Here’s the scenario: You have a new feature in your software on its way to market. You are the lead tech author/information designer working on it.
a) go into survival mode?
“Must generate help pages before release date”
b) take a strategic approach?
“Remind me why we are doing this” – in a top-down approach starting with a holistic view of the customer, then narrowing to your users and content.
Taking a strategic approach
Starting with customer-centric questions. For the new feature, do you have a sense of:
- What the demand for this feature is in the market
- How your sales channel thinks it is going to drive revenue
- The user stories or user “pain” this is solving
- Anticipated customer service/support issues
- What marketing collateral and social media campaigns are planned around it
- What the impact on training or certification programmes is
These feed into user-centric questions. For new content, which you are authoring or designing, do you have ideas for:
- Who might be able to reuse my content
- At what point in the customer journey is it accessed
- What analytics and user research data do I have to inform my decisions
- What are the relevant costs/benefits of different output types
- Is my content going to be consumed on a mobile device
- What can I do to promote and engage responses to my content
Or do you..
c) combine modes a) and b)?
Shifting from survival to strategic
From recent experience, my impression is that we are shifting away from survival and towards strategic. We are doing it out of necessity – driven by smaller cross-functional teams and shorter release cycles. But I hope we are also doing it by design – the content becomes more relevant, innovative and in synch with the customer’s and user’s relationship to your organisation and your software.
Did you answer a), b) or c)? Do you have any items to add to the customer- and user-centric question lists?