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.
Your Users Aren't Stupid—Your Design Is (working title)
Support Driven Expo Americas, July 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 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
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
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
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.