Focus on the User

I’ve published a long-ish article on the WritersUA site where I describe techniques for user assistance that let the user participate. It starts with simple techniques such as comments and moves towards community documentation efforts. Please read and share Putting the User in User Assistance. I’d love to hear what you think about these techniques.


  • February 10, 2010 - 10:00 am | Permalink

    Anne, thanks for giving us this comprehensive and practical guide to bringing the community into the process of creating user assistance.

  • February 10, 2010 - 10:08 am | Permalink

    I just read your article on the Web site but there was nowhere to leave a comment so I’ll leave it here. I really enjoyed reading your article and still learned new things even though I’ve read your book and your presentation (Presentation: A Technical Writer’s Role in Web 2.0: Wiki-fy Your Doc Set (not that these weren’t thorough — because they were).

    We’ve been testing Confluence for 6 weeks now — importing Flare and RoboHelp content into the wiki. We’re getting ready to start a pilot with our focus group. The big difference between using the HATs and the wiki for user feedback (comments) is that with the wiki, users can immediately view any docs changes via their personalized dashboard, from watching pages and entire spaces that provide email notifications and RSS feeds (these are built in to the wiki and very simple to use). Just this week I posted a comment on one of Confluence’s help pages and within a day and a half the tech writer had already edited the page based on my feedback — and I knew this from the instant email I received showing the changes! As you know, I’ll be presenting our wiki conversion experiences at the STC Suncoast chapter meeting in March in Tampa, Florida, and at the STC Summit 2010 (May 2-5) in Dallas. You have helped us so much and I would highly recommend you as a consultant and I’d recommend Atlassian’s Confluence as well.


  • February 11, 2010 - 9:22 am | Permalink

    Hi Anne,

    I create ‘personas’ when writing docs that have multiple readerships – helps me stay focussed.


  • February 12, 2010 - 8:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks all! I’m glad it was practical, above all else.

    Ivan, I agree, persona creation really helps with reader focus. I think Ginny Redish’s book “Letting Go of the Words” does a great job of showing how detail in your writing draws out a conversation with readers and personas of readers. Her talk at the STC Summit a few years back was an inspiration to me to look for conversational methods through web delivery.

  • February 13, 2010 - 10:36 am | Permalink

    Thanks Anne.

    I chase up Ginny.

  • February 13, 2010 - 10:38 am | Permalink

    and great article on the WritersUA site!

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