Rob Caron

Developer-related topics and other stuff.

Using Personas to Create User Documentation

Using Personas to Create User Documentation

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The most recent edition of the Cooper Newsletter (2004, Issue 4) from Cooper has a great article that expands on the principle that a writer should know their audience:

Using Personas to Create User Documentation
by Steve Calde

Personas and other user-modeling techniques are often solely discussed as tools for product development, but they are useful tools in other arenas, as well. Technical writers responsible for writing user documentation can benefit greatly from a well-defined persona set, too.

[full article]

And Steve Calde is right - defining your audience is not as easy as it sounds. In the past, writing for Visual Studio meant writing for developers and software architects. With Visual Studio Team System, we're having to understand a wider audience than before, including testers, project managers, infrastructure architects and project stakeholders. As such, we're finding that our persona set is "large and varied" with some areas that are specific to a single persona (server administration) and others that are broad (work item tracking).

If you want to learn more about personas, get this book and read it:

About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design

Hey - this is post 200!

btw, after a spate of porn spamming earlier today, I've switched this blog to moderated comments for the time being. Thanks for your understanding.


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