Hiding Complexity -- A new Simplifying Complexity article
Here’s how the article begins:
While troubleshooting a recent support case, I looked over documentation I’d written nearly a year ago, trying to identify where the user got stuck. I was shocked at how confusing the docs now seemed. The documentation tried to explain query syntax for targeting elements in a media feed that could be either JSON or XML. If the feed was JSON, developers would use one type of query syntax; if the feed was XML, they would use another. The documentation discussed the two approaches in sections one right after another.
This scenario is common in developer docs because you often have multiple languages to account for. You might have a process for calling an API that you need to explain using PHP, Java, .NET, or other languages and frameworks. The general approach might typically be the same, but the code samples and specific technical details will differ….
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.