To make an influential User Document, the author must cognize who he/she is composition for. This piece presents cardinal dimensions (Skills, Attitude, Knowledge and Experience) for describing the User of your article of trade (your Documentation Reader), and how to body-build a Persona that turns your generic User into an almost-real cause. The piece stresses the call for to in truth USE this intelligence when structuring and message your User Document.


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The merchandising division or goods expansion team should be competent to tell you who the certain User of the product is. (If they cannot, later the goods is in big bother.) Ask them to make available you next to a whole write-up of the User. Ask them if their gloss can be formulate smaller quantity controlling (requiring not as much of skills, etc.) and gum be applicable for a wider assemblage. Ask them how firm they are of their premeditated Users.

Ask them if they created a "Persona" (see below) to design the goods. If so, ask them for the demarcation of that Persona.

We will use this facts to study your User in cardinal dimensions. We will past re-build the wonderful User into an almost-real person, who you can use to give support to logo and exchange letters your User Document.

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Timing: My ballpark figure is that if the contact paths relating you and the selling and nurturing teams are effective, next you should be competent to inclusive this succession of stairway in a few work time coat finished several days. This gloss of your User/Reader is an vital part in structuring and letters your User Document.

THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF YOUR USER (Reader of your Document)

Four dimensions limit your User/Reader. These dimensions are:

* Skills

What skills do you accept that your Reader essential have in charge to construe your User Document? (These are the skills that you anticipate that they have when they START to read your User Document...not the ones that you will tutor them in the User Document.)

In a classical standard of failure, a firm that educated package scheduling did not contract that its students had to cognise how to use a extraordinary machine declaration workstation. As a result, students fagged 80% of the group juncture study how to use the declaration processor, a bit than study to keep in touch programs. The tutorial was a nonaccomplishment.

List the skills that you wait for your Reader to have.

* Attitude

Your Reader's cognition is well-nigh always a muddle of choler (impatience at having to publication this force as an alternative of victimisation the commodity), and shock (something is not working the way your Reader expects it to). Write with kindness for your Reader. Are location else attitudes that may feeling how your Reader uses the article of trade and your documentation?

* Knowledge

What substance do you predict the Reader to have when they publication your User Document? Is in attendance thing that you wish your readers to appreciate or to have to illustration out for themselves? If there are such items, later you should bring up to date your Reader wherever to get the required perspective reports.

* Experience

Skills positive practice, yields suffer. Are near any experiences that you anticipate your Readers to have, so that they can get how to use the service or work out what you are writing?

BEWARE of your Readers' experiences that may negatively feeling how they use your service. One paradigm is a goods that significantly changes the way that the User currently does property. Devote any universe in your User Document to overcoming these debatable experiences.


These iv dimensions enchantment out the name "SAKE." This reminds us to write out for the SAKE of our Readers. You use these iv dimensions when generating the topics for your User Document, as economically as reviewing the material that you have transcribed. These are topics for remaining articles in this "New Technical Writer" run.

Make positive that you tell your Reader going on for any SAKE assumptions that you construct going on for them. Thus if you suppose them to have a outstanding skill, specified as "welding steel" consequently recount them your supposition earlyish in the User Document. If possible, enlighten them where they can get the situation SAKE items that they power call for. For example, if you acknowledged that your Reader has the flair to set a guaranteed bird, past archer them were to larn to place that bird (perhaps beside a link or quotation to a birding influence).

You poorness to abstain from situations resembling the one in the prototype above: the implicit arrangement for informed a peculiar statement concern that sunk a programing socio-economic class. Is the deduction that every person knew how to use that secret speech processor a valid one? The curriculum developers should have restrained near their gross sales department, since they sold the educational activity to students who could not credibly have far-famed in the order of that mystic idiom central processing unit.

You truly must patently nation state (early in your User Document) any out of the ordinary assumptions that you form roughly speaking your Reader.


From the SAKE dimensions, and from the descriptions of the archetypal User of the goods that you got from the selling or nurturing teams, you will compose a real-as-possible soul to be a sign of your characteristic User. Such a likeness is titled a Persona in the wares advancement industry. The Persona is as well your User Document Reader.

If the merchandising and growth teams use a Persona, and they provided a demarcation to you, after use their Persona. You may have to add both classification to it.

If you have to build a Persona, trail these stairs (overview):

1. Imagine the taxon User of your goods.

2. Focus on this User. Describe the User. Think active his/her background, education, family, hobbies, interests. The objective is to build your taxon User as tactual as attainable.

3. Perhaps bequeath the User a name, and even pass a minuscule or two to brainwave a picture of this Persona.

4. Evaluate for yourself if this Persona is a smashing visual rendering of the User. Make changes as indispensable.

Think nearly how the Persona got your goods (for example, did they purchase it, did it come bundled next to numerous different product, was it a gift, etc.). Think going on for what they are utmost possible to deprivation to do beside your merchandise.

Later we will use the Persona to back describe the topics of the User Document, and to help you communicate the very workbook.


Once you have generated the SAKE items and the Persona, keep up a correspondence them out, and let members of the commodity and commercialism teams scrutinize them for quality. "Accuracy" routine "how familiarly your Persona coincides with their (product and commerce teams) landscape of the product's User." Discuss these points and sort modifications as required.


Unfortunately furthermost courses and books around logical lettering ending here in their guidelines active "knowing your Reader." These courses and books predict you simply to livelihood your Reader in head when you compose.

But you can and should do untold more near the gloss of your Reader. The Persona will back you support the reports in the overall User Document; it will as well minister to you keep in touch all of the topics.

The SAKE dimensions will help out you as you rewrite your writing. Here the SAKE dimensions will

* oblige you get round using talking your Reader might not understand, and

* support you prevaricate jumps in your calligraphy that your Reader will not be competent to breed.

Other articles in the "New Technical Writer" progression will depict how to use your Persona and SAKE dimensions to image and compose your User Document. See the "Resources" or "Author Information" slot of this article to brainwave golf links to connate articles.

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