Find your user’s vocabulary and use his or her key terms as keywords

I just used this “trick” to find out what job titles are relevant for some of the task analysis we’re doing while writing new materials. I think it helps you get into your user’s shoes and also realize the value that your software or hardware product brings to those who decide to become an expert user with it. Here is an example – plug in your keywords and see what you find out about your users.

  1. Go to Indeed.com, a job search aggregator site.
  2. Type in the name of the main product you’re documenting. In my case, it’s a software product called iMIS.
  3. Fill in a location that you think would have a lot of interest or activity around your software product. For my product, that location is Washington, DC.

Voila – look through the search results and pick out 5 keywords to use either as index entries, as role or persona names the next time you do task analysis, or sprinkle the terms liberally in the headings of your online documentation to aid in findability.

Example job titles from my scenario: database administrator, project leader, project coordinator, manager, accountant, administrative assistant, and a sprinkling of director.

If I were to subscribe to the RSS feed for this search, I’d call it yet another use for RSS feeds. For me, though, it’s a nice one-time check on the types of jobs people are trying to do with the software product I document.

Try it and let us know what you find, especially if any of it is surprising to you.