Ellis Pratt, Sales and Marketing Director at Cherryleaf, will be speaking at this year’s Technical Communication UK conference on “Documentation as an emotional experience for the user”.
Many organisations are starting to look at creating a ‘customer experience strategy’. This is management-speak for generating customer advocacy, brand loyalty and an emotional attachment to a product or company. So do those writing technical documentation need to adapt to these changes?
In this presentation, we’ll look at how users have, over time, changed the way they use technology – how we’ve moved from an era of creating, to an era of connecting and onto one of belonging. We’ll ask, should technical documentation also help people do more than assist someone to complete a task? Can you write technical documentation that also provides users with a more emotional experience? If so, how should you do it?
The conference will be held on 21-23 September 2010 at the Oxford Belfry hotel, near Thame in Oxfordshire. Ellis is provisionally booked to speak 14.00-14.40 on Wednesday 22nd September, and he’ll be around for the whole of the main conference (22nd & 23rd).
As we’ll be looking at engagement and feeling involved, we’d like you to get involved in this presentation. What particular aspects would you like Ellis to cover? What do you think about the concept of making documentation a more emotional experience for the user?
Sarah Maddox reported from the WritersUA conference that Microsoft’s April Reagan gave a frank presentation on the planning and design that has gone into version 3 of Microsoft Help.
She was quoted as saying the feedback on the Help 2 (used in Windows Vista) was poor. For example, “This is the worst help system I have ever seen”.
At a previous WritersUA conference, Joe Welinske reported Microsoft implemented a couple of changes when it developed the online Help for Vista. The biggest changes were (a) they developed a new Help viewer and (b) they used technical journalists instead technical authors to write the Help topics. They chose journalists because they wanted Help topics to be closer to knowledge-base articles. I’m not aware of any other major changes.
I wonder if the change in writing style was the main cause of such negative feedback towards Vista’s Help. Users often just want to do things, and they can be best helped by short, clear chunks of text focused on getting the job done.
It will interesting to see if Microsoft changes its approach to writing, as well as the Help viewer itself, in future releases of Windows.
Last week’s Online Help Conference Europe 2007 was a great success and great fun.
1. There seems to be an overall consensus on the future direction of online user assistance/online Help:
- Don’t expect Microsoft to lead with new standard Help technologies that we can all adopt. - A move towards more portal based information support. - A move towards more collaborative authoring, incorporating content from others. - Some technical authors are likely to be taking on more of an editing role. Others are likely to be focused purely on writing.
2. On stage, we saw Adobe demonstrating RoboHelp 7, followed by Madcap demonstrating Flare. Madcap probably chalked up a win on the day: its XML, table management and list ordering capabilities seemed to give it the edge.
3. One vendor managed to display a slide containing “it’s” instead of “its”. There were a hundred technical authors eager to tell him about it at the end of his presentation.