It’s not quite 2018 yet, but here are our predictions for technical communication in 2018 and beyond. We also look back at the predictions we made for 2017.
Here is early access to the latest episode on the Cherryleaf Podcast – Interview with Anne Gentle, author of Docs Like Code and Product Manager at Cisco. It will be published on the podcast channel on Monday.
- What is docs as code?
- Why do it?
- When might this approach might be applicable?
- The limitations
- Docs like code in development sprints
- Is it only for developer docs?
- Do you you need to understand programming?
- Why did you self publish?
- The benefits of taking this approach
- The future developments
- Automating document builds
Links to topics mentioned:
http://codewerdz.org/ Repository analytics for code and docs
Solr (Search Engine)
Why we use a ‘docs as code’ approach for technical documentation Jen Lambourne, GDS, GOV.UK
Here is a pdf document we’ve created – a primer on chatbots in technical communication. It is based on a post we’ll be publishing on tekom’s Intelligent Information blog:
It seems likely artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-driven chatbots will play a key role in helping users in the future. So what does this mean for technical communicators and for User Assistance?
This podcast is based on an article we’ll be posting to tekom’s Intelligent Information blog. The article is currently out for review, and it should be published in the next two weeks.
The podcast has three chapters, or parts:
- What are chatbots?
- Making a chatbot
- What does this mean for technical communicators and for User Assistance?
See the Cherryleaf Podcast for podcasts on similar topics.
Reviews of two presentations at the UAEurope 17 conference.
Kristof Van Tomme (Pronovix). Software support and Artificial Intelligence.
Pawel Kowaluk (3di Poland). Knowledge Feed: Make your Online Help More Like Facebook
Interspersed with interviews from at the UAEurope 2017 conference:
Dr Tony Self. HyperWrite
Willam van Weelden. Adobe
Mike Hamilton. MadCap Software.
This month, Microsoft has added Microsoft Teams to Office 365. It’s a instant messaging collaboration tool, similar to Slack. Teams contains the T-Bot, which provides help and assistance to users.
Users can watch videos:
They can read online Help:
They can read an FAQ:
They can ask the T-Bot a question and receive an answer. The T-Bot initially provides the same answers as the FAQ. If it doesn’t know the answer, it will suggest some articles from the Help:
Do you think this way of helping users is good? Share your thoughts, using the comments form below.
The Government Digital Service has been working on establishing a standard design for its technical (i.e. developer) documentation. This content is for systems architects, developers and users of the GOV.UK platforms and APIs.
You can see an example at: GOV.UK Platform as a Service
Cherryleaf was given a preview of the new design a few months ago, when we ran an API documentation training course at GDS. We made a couple of suggestions, which look like they’ve been included in the final design.
The documentation has these main sections:
- Overview. This includes why you would use it, and the pricing plan.
- Getting started. This includes prerequisites and limitations.
- How to deploy
- Managing apps
- Managing people
Elsewhere on the website is information relating to support, the product features, and the product roadmap.
As with other GOV.UK content, the team carried out research into what developers wanted, and they carried out usability testing. I understand the researchers discovered developers preferred content to be on a long, single page, and that they would be working in a two screen environment. Using long pages enables users to search and navigate with the keyboard, rather than the mouse. GDS also looked at other developer websites, such as WorldPay and Stripe, for best practice.
GDS is highly regarded in the technical communications community for its excellent work on the GOV.UK website. This means it is likely other organisations will copy GDS’s design for their own developer documentation.