Allan Duquette, Technical Writer at Proposify joins us in this episode of Knowledgebase Ninjas.
Connect with Allan and Proposify here:
Why not inject humour into your technical writing?
Allan used to be a comic writer, and now… sometimes to the annoyance of his colleagues, he incorporates humour and illustrative aspects into his documentation.
Allan transitioned into technical writing from customer support
Allan started out in Proposify’s support team where they found that current articles were just long stretches of writing with a single image at the bottom. They found that readers were skipping to the image and then getting stuck when the answers were already within the text!
Allan jumped in and edited these into more digestible articles that incorporated more images between the text, and these support responses decreased.
People don’t actually want to read what your writing…
Allan states that “people don’t actually want to read what you’re writing”. As they have an issue, probably a deadline and have to get something done.
Allan urges technical writers to keep this in mind and allow the user to find the answer to their question as soon as possible. Kind of like how Google knows you don’t want to spend time on Google… they know you want to find the right piece of information and have built and awesome search engine to do just that.
Allan saves each support team member two weeks of work every 90 days
Based on clicks from their software through to an article, Allan estimates that he saves each support team member 88 hours of work each 90 day period. Though not a foolproof method of measuring the impact of documentation, this is more than most of our guests have been able to define 🙂
Allan tracks his impact with CSAT scores on each article, though it’s not that effective
Allan is also able to measure the impact of his work by adding icons at the bottom of each article that enable the user to share how useful the document was.
This is a helpful guide but not 100% reliable as obviously if a user has found the answer to their problem, they may not have got to bottom of the article to share their opinion.
Allan has been on/off in the instructional world for ten years
Allan realised that though he has been formally in the world of technical writing for just two years, he has actually been “instructing” people with content for over ten years through his work in the comic and illustration world.
Allan recommends going to college for documentation
And finally, Allan strongly recommends going to college in order to pursue a career in technical writing and documentation. He studied english and advertising and he is now having to play “catch up” in his thirties.