In the modern, fast-paced world, product life cycles are getting shorter and products
get widely customized.
This speed in product evolution and diversity in customization imposes new challenges on
documentation. A topic-oriented approach is key to cope
with speed and versatility of today's product development.
Product documentation is the bridge between customers
and your product.
Different audiences demand different writing styles. An assembly guide targeted towards a craftsman might be very different from the consumer manual of the same product. Before I write the first line, I analyze the audience in-depth and learn their way of thinking.
Technical documentation needs to be planned thoroughly. When users are running into problems, technical documentation must give the right answers, quickly and comprehensively. The right document structure, a language precisely matching the customers' voice, well-crafted illustrations and a pleasing layout are are vital in achieving this.
Mechanical Engineering and Construction
Many companies have specific requirements towards technical documentation, such as regulations conformity of industrial machinery. In general, this includes performing a hazard analysis the document structure will be based on. In interviews with engineers and production managers I condense relevant information, make photographs, sketch illustrations where appropriate and begin the writing.
Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunications
Administrator manuals, software manuals and API documentation are challenging for a technical writer. Writers must be capable of extracting only the relevant information from specifications, and should be adept to reading generic programming code.
Consumers may be totally illiterate to a technology or they may be experts in the field. Prerequisite knowledge of consumers is difficult to predict. An excellent manual addresses all possible audiences equally. I know techniques to achieve this goal seamlessly.
Layout, colors and styles must match the corporate identity (CI) of your company. I design them according to your already existing style guides, or develop them for you from scratch.
To manage a huge documentation project, the workload needs to be shared across a team of writers. As a project manager, I handle project coordination and assign document chapters and other tasks to a team of expert writers.
Catalogues, Brochures, Public Relations and the Web Speak their own Language.
It is not always easy to find the right tone, especially when it comes to technical products and services. My writing style is fresh, engaging, and always keeps reputable.
More and more businesses understand that public relations can be a great marketing tool. I am specialized in writing press releases for technical products and services.
Catalogues and Brochures
A brochure should make readers curious. The writing style is vivid and the layout is appealing. With complex technical products this can get really challenging. I can help you master that challenge.
I help you picking what information goes into the brochure – and sometimes more important – what not. I create the concept, layout and copy for you. Keeping the tone technical but engaging at the same time.
Web Pages and Blog Articles
I write engaging copy for your Web pages and blog articles. Web content has different rules as how readers consume information. I know the pitfalls and can help you mitigate them. Web content should create attention without overtaxing the reader, it has much in common with the language that can be found in technical magazines.
I support the complete life cycle of your blog, installation, hosting and maintenance. I customize popular blog engines to your requirements, such as using your own templates, design and custom functionality.
Today, print is not the first choice for publishing product information anymore. There are different channels to address, such as the Web, and HTML5. This requires a new skill set for corporate copy writers.
In the first place, a technical writer does not know much about the product. And this is their greatest advantage. They can see the product from the reader's point of view. By trying things out themselves and asking the right questions, a technical writer is an explorer who always keeps the reader's perspective in mind. A common understanding for technical processes, an uncanny will to learn new things and an infant curiosity are the writer's arsenal of tools to assist and advise you with your documentation needs.
Yes, I can spell, right? You might think so. Of course, you learned reading and writing! Documents for business processes and product copy often work very differently. For instance, what is the right number of sections for this document, how deep should sections ideally be nested, when is the right use of a decision table, a diagram? Questions we often do not take the time to ponder about too much.
But it is the document structure, the structural elements and the use of normalized text modules that are critical making a document easily understood and accepted by your audience, be it your customers or in-house peers. In on-site trainings I teach you simple to adopt techniques that help you write more concisely and more effectively, and I introduce you to its scientific foundation.
You may ask, why do I get so few responses to my newsletters – be it post mail or email? You've already tried everything to increase the response rate, but nothing really worked out?
This may be an indicator that your document structure or use of phrases can be optimized. Here, the difficulty lies in the detail, just changing a single phrase or clearing the document structure a little, can have a huge impact. I show you the tricks to improve customer dialog and explain why some things work – and others do not.
Single Source Publishing
In times of 'Web 2.0' new challenges for technical and in-house documentation arise. Print is not the first choice anymore when it comes to deliver content, be it the Web, intranet or a dedicated app. These new output formats offer elegant search capabilities and new forms of interactive presentation. Publishing to different output formats from a single source gets mandatory. Documents are not authored in a classic word processor anymore, it is the semantic-rich XML-editors in combination with sophisticated content management systems (CMS), leveraging standards like DITA, that are gaining traction.
I can help you find the right tools to implement single source publishing in your company and give advice on how to publish for post-PC iOS and Android devices.
I co-authored the online manual for the Ericsson Customer Management System (ECMS). We used an XML-based content management system with a customized semantic syntax. The manual comprises the installation of hard- and software, detailed product description, user tasks and configuration to connect with other Ericsson systems.
For Nokia-Siemens-Networks I wrote manuals for several software systems using Adobe Framemaker embedded into a custom CMS. The manuals describe the inner workings and administration of telcom software systems, such as voice-controlled menus, billing, prepaid and postpaid management systems.
Nokia Siemens Networks provides complex hard- and software systems for the telcom industry. Engineers use a custom Web application to design and plan IP networks for their customers efficiently. I authored the online-help for the Web application in Adobe RoboHelp. It comprises of how-tos and an exhaustive reference.
Köberlein & Seigert
The Collet Stepfeeder supports mounting collets to valves of engines for agricultural utility vehicles. I wrote a CE-conform operations manual including step-by-step, safety and maintenance instructions.
Varian Medical Systems
I authored and revised several manuals for Varian oncology appliances and medical imaging systems that have to comply medical regulations.