Docs and UX: It's a collaboration, not a competition

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Alexandra Gifuni BlockedUnblockFollowFollowing Mar 27
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A look at how technical documentation and UX are stronger together

I recently read
I recently read UX in Flux: Where We're Going, We Don't Need Docs, a great piece by Karen Kesler. In it, she argues that if we continue to move towards better UX (user experience), technical documentation can effectively become obsolete.
,凯伦凯斯勒的精彩作品。在其中,她认为,如果我们继续朝着更好的用户体验(用户体验)迈进,技术文档可以有效地过时。

This argument is not a new one, and it is difficult to ignore. It's something I have been reading about since I started as a Technical Writer at my previous employer 7 years ago. The thought of my work becoming obsolete worried me so much at that time that I made a point to delve into UI (user interface) design --- devoting about 15% of my work week to collaborating with the development team to create intuitive wireframes, with the aim of improving the UX.
这个论点不是新的,很难忽视。自从我7年前在我的前任雇主担任技术撰稿人以来,这是我一直在阅读的内容。我的工作变得过时的想法让我非常担心,当时我特意深入研究UI(用户界面)设计 - 我将大约15%的工作时间用于与开发团队合作创建直观的线框图,旨在改善用户体验。

Starting at the ShareGate division of GSoft nearly 3 years ago saw me
从近三年前GSoft的ShareGate部门开始,我看到了 drowning in a backlog of unwritten documentation. I didn't have time to think about helping to improve the app's UX, all I had time to think about was writing the best documentation possible to meet the needs of our customers. Now that I'm a Technical Content Manager, things have again evolved. I need to consider --- more than ever before --- how technical documentation fits into our world. Our product has been continuously lauded by customers to be one of the
积压的未经编写的文件。我没有时间考虑帮助改进应用程序的用户体验,我有时间考虑编写最好的文档以满足客户的需求。既然我是技术内容经理,事情又一次发展了。我需要比以往任何时候都更加考虑技术文档如何融入我们的世界。我们的产品一直受到客户的称赞,成为其中之一most user-friendly solutions for their needs that they have encountered on the market. We have a dedicated team of developers and designers who listen to customer feedback attentively and use it fuel real, measurable improvements to our app every few months. These include improvements to the UX though design, tooltips, descriptions-in app, and so on. So, you'd think with all those, there'd be less hits on our knowledge base as time progresses, right?
满足他们在市场上遇到的需求。我们拥有一支由开发人员和设计人员组成的专业团队,他们认真倾听客户的反馈意见,每隔几个月就会使用它为我们的应用程序提供真实,可衡量的改进。这些包括通过设计改进UX,工具提示,应用程序中的描述等。所以,你会想到所有这些,随着时间的推移,我们的知识库上的点击率会降低,对吧?

Wrong.
Wrong.

In fact, it seems that UX-specific improvements to the app do not affect the number of hits on our knowledge base at all. As the number of returning app users rise, so does the amount of returning users on the knowledge base.
事实上,对应用程序的UX特定改进似乎根本不会影响我们知识库中的点击次数。随着返回的应用用户数量的增加,知识库中返回用户的数量也会增加。

I'm sure there are more than a few theories we can delve into on why this is the case, but I'm just going to focus on one. The relationship between UX and technical documentation is a collaboration, not a competition. Consider the following:
我敢肯定,我们可以深入研究为什么会出现这种情况,但我只关注一个。用户体验和技术文档之间的关系是一种合作,而不是竞争。考虑以下:

Complex errors require complex solutions

Depending on the kind of software you work on, you might face problems that can't be solved through good design or guidance in-app.
根据您使用的软件类型,您可能会遇到无法通过良好设计或应用内部指导解决的问题。

Take error troubleshooting, for instance. This has to be the type of technical documentation that gets the highest amount of hits on our knowledge base. That's because whenever possible, we offer the customer a detailed step-by-step solution to help them resolve their error. These solutions can end up getting pretty complex, sometimes requiring that the customer uses scripts or even third-party apps to help solve the issue. But that's the point, right, to
例如,进行错误故障排除。这必须是技术文档的类型,在我们的知识库中获得最高的点击量。这是因为我们尽可能为客户提供详细的逐步解决方案,帮助他们解决错误。这些解决方案最终会变得相当复杂,有时需要客户使用脚本甚至第三方应用程序来帮助解决问题。但这就是重点 solve the issue . It may not be elegant, but the customer has a job to do and we help them get it done. Solving complex errors require detailed solutions you just can't include through the UX alone. That doesn't mean that we leave customers to find the solution themselves --- every time they get an error, you can bet there'll be a link within the app to the exact article that helps them solve it. And as the app evolves, new types of errors are inevitable, and so are new solutions; documented in the knowledge base, of course.
。它可能不是很优雅,但客户有工作要做,我们帮助他们完成工作。解决复杂的错误需要详细的解决方案,而这些解决方案只能通过UX来解决。这并不意味着我们让客户自己找到解决方案 - 每次他们收到错误时,您都可以打赌应用程序中有一个链接可以帮助他们解决问题。随着应用程序的发展,新类型的错误是不可避免的,新的解决方案也是如此;当然,在知识库中记录。

