Quick writing tip: What’s the default, and why?

As a technical writer, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is “what are the default values of the choices a user can make, and why”. For example, if an option is disabled by default, what does that tell you about the average user and their workflow? Are you trying to protect …

Don’t Let HR Block Your Next Technical Writer

First let me clarify – I’ve nothing against HR and their involvement in the hiring process. What I object to very specifically are two habits: letting HR choose who gets interviewed, and letting HR do the first interview and veto some of the candidates before they ever meet the technical writing team leader.

Do not Hire This Person: Technical Writers Edition

Three things some technical writers say that should serve as a warning sign that you may not want to hire them: “I only need to understand it at the UI level”. If you don’t understand how and why things happen, you’re no better than the user. Anyone can read a field label to understand what …

Do not Hire This Person: QA Edition

Written in collaboration with Efrat Wurzel Three things some testers say that should serve as a warning sign that you may not want to hire them: “I can’t understand a feature or start thinking about its tests until I use it”. Obviously there are some things that will click better when working with the feature. …

The Doomed Knowledge Transfer: Last Minute, Improvised Show and Tell

Leaving your job and training your replacement? There are four simple rules to effective knowledge transfer: create independence, work together, plan and give yourself the time to do these things. First and foremost: assume that you will not be available to answer any more questions after you leave. Even if you’re staying in the same …