User experience in restaurants or keep your users in mind even at leisure time

Believe it or not, but an InfoDev at work is an InfoDev for life. As Information Developers, we perceive the world from the users’ perspective always questioning ourselves: “Is it clear enough? Can a procedure be shorter? Will that be understood globally?”
Sometimes, before you know it, you find yourself evaluating the user assistance in a 5-star hotel, scrutinizing an airport sign or a restaurant menu, and hunting for the ambiguous, the ineffective, and the incomprehensible with the noble intent to make a user experience smoother.

In this article, I will share my experience of reading the icons in a menu at one of the restaurants.

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Microsoft Writing Style Guide 2018: Procedures and formatting highlights

In 2018, we devoted several  posts to the latest writing style guide from Microsoft:

Yet, Microsoft guidelines is the topic one can talk about endlesly, isn’t it? 🙂 This time, I decided to focus on a few aspects of procedure writing and formatting that grabbed my attention most.

Grab your favorite drink, turn up the sound, and don’t miss the quiz at the end of the video!

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Here’s a sneak peek at the video highlights:

  • Use device-neutral verbs.

Users may interact with your product using various devices and input methods.

  • Minimize UI terminology (menu, tab, box, and similar.).

Fewer words make actions more clear. Compare these: “From the File menu, select the New option” and “Go to File > New”.

  • Mind the look and feel of your text.

Proper combination of font size, line spacing, and capitalization makes your text more scannable and easy to follow. Microsoft provides specific formatting advice to get you started.

Do you use these guidelines in your docs and did they make a difference for you? Let us know in the comments!

UX copywriting series. Dropbox feature descriptions

No matter what you’re writing—whether it’s a small tooltip or a long web article—you need to thoroughly check your writing before you publish it.

Good writing is not just about spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, though we definitely need to keep them in mind at all times, among like… a million other things.

During UI text review, InfoDevs point out things that non-professional writers would never think to think about. Today, I’d like to talk about the most typical things that we stumble upon during the UI text review.

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Brace yourselves – it’s going to be a long article but a 100% practical one and so worth a read! We’re going to discuss 6 reasons why Dropbox feature descriptions did not pass our UI text review.
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Linear User Guide: Is It any Good?

Many believe that written user guides are doomed to extinction. Although their usage has diminished slightly, they are not clean gone yet. They are still with us—serving their particular audience and making us wonder what is the best approach to structuring them.

With the rise in the popularity of online documentation, many have ditched linearity and adopted a topic-based approach to writing—faster, more convenient, and definitely more efficient from the user perspective; absolutely challenging from the author perspective. But is such an approach still any good for structuring user guides which, unlike help systems, don’t provide immediate assistance to the user, differ in the very context of use, and are designed with a clear intention—to teach and guide?

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