People still like searching for answers on their own

If you look at the statistics, we are still far from the world alluded to in Kesler's piece, where UX is so good that customers do not need technical documentation.
如果你看一下统计数据,我们在Kesler的文章中提到的世界还很远,那里的用户体验非常好,客户不需要技术文档。Study after study has shown the importance customers place on self-service. Essentially, they still have a lot of questions, and they want to be able to find the answers quickly and effectively.
已经表明了客户对自助服务的重视。从本质上讲,他们仍然有很多问题,他们希望能够快速有效地找到答案。

Think about it this way; in-app text and intuitive design help the customer run a specific process in the moment, but it does not answer their wider, broader questions. Take video games as a prime example. As you play, the game will work in tutorials to teach you the controls, how to jump and move forward, and special combos, but it can't (or won't) always help you when you are stuck. Whether it's a maze-like dungeon you can't navigate out of, or a seemingly unbeatable boss, there are things you might need extra help figuring out. That is why intricate guides like those found on
以这种方式思考;应用程序内文本和直观设计帮助客户在当下运行特定流程,但它无法回答更广泛,更广泛的问题。以视频游戏为例。当你玩游戏时,游戏将在教程中用于教你控制,如何跳跃和向前移动,以及特殊组合,但它不能(或不会)在你被困时总是帮助你。无论是一个迷宫般的地牢,你都无法驾驭,或者看似无与伦比的老板,有些事情你可能需要额外的帮助才能搞清楚。这就是为什么复杂的指南,如那些发现IGN are immensely popular.
非常受欢迎。

In software, customers have similar blockers all the time that aren't answered in-app (on a fundamental level of course, unbeatable bosses notwithstanding). Think about questions on licensing, pricing, encryption, data collection, and so on. Linking to an external knowledge base where customers can search for these answers is invaluable.
在软件中,客户一直都有类似的拦截器,这些拦截器在应用程序中没有得到解答(当然,在基本层面上,尽管是无与伦比的老板)。考虑有关许可,定价,加密,数据收集等方面的问题。链接到客户可以搜索这些答案的外部知识库是非常宝贵的。

The price of excluding this essential information from an easy-to-search knowledge base is more calls and emails coming to your Support team. If a question can be answered in the documentation, having the Support team deal with it is not the best use of their time and resources.
从易于搜索的知识库中排除这些重要信息的价格是来自支持团队的更多电话和电子邮件。如果可以在文档中回答问题,那么让支持团队处理它不是最好地利用他们的时间和资源。

Interested to know more about how much technical documentation can help your Support team? Check out my post,
Want to write great technical documentation? Work in Support
.

With integrations, we can now have the best of both worlds

Thanks to apps like
感谢像这样的应用Zendesk allowing you to integrate your knowledge base within an online app, you can marry documentation and UX like never before.
允许您将您的知识库集成到在线应用程序中,您可以前所未有地结合文档和用户体验。

Sure, your UX design should still be smooth, and yes, you should still make the best use of tooltips and in-app wording as you can. But with integrations, when a customer runs into a blocker, they don't even need to leave the app to find help. They can click a button that will trigger a pop-up or drop-down to search the knowledge base, and the answer will be described in a window right within the app.
当然,你的用户体验设计应该仍然流畅,是的,你应该尽可能地充分利用工具提示和应用程序内的措辞。但是通过集成,当客户遇到阻止程序时,他们甚至不需要离开应用程序来寻求帮助。他们可以单击一个按钮,触发弹出窗口或下拉列表以搜索知识库,答案将在应用程序内的窗口中描述。

The industry calls leveraging resources together like this an
业界呼吁像这样一起利用资源omnichannel content strategy. It has been shown to be very effective for customer satisfaction as a whole --- that's because it puts the UX and the technical content to work in unison, not in parallel.
。它已被证明对整体客户满意度非常有效 - 这是因为它使用户体验和技术内容齐心协力而非并行。

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