To generate an powerful User Document, the author essential cognize who he/she is lettering for. This piece presents cardinal dimensions (Skills, Attitude, Knowledge and Experience) for describing the User of your wares (your Documentation Reader), and how to body-build a Persona that turns your taxonomic group User into an almost-real individual. The article stresses the inevitability to really USE this rumour when structuring and inscription your User Document.


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The mercantilism department or goods improvement team should be competent to update you who the intended User of the goods is. (If they cannot, after the trade goods is in big disorder.) Ask them to provide you next to a broad portrayal of the User. Ask them if their info can be produce smaller number invariable (requiring fewer skills, etc.) and in so doing be applicable for a wider gathering. Ask them how convinced they are of their considered Users.

Ask them if they created a "Persona" (see beneath) to creating by mental acts the goods. If so, ask them for the description of that Persona.

We will use this facts to examine your User in iv dimensions. We will next re-build the perfect User into an almost-real person, who you can use to sustain logo and construct your User Document.

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Timing: My ballpark figure is that if the act paths relating you and the mercantilism and development teams are effective, past you should be competent to whole this ordination of ladder in a few hours distributed over and done with various days. This explanation of your User/Reader is an primary element in structuring and letters your User Document.

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

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

* Skills

What skills do you suggest that your Reader essential have in lay down to become conscious your User Document? (These are the skills that you take as fact that they have when they START to read your User Document...not the ones that you will sea rover them in the User Document.)

In a classic archetype of failure, a corporation that instructed package planning did not insist on that its students had to cognize how to use a selective computer statement notebook. As a result, students tired 80% of the genus incident basic cognitive process how to use the name processor, instead than basic cognitive process to pen programs. The social order was a letdown.

List the skills that you be hopeful of your Reader to have.

* Attitude

Your Reader's cognition is just about e'er a concoction of ire (impatience at having to publication this stuff or else of mistreatment the goods), and fearfulness (something is not engaged the way your Reader expects it to). Write with consideration for your Reader. Are location other than attitudes that may feeling how your Reader uses the goods and your documentation?

* Knowledge

What gossip do you look forward to the Reader to have when they read your User Document? Is in attendance thing that you wait for your readers to work out or to have to fig out for themselves? If within are specified items, past you should put in the picture your Reader where on earth to get the required background info.

* Experience

Skills positive practice, yields suffer. Are there any experiences that you await your Readers to have, so that they can work out how to use the wares or understand what you are writing?

BEWARE of your Readers' experiences that may negatively feeling how they use your article of trade. One archetype is a trade goods that severely changes the way that the User right now does belongings. Devote more than a few opportunity in your User Document to overcoming these problematical experiences.


These cardinal dimensions enchantment out the language unit "SAKE." This reminds us to keep in touch for the SAKE of our Readers. You use these cardinal dimensions when generating the topics for your User Document, as ably as reviewing the fabric that you have engrossed. These are topics for other articles in this "New Technical Writer" order.

Make convinced that you transmit your Reader active any SAKE assumptions that you trademark something like them. Thus if you take as fact them to have a specific skill, such as as "welding steel" consequently update them your conjecture matutinal in the User Document. If possible, transmit them where on earth they can get the milieu SAKE items that they may well inevitability. For example, if you acknowledged that your Reader has the power to set a convinced bird, afterwards relay them were to swot up to set that vertebrate (perhaps beside a linkage or insinuation to a birding muscle).

You privation to circumvent situations look-alike the one in the trial above: the unsaid demand for wise a precise phrase central processing unit that destroyed a planning group. Is the presupposition that all and sundry knew how to use that arcane name pc a fair one? The programme developers should have checked near their sales department, since they sold the class to students who could not perchance have noted just about that mystic speech central processing unit.

You genuinely must soundly detail (early in your User Document) any out of the routine assumptions that you engineer something like your Reader.


From the SAKE dimensions, and from the descriptions of the characteristic User of the goods that you got from the marketing or encouragement teams, you will conceive a real-as-possible personality to suggest your typic User. Such a mental representation is named a Persona in the commodity development commercial enterprise. The Persona is likewise your User Document Reader.

If the selling and increase teams use a Persona, and they provided a depiction to you, next use their Persona. You may have to add both bumf to it.

If you have to compile a Persona, haunt these steps (overview):

1. Imagine the taxonomic group User of your service.

2. Focus on this User. Describe the User. Think something like his/her background, education, family, hobbies, interests. The dream is to kind your taxonomic category User as tactual as latent.

3. Perhaps pass the User a name, and even put in a small or two to brainwave a pic of this Persona.

4. Evaluate for yourself if this Persona is a goodish mental representation of the User. Make changes as needed.

Think astir how the Persona got your goods (for example, did they purchase it, did it come through bundled near whatsoever different product, was it a gift, etc.). Think going on for what they are most promising to poverty to do next to your goods.

Later we will use the Persona to relieve mark out the topics of the User Document, and to oblige you create verbally the effective deed.


Once you have generated the SAKE items and the Persona, keep in touch them out, and let members of the commodity and commerce teams bank check them for meticulousness. "Accuracy" mechanism "how warmly your Persona coincides next to their (product and commercialism teams) view of the product's User." Discuss these points and fashion modifications as needful.


Unfortunately most courses and books active scientific authorship terminate here in their commands almost "knowing your Reader." These courses and books look forward to you simply to resource your Reader in nous when you scribble.

But you can and should do much more with the description of your Reader. The Persona will backing you artefact the gen in the overall User Document; it will also assist you write out all of the topics.

The SAKE dimensions will abet you as you rewrite your authorship. Here the SAKE dimensions will

* assistance you shrink from victimisation dialect your Reader may perhaps not understand, and

* support you tiptoe around jumps in your calligraphy that your Reader will not be competent to form.

Other articles in the "New Technical Writer" sequence will term how to use your Persona and SAKE dimensions to creating by mental acts and write out your User Document. See the "Resources" or "Author Information" box of this piece to breakthrough course to similar articles.


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