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Content manager's guide to crowdsourcing the docs

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Content manager's guide to crowdsourcing the docs
Presentation slides from Write the Docs Prague 2017

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Content manager's guide to crowdsourcing the docs

  1. 1. BECKY TODD | SR DX WRITER | @BECKATODD Crowdsourcing the docs A content manager’s guide
  2. 2. Agenda Good docs Crowdsourcing Managing content Best practices Case study
  3. 3. What makes docs good? photo: © hobvias sudoneighm https://flic.kr/p/4Ki5 | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  4. 4. #writethedocs | @beckatodd • Informative • Accurate • Discoverable • Concise • Well structured ASK A TECH WRITER
  5. 5. Imagine spending a lazy weekend reading your favorite reference docs. photo: © Christine https://flic.kr/p/6cKZLw | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  6. 6. photo: © Becky Todd #writethedocs | @beckatodd People use docs in the context of a task.
  7. 7. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Deliver the right content at the right time in the right context. GOAL
  8. 8. Crowdsourcing #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  9. 9. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Community of equal peers working toward a common outcome… with no one participant benefiting more than any other. Leverages the marginal interest of a group of people to complete a task that otherwise could not be economically completed. CROWDSOURCING OPEN SOURCING http://www.computerworlduk.com/it-business/crowdsource-is-not-open-source-3569582/
  10. 10. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Crowdsourcing docs A content development approach that relies on people volunteering their time to create content.
  11. 11. Unlocks knowledge Leverages insight from experts in different roles Minimizes bottlenecks More authors means fewer roadblocks to publishing quickly Solves specific issues Addresses use cases not typically documented Advantages #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  12. 12. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Distributes responsibility Ownership is unclear and can lead to confusion Poorly written Content is more difficult to understand, poorly formatted, etc. Quantity is not quality Topics are repeated and old topics are not retired or updated Challenges #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  13. 13. #writethedocs | @beckatodd 1% create new content 9% make edits 90% view 1% RULE http://idratherbewriting.com/2017/03/08/crowdsourcing-docs-with-github-docs-as-code-tools-same-as-wikis/
  14. 14. Managing content #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  15. 15. Editing involves creative skills, human relations, and a precise set of methods. photo: © FunGi_ (Trading) https://flic.kr/p/aaHMqC #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  16. 16. #writethedocs | @beckatodd OBJECTIVES • User needs • Content creation process • Content maintenance
  17. 17. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Content Content lifecycle, user research, testing content Development Software development lifecycle (SDLC), release schedules, etc.
  18. 18. #writethedocs | @beckatodd ANNE ROCKLEY A repeatable method of identifying content requirements up front, creating consistently structured content, managing it in a definitive source, and assembling it on demand.
  19. 19. Best practices #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  20. 20. Instructions How to setup and publish docs Style guides Brand, voice, and usage guidelines Guidelines When to write, review checklists, templates Writing toolkit
  21. 21. #writethedocs | @beckatodd 1. Write for the user 2. Write consistently 3. Docs or it isn’t done THREE RULES
  22. 22. 1. Write for the user. #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  23. 23. Research your audience. photo: © OFFICIAL LEWEB PHOTOS https://flic.kr/p/aUhbZM | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ PROTIP: You are not your user.
  24. 24. #writethedocs | @beckatodd 1 2 3 What What are they doing when they use it? Who Who is using it? Why Why do they use it? THE FIVE WS 4 5 When When do they use it? Where Where do they interact with it?
  25. 25. 2. Write consistently. #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  26. 26. Template photo: © clarie rowland https://flic.kr/p/3w55ZW | https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  27. 27. 3. Docs or it isn’t done. #writethedocs | @beckatodd
  28. 28. Content requirements • Describe main concepts. • Cover the main use cases. • Update tutorials and tasks. • Retire old content. Content process Plan Write Review Test
  29. 29. Author checklist • New features documented. • Tutorial steps accurate. • Code samples complete and accurate. • Screenshots up to date. • Spell check. Write Review Test Content process Plan
  30. 30. PR checklist • Copy edit. • Voice and tone. • Code samples compile. Plan Write Review Test Content process
  31. 31. QA checklist • Are new features documented? • Are tutorial steps accurate? • Are code samples complete and accurate? • Did you notice anything else? Plan Write Review Test Content process
  32. 32. Putting it together Train In-person training, self- help resources Plan Release and feature docs planning Edit Comment-based review, copy editing
  33. 33. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Support engineers build a knowledge base in 3 months. CASE STUDY
  34. 34. #writethedocs | @beckatodd High number of support cases and no shared knowledge. PROBLEM
  35. 35. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Build knowledge base and integrate it with product help. SOLUTION
  36. 36. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Plan Defined requirements, information architecture, templates, and content processes. Train Developed team-specific training materials adapted from Writing toolkit. Build Crowdsourced the content creation.
  37. 37. #writethedocs | @beckatodd 1 2 3 Continued growth 300 + articles published and continues to have a steady flow of up- to-date articles. Workflow and tooling updates Identified additional use cases and has migrated content to a new tool that better supports their workflows. Cross-departmental collaboration Developed a strong cross-departmental collaboration between Engineering and Support. 15 MONTHS LATER: SUCCESSES & CHALLENGES
  38. 38. #writethedocs | @beckatodd Empower your writers, and reward successes. IN CLOSING
  39. 39. BECKY TODD | SR DX WRITER | @BECKATODD Thank you!

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