Let’s face it: No one likes to read product documentation. It’s a necessary evil…a last resort when every other option has been exhausted and the technical support recording estimates the wait time to be 30 minutes or more. Experience suggests that although the answer may be in there somewhere, it’s buried in trivialities, lost in information everyone already knows or doesn’t care about, obscured by inconsistencies in presentation.
If as end users, we share this frustration, why as technical writers, don’t we address the issue? Why do we perpetuate the problem with long, convoluted documentation that not only stymies our users, but also wastes our development time and department budget? How can we turn the tide and produce usable content that our users willingly turn to first, confident that they can find an answer and return to work quickly?
In this workshop, you learn to attack this fundamental problem head-on using the principles of minimalism to select appropriate content for your user community, flag it for rapid accessibility, structure it consistently, and author it for easy understanding. Using samples from your own content, you begin a documentation transformation to focus on the needs of your users as they interact with your product and content, rather than solely on the functions and features of the product in isolation.
Whether you are beginning a move to topic-based content, trying to increase your ability to single-source content across your organization, or simply hoping to improve your user’s content experience, this hands-on workshop will help you focus your documentation efforts on what your users need most. Regardless of your industry – high-tech or low-tech, software or hardware, medical, financial, machinery, or somewhere in between – you’ll find the principles of minimalism to be universally adaptable and applicable to your situation.
You will learn to
- Determine when minimalist strategies should be used
- Apply the four basic principles of minimalism
- Eliminate unnecessary content from your documentation
- Prioritize the content included in your documentation
- Emphasize crucial information, such as tasks and troubleshooting
- Improve content accessibility and findability
- Write, edit, and review documents with a focus on minimalism
- Prepare your content for a move to a structured, topic-based environment
- Justify your content decisions
No previous knowledge is required for this workshop. However, before attending this workshop, please choose a content sample that you want to transform during the interactive sessions. We recommend that you have the content available in both printed and electronic formats.