I reorganized, rewrote, and added information with a tight deadline and a strict word count limit. The finished doc delighted stakeholders and came in on budget and a day early.
Combining technical precision with persuasive prose engages the reader, building a human connection with your technology.
From July 2013 to the end of 2015, I was part of a very small team creating award-winning content for the entire line of Microsoft Surface products. Here are a few examples.
This topic is intended to give customers a quick way to tell which Surface keyboard they have. Typically this is a first step in troubleshooting a keyboard. Click the image for a PDF of the topic.
This audience was smart and well-educated, but non-technical. Traditionally, Help Desk assisted them with everything from adding desktop icons and creating a signature file to recovering lost data. The goal here was to empower the users with friendly, easy-to-follow Help. We also had to promote that content to the user base.
These topics are displayed as screenshots of the Help as it appeared in the SharePoint configuration used at Casey. Click on a thumbnail to view the entire topic. For long topics you may need to zoom in order to read the text.
I created many of the icons used in the topics.
This audience needs detailed, accurate information about the technologies they are using.
The subject matter expert and I worked out a hierarchy of issues to give structure to the troubleshooting process. We used Visio graphics to map the over-all process, and also provide visual cues for each section.
This was a chapter in a resource guide. The tool was difficult to document because every component changed the behavior of every other component. The writer assigned to document it quit in frustration, and it landed on my desk a few weeks before hand-off.
I mostly document intangibles like software programs or work processes. Documenting something I can touch is a bit of a treat.
- How to Install Wireless Access Points (PDF)
Except at headquarters, all of the PC Swap technicians were hired through local temp agencies, just for the weekend of the swap. We did not expect them to be familiar with Casey resources or procedures, and the documentation I wrote for this audience reflects that. For each location a Casey IT representative and a tech lead who was familiar with Casey IT was also present, so the temporary techs weren’t entirely on their own.
I updated and maintained a template and macros tailored to our processes and handoff requirements. These are the instructions I wrote for new writers and editors.
I love it when colleagues comment on a job well done, or on something I’ve done that made their work easier. Here are a few recent favorites. For more formal recommendations, see my LinkedIn page.
- “It’s not every day we get to launch a new brand, technology and customer experience. It is a privilege that comes with a number of unique challenges. This particular launch was a true demonstration of cross group collaboration as every team member was ‘borrowed’ from various teams to come together for this project and they rose to the occasion. In my experience, I haven’t seen a better group of talented people say ‘yes we can’. Moreover, every member of the K Support team partnered well both within CSS and with our partner teams resulting in a stellar launch.There were many great people doing great things and contributing to this successful launch, I simply cannot capture them all. With that, I do want to highlight just a few exceptional examples:- Our Content team (Mark Olwick, Joanna Plank, Debby Deryck, Sharon Kay, Jay Palmer, Lisa Zefkeles & Kimmy Holtz) kicked serious tail amidst constant product changes, many in the 11th hour. They were cool under pressure and the result is one of the most effective online support experiences that Microsoft offers. The site is already the envy of the Xbox Supportability team. Seriously, have you seen the awesome Getting Started page?(Initial launch of Surface Band. The press loved that documentation too.)
- “We wouldn’t be early or as complete were it not for the outstanding work Sharon put into the guide in the last week. Kudos to her and the rest of the team for moving gracefully AND promptly forward!”(We had just handed off the Surface Hub User Guide, which I’d completely revamped, adding a lot of important information while reducing the word count. We finished on budget and a day early.)
- “I want to say thank you for being such an excellent mentor! When I started in April, you definitely helped make my transition into the role a smooth one. I’m very sad that we won’t be working on the same team going forward, and I’ll be plugging for you if new writer positions open up in the near future!”