Improving documentation tools and processes for internal users

Dana – Maria Robu, Elise Roscillo

July 2013

Abstract

Both companies, SFR (Second French Telecom Operator) and SNCF (French  National Railway Company), create documentation for internal users (Business Customer Services for SFR, SNCF agents). There are various types of documentation, such as procedures, handling notes, pedagogical sheets at SFR, and guidelines and procedures for corporate use at SNCF. All this documentation is created using templates, but not structured content.
Our work consists in proofreading, correcting the documentation, and publishing it on an internal online repository. Through analyzing the content stored on this repository, we noticed that users who write it are not technical writers. They do not master writing tools or they do not follow any rules set out in the guideline standards. This leads to a lack of coherence and efficiency in writing, difficulty in finding quickly the useful information and in overall a lack of consistency.
In the first part, we will focus on how to improve the existing documentation base through the creation of aid directories, such as user guides, beginner’s guide, webhelp, etc., to ensure the adoption of proposed tools and guidelines, and to get editorial feedback on these practices.
In the second part, as content designers, we will identify directions to enhance the role and importance of the technical writer in both companies. In order to highlight his added value and expertise, we will give highlight to streamline and simplify the writing process.

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How User Experience helps reshape technical documentation

Célia Goiset, Océane Franc

July 2013

Abstract

This article explains how the User eXperience (UX) reshapes technical documentation. The fundamental purpose of this research is to show how users’ expectations have an impact on technical documentation. Indeed, technical writing is not only the presentation of information but also how it is designed to meet users’ needs. The goal of the technical writer is to communicate the information in a clear and effective way so that the documentation audience understands it well and quickly. In this article, we will first explain the importance of user experience practices in the technical writing field to then analyze the methods used to satisfy users’ needs in our companies while highlighting the UX impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the documentation. Finally, we will identify some of the UX best practices and tools to create better documentation and ensure the product and company sustainability.

Read the full article (PDF): How User Experience helps reshape technical documentation