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Podcast: Analyzing Your Users and Needs Before Creating the Help Deliverables; Interview with Nicky Bleiel

May 31, 2008 • podcasts, web-design

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Duration: 10 min.

With all the buzz about web 2.0 deliverables, it's easy to get caught up in the frenzy and think we need to quickly create blogs, wikis, social networks, podcasts, videos, and other new media for our users. Actually, we have to step back and analyze our users and their needs before creating any help deliverables at all.

In this podcast, Nicky Bleiel says we should talk to as many users as we can — conducting on-site visits, sending surveys, gathering information from Marketing, Support, and other departments — so we can have a better understanding of our users' needs and the formats and mediums that will work best for them. After completing this audience and needs analysis, we can then go out and create the deliverables that will best serve our users.

She also recommends the book Groundswell, by Charlene Li and Josh Burnoff, to get a better understanding of how to measure web 2.0 success.

Nicky Bleiel is an STC director at large and works for ComponentOne, which makes the Doc-to-Help authoring software. For more information on Nicky Bleiel, see her bio page and visit her new blog.

Note: I recorded this podcast at Doc Train West 2008 in Vancouver, Canada.

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Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in , API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.