API documentation: the undiscovered country

Recording from UAEurope 2017 conference. With many software developers now spending their time developing APIs, there’s an increasing demand for API documentation writers. It’s a fast changing field, with emerging information design patterns and authoring tools. It’s also different from end user documentation, and this means many Technical Communicators are uncertain if and how they… Read more »

Is documentation a dirty word?

Daryl Colquhoun has written an article in tcWorld about the international standard ISO/IEC/IEEE 26512. He explained the standard is going to be revised and renamed: from “Systems and software engineering – Requirements for managers of user documentation” to “Systems and software engineering – Requirements for managers of information for users”. The reason for this, he states, is… Read more »

Helping organisations plan for unexpected events

It’s a while since we covered policies and procedures writing, so just a quick post to say Cherryleaf helps companies document their procedures for dealing with, and recovering from, unexpected disasters. It also can include planning for contingencies, including events that might seem highly unlikely.

Research into how API documentation fails

There isn’t a great deal of research into API documentation, and the factors that make API content good or bad. Here’s some of the papers we’ve found so far: How API documentation fails. Research by Uddin and Robillard, McGill University, 2015. Creating and Evolving Developer Documentation: Understanding the Decisions of Open Source Contributors, Dagenais and Robillard, 2010…. Read more »

A technical communication user’s hierarchy of needs

At the TCUK 2015 conference, Rachel Johnston mentioned the idea of a content maturity model. We thought we’d take this idea and ask: Could we develop a model that illustrates a hierarchy of needs for users of technical communication (and in particular, User Assistance)? A model of what? We suggest calling this model a technical communication user’s hierarchy of needs…. Read more »