Have you visited Typefi Support lately? You may have noticed some changes, most of which are thanks to Laura Powers, Typefi’s Technical Writer, who joined the product team in early 2020.
Over the past 12 months, Laura has worked diligently to update Typefi Support and make it easier for you to find relevant, helpful information.
In this short video, she shares what inspired her reorganisation of the Typefi help centre, and how our newly-structured tech docs are designed to help you do more.
Want to know more? Got questions or feedback? Leave a comment below, or drop our product team a line via Typefi Support.
LAURA: My job as a Technical Writer is to create the support documentation so that you can use Typefi to do more.
My first major project as a tech writer was taking a critical look at the help centre’s overall structure. How could we improve it so that you can find the information you need, faster?
To answer this question, we need to back up a bit and think about how humans process information, specifically in an online environment.
There are two models of how people read online:
- Information gorging; and
- Information foraging.
Information gorging is when you gorge or consume as much information about a topic as possible. But, in our modern world of information overload and tight deadlines, it’s not really practical when you’re searching for information on how to do something.
In contrast, information foraging is the theory that people navigate on the web to satisfy an information need. It essentially says that, if you have a specific information goal (say, ‘how do I publish a document from Typefi Writer’), you will assess the cost of evaluating potential information sources, relative to the benefit that the information will give you.
In other words, you just want to figure out how to do thing X, do it, and then move on with the billion other things you need to do in the day.
Going back to the earlier question of how we revamped our help centre, we embraced the information foraging model.
For example, if we look at the help centre home page, a giant portion of the page is the search box. This is intentional. Devoting this much space to search is based on research that more and more people prefer to search—or forage—to find the information that they need.
If we know that many people prefer searching, we have to structure our docs differently. For example, if you were to search how to publish a document from Typefi Writer, you might enter “publish” in the search bar. What you want to see is step-by-step instructions on how to do this.
Previously, entering this search query would bring up the giant PDF user guide for Typefi Writer, and then you would have to download that PDF and navigate through it to find the information that you’re looking for. But now, when you enter this search query, the first hit is “Publishing a document”. Clicking on that link brings you straight to the step-by-step instructions you were looking for.
However, if you prefer browsing, the help centre is divided based on our products. Each product is a category, and within each product category, you’ll find similar sections, like Hints, tips, and tricks, or Working with Typefi Elements.
Whether you prefer to search or browse, each help article is “chunked” to pertain to a specific topic or task. Chunking content is the process of dividing content up into bite-sized pieces of information.
Chunking content is critical because the human brain can only process a small amount of information at a time. So, in our help articles, we use lots of headings so that it’s easy for you to scan the content.
And, finally, I’d be remiss not to mention that if you have a specific question, you can always contact us directly. We have an AMAZING professional services team.
I’m continually working on improving the help centre. Please click the Yes or No button if you found an article helpful or not.
Thanks so much for your time.
Technical Writer | US
Laura writes the support documentation for Typefi products and is passionate about making complex information easier to digest. She focuses on writing help articles that are clear, concise, and comprehensive. Her strengths include computer programming, information architecture, and usability testing.
Laura holds a Master of Arts in Technical Communication from Texas State University, Texas, and a Bachelor of General Studies from Fort Hays State University, Kansas.