Enhancing the writer-user interaction

User instructions are all about the user and the content, while the technical writer usually remains invisible. But could we perhaps improve the user experience by making the writer more visible and creating a stronger writer-user interaction?

Text by Tytti Suojanen


Image: © photografier/123rf.com

One of the key competencies of technical communicators is to analyze their target audience. Writers should have a command of different user research methods as well as expertise in designing information to meet the needs of the users. These are deciding factors in the design of text and visuals in user instructions, which writers will modify based on feedback from the users. Writers are thus the user’s advocate throughout the documentation cycle.

This user-centered cycle, which is self-evident in technical communication, made me pause: What if we concentrated on the writer for a change? Would we have something to gain if we enhanced the interaction between the writer and user in user instructions? How could writers engage more with their users, keeping in mind the aim of optimal user experience? For enhancing the idea of writer-user interaction, I created the concept of the we-attitude.