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I’ve been writing friendly docs for over 10 years.

I help companies communicate with their customers by creating approachable software documentation that isn't boring or hard to understand.

I'm a software industry veteran with over 10 years’ experience working in both waterfall and Agile development environments. From updating existing docs to creating the information architecture from scratch, I've done it all.

I've also worked as a magazine editor and copywriter for more than 5 years. I don't have the typical dry tech writing "voice;" instead, I write docs with dynamic copy that keeps users engaged.

Erin is the person you always want on your team.
— Naomi Pusch, HP Enterprise
 

Companies I’ve Helped

I've worked with multiple enterprise software development companies, produced hundreds of pages of documentation and gotten rave reviews on my work. But so what? We don't know each other (yet); why should you take my word for it?

Browse through the samples of my work below. If you have any questions, or if you don't see quite what you're looking for, email me and we can talk it over: erin.rtfm@gmail.com.

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AED Sentinel Manager User Guide

A 20-page guide to help new users set up their AED Sentinel Manager account. This guide provides foundational information for hardware installation, as well a complete instructions on setting up the software. Published September 2018.

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Facilitator User Guide (portion only)

This document is an anonymized excerpt from a larger user guide. Using conditions, variables, and other MadCap Flare features, I reused and remixed content to create user guides tailored to the needs of four different clients and their various user groups. Published bi-weekly since April 2017.

Domain Admin Quick Start Guide

A 20-page quick start guide for onboarding global team members, curated from a 150+ page user manual. This guide was originally conceived to cater to team members for whom English is a second language. Published October 2015.

 
[Erin] “spoke” the customers’ language to create documentation that is approachable and easy to understand.
— Richard Lazar, Founder, Readiness Systems

I’ve got some things to say

I’ve been in the tech industry for over a decade and I want to share my experience and lessons learned with others.

 

 

Don’t Blame the User: A Human-Centered Approach to Support and Design

Support Driven Expo Americas, July 12, 2019

When you're on the support front lines, you're bound to come across some questions that - at the kindest - reflect a very, very poor understanding of tech in general and your product in specific. In these scenarios, we've all had the temptation to call a user stupid (and maybe given in to it), but at the heart of every "stupid" question is an underlying need we can address. In this talk, I cover why thinking in terms of "stupid users" is harmful, strategies to get to heart of what the user really needs, and how to advocate for the kinds of change that makes even inexperienced users feel comfortable with our products.

Paving the Cow Paths: Finding and Leveraging User-Generated Documentation

SPA Software in Practice, June 24, 2019

In design, “cow paths” or “desire paths” show how users want to use a system - the path they want to take through a campus or the way they want to mention someone on Twitter. In this talk, I go into more depth about what “cow paths” are, how they point us to design or documentation updates that can make the biggest difference to our audiences, and how to begin working with users to improve their own documentation efforts and pave their own ways.

Developing Documentation in Agile: Methods, Tips, and Strategies

Hopper x 1 Seattle, March 23, 2019

As Agile methodologies become the standard in software development, questions arise about the place of documentation on these teams. In this talk, I discuss why documentation remains an important concern in Agile development, how to successfully integrate a technical writer with the team, and how to work with leadership to get the best documentation outcomes for both teams and customers.

What Is Agile Anyway—And How Do I Fit In?

Society for Technical Communication Webinar, January 16, 2019

More and more development teams are embracing Agile methodologies to structure and inform their development processes. But what is Agile? What’s a “scrum,” and what the heck is a “kanban?” Also, doesn’t using an Agile development methodology mean that docs aren’t needed? In this talk, I explain the different kinds of Agile methodologies, and how the documentation effort fits into each. I’ll provide lessons learned from working as technical writer on multiple Agile teams, including the information you’ll need to get leadership on the side of integrating docs into development.

Document Yourself: Tips for a Low(er) Stress Portfolio

Write the Docs North America, May 7, 2018

Building a portfolio is an exercise in documenting yourself: your writing, your skill, your journey as a professional. Like any other kind of documentation, it isn't easy or intuitive to create something great. And like any other kind of documentation, it's worth doing the hard work to get it right.

Thumbnail photo by Write the Docs, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

 
Rarely have I see someone walk into a mature and complex project … and so quickly become a strong contributor to the team. ... She has such a great, accommodating, friendly personality that it makes her a privilege to work with under even the most demanding circumstances.
— John Bowers, User Experience Consultant, HP Enterprise Services
 

Join the Friendly Docs Society!

I don't email often, but when I do, it's good stuff (if I do say so myself).

I will never send you spam. Gross. Unsubscribe at any time.

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