What are the Stakes and Difficulties of Working with Experts?

Olympe Lebon, Althéa Geneix, Johan Lefebvre

Paris Diderot University, September 15th 2020

Abstract

A technical writer has a key role within a company. He works with people with various functions. He’s asking developers for advice and feedback to build the user guide of their product. He’s connected and dealing with every part of the team: developers, testers, managers, product experts, etc. to produce documentation that is as clear as possible for the user, and depending on the product, the user’s life can depend on his work. Most of the time, this interaction is a very rich and fulfilling experience.
But how to find the right place between the different services of a company? Communicating with developers is not always easy: they often don’t have time to spend with a technical writer. Receiving feedback from testers can be troublesome, sometimes you don’t get information unless asking clearly for it. Many uninformed people think that being a technical writer is just writing sentences and that anyone can do it. It happens sometimes that even people in their own team don’t recognize the work and the importance of the technical writer. This article explores the difficulties a technical writer can encounter when working with experts.

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The influences of content structuration

ALVES MENDES Ines, BAEK Chooeun, CHALLET Leslie

Paris Diderot University, July 15, 2020

Abstract

Structuring content is the cornerstone of great documentation. Structuration ensures not only coherence across content, but also better user experience. How does structuration occur? We conducted a survey searching for internal and external factors influencing structuration. The investigation revealed that internal factors including tools, languages, standards, and guidelines are the basis of well-structured documentation. External factors, such as user- feedback, and a UX team within the company, also prove to be equally important. Structuration also improves with updates from the right people and for the right reasons. In this research article, we discuss content structuration, restructuration, and how it is heavily influenced by various factors independent from content.

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Why and how should the interaction between users and technical writers be improved in online documentation?

Roxanne BOPOUNGO – Deborah CHAPLICE – Bouchra DRIF

Paris Diderot University, 2019/2020

Abstract

We have been living in a digital era for more than three decades. As a result, digital documentation prevails over paper formats. Technical writers have therefore adapted to the market reality, where people use several types of screen: computers, smartphones, tablets… Each screen has its own specificity, hence the importance to adjust digital documentation to provide better readability and a better understanding. Users need to understand documents instantaneously.

With the impactful rise of all types of social networks, the way we communicate and exchange information has evolved as well. Users want and need to quickly find what they are looking for. They tend to be less patient and focused and would not want to go through the whole documentation. The information within technical documentation must be of easy access, and most importantly, users must have access to it quickly.

Technical writers are therefore facing a challenge: they must adapt to the specificities of the digital world and create methods that allow users to communicate with them and/or to give them a useful feedback.

As of today, technical writing teams use methods inspired by blogs or social networks (FAQs, “like” buttons, comments etc.), in order to receive feedback from the readers. However, this approach is not always effective or relevant.

Read the full article in PDF: Why and how should the interaction between users and technical writers be improved in online documentation?

Implementation and benefits of minimalism in technical writing

Aurélien Delattre, Yann-Olivier Grohan

July 2013

Abstract

This article explains how minimalism can improve the quality and effectiveness of technical documentation. In the first part, we will define minimalism and its main principles, such as action-oriented approach and topic-based authoring. In the second part, we will conduct a comparative analysis based on the technical documentation of two working environments: Societe Générale Corporate Investment Banking and HR Access. We will analyse how  minimalism impacts the effectiveness and searchability of the documentation. These different minimalism approaches depend on quality criteria adopted for documentation. As a consequence, the decision to apply minimalism or not depends on the context (targeted-audience, access to users feedback). To conclude, we will identify some of the best practices to implement minimalism in any  documentation department.

Read the full article (PDF): Implementation and benefits of minimalism in technical writing