“So … what do you do?”

It’s a common question – a great ice-breaker when you’re introduced to someone. When faced with a potentially awkward silence, ask about a person’s occupation, family, or thoughts on the day’s weather. It’s Casual Conversations 101.

“So … what do you DO?”

This tends to be the follow-up question when we explain that we work on the Information Experience (iX) team for Microsoft Dynamics. Our team goes by a few other names – content publishing, tech writing, documentation, the grammar police – but what we actually do on a day-to-day basis isn’t well-known.

It used to be as simple as saying, “We write software manuals.” But now it goes far beyond that (and few companies write big, bulky manuals these days).

In today’s ever-changing tech world, there’s nothing simple about developing and managing content. Today’s content engineers are expected to be top-notch writers and software experts who also dabble in a variety of other subjects – usability, terminology, globalization, web publishing, video production, and social media, to name a few.

Ours is just one example of this trend. We know most of you face increasingly complex combinations of responsibilities in the course of your daily work. This creates yet more challenges – and opportunities. How can we work together so we can use your knowledge and experience to enhance our Microsoft Dynamics AX content, and do a better job of providing what you need?

We know how our products are designed to work, but when it comes down to it, our team’s best source of information is hearing from our partners and customers who use the products every day. We need to know what’s missing or difficult to find. We need to learn about issues that make you grit your teeth and swear under your breath. And, we need to hear what’s going well, so we know what works. All in all, we need a deeper understanding of your work so we know what information you need, and when, and so we don’t waste our time (and yours) on information that’s unnecessary or unhelpful.

We’ll occasionally use these content conversations posts to look at some of the issues our iX team faces, both in the content and in the UI. For example, we’ll look at striking the right balance with UI text, and whether it’s always a good rule of thumb to provide as much help as possible.

The purpose of these entries is to give some insight into why we do some of the things we do, and to get your feedback on these decisions to see if you think we’re on the right track. (For a look at some of the changes we’ve recently implemented, see AX Content: From content to conversation.)

We look forward to sharing this information with you and learning more from you, and we welcome your feedback at any time. The AX Content: Tell us more! post explains how you can let us know what’s on your mind.