Updated glossary article with technical examples [API doc course]
I revisited the original page on glossaries in my API doc course -- see API glossaries -- and expanded the content with many technical examples about how to single source glossary content from a single YAML file. I added examples for integrating tooltips and popovers as well, added more discussion, analysis, additional reading, and other updates overall. Although this page appears within my API course, the content could be applied to non-API docs and sites as well.
My life story, or reflections on what shaped my life's career trajectory
The paths I took in life depend in part of the family dynamics of my childhood, my interest in writing, and a career in tech. In this post, I try to trace the lines from my childhood to present day to understand what pulled me in the directions I took.
Analyzing doc portals by looking at developer journeys -- recommended podcast episode from Cherryleaf
Podcast 104 - Fixing broken developer portals, in Ellis Pratt's Cherryleaf podcast, is well worth listening to. Ellis explains a strategy of analyzing developer portals by looking at the developer journeys within the portal and identifying gaps or friction points in that journey.
Some good decisions and minor mistakes
During my transition time between Amazon and Google, I decided to create a brief list of some good decisions and minor mistakes during my five years at Amazon. This is a brief list, without much elaboration, but I think it's still valuable.
10 observations after using my API documentation checklist in a real scenario
I recently published a comprehensive checklist for evaluating documentation quality (the section starts here). In this section, I noted that my perspective is more evolving and experiential, which was good to note because when I tried to actually use the checklist, I realized a few shortcomings that I needed to address. Here are my 10 observations.
Adding last modified timestamps to content
Recently I received feedback from someone saying that they couldn't tell when my API documentation quality checklist article was published. This was embarrassing to me because printing timestamps on pages was one of the quality characteristics in the checklist. So I decided to add last-modified timestamps to every page. Unfortunately, this is a much harder task than it initially seems.
Product overviews -- a tricky space where documentation and marketing overlap
I recently re-wrote the article about product overviews in my API docs course, giving the article much more depth and discussion. I also included a survey to gather your feedback about my viewpoints with the product overview.
Q&A about Xeditor -- online XML editor -- with founder Matthias Kraus
A few years ago, I posted an article about Xeditor titled Xeditor, a CMS editor for XML content. In this post, I follow up about Xeditor with a Q&A with the founder, Matthias Kraus. The exchange here goes in-depth about Xeditor's origins, audience, latest enhancements, roadmap, and more.
Write the Docs Podcast episode 33: Simplified user interfaces, with Anton Bollen
Write the Docs Podcast episode 33 is available. In this podcast, we chat with Anton Bollen from Techsmith about using simplified user interfaces with screenshots. A simplified user interface reduces the unimportant elements so the user's attention focuses only on what matters.
Site analytics for 2020 -- trends, reflections, and thoughts
At the beginning of each year, I update my site analytics information (pulled from Google Analytics) and analyze traffic trends, user data, and any other information for my site. These analytics sometimes influence what I focus on for the upcoming year. This year, not much changed in terms of site analytics (which is a good thing). I also have a few simple thoughts on the year ahead.
Measuring documentation quality -- a rubric for developer docs
I recently added a much-needed topic in my API course: a list of criteria for assessing API documentation quality. This list has 80 characteristics sorted into the following categories: Findability, Accuracy, Relevance, Clarity, Completeness, and Readability. I also describe ways to score and assess the docs for quantitative measurements.
Cherryleaf collects tech writer goals for 2021
Ellis Pratt's latest episode of Cherryleaf lists goals that technical writers have for 2021. Rather than just listing each response, Ellis reads these responses while walking in some historic setting and peppers in historical asides to break up the responses.
Moving to Seattle and making housing decisions using virtual tools
Many people and companies are moving out of California right now. For example, Tesla, Oracle, HP, Palantir, and others are moving headquarters to other locations (mostly Texas), as are many tech workers. Reasons for the migration include high state income taxes, government regulation, constant fires, and more. Also, the high cost of living is hard to justify during the work-from-home model of the pandemic. You can read many articles about an exodus from Silicon Valley. This post isn't about the merits of California but is instead a more personal post about moving to Seattle and how to look at areas virtually. When you're moving and trying to decide about locations, can you make informed decisions using virtual tools alone? These tools could include mapping tools as well as VR tools that offer immersive street views of the areas. What information can't you gather through virtual explorations of an area?
Job transition: from Amazon to Google
I recently switched jobs from Amazon to Google. I'm still in the Bay area right now, but in a couple of weeks I'll be relocating to Seattle. I had been at Amazon in Sunnyvale for nearly 5 years and was ready for a change. Plus, I've always been captivated by the ambitiousness of Google. I will continue to post regularly on my blog and API course. Just a reminder: my views are always my own and never any representation of a company. I'm excited for the upcoming challenges and other new encounters at Google. I like experiences that reshape my thinking processes, invite me to try new things, and present challenges to overcome.
Content Strategy Insights podcast with Larry Swanson about API documentation
Larry Swanson, a UX content strategist, runs a podcast called Content Strategy Insights. Larry recently interviewed me a few weeks ago about various topics related to API documentation.