A Note from the Editor

Your audience, users, readers, consumers, customers, clients, regardless of what you and your company call them, we would be unnecessary without them. They are the source of the revenue that our companies generate.

Given how important our audiences are, doesn’t it make sense that we:

  • Understand as much about them and their needs as possible;
  • Deliver the most valuable content to them; and
  • Ensure their wild success with our companies’ products and services?

Delivering value and ensuring the audience’s success is entirely dependent on our ability to understand them and their needs. And that’s what this issue is all about!

To start us off, Yoel Strimling, Senior Technical Editor at CEVA Inc., gives us a peek inside the minds of some users who provided him with insights about what’s most important to them in documentation. He uses that research and delves into a data quality model to determine whether that model addresses the key concerns of users and can be used to improve documentation quality.

Next up, Joe Devney, a linguistic consultant, shows us how we can use the maxims of conversational cooperation to ensure that our content is hitting the mark with our users. And he even reveals a bit about what makes our everyday conversations work!

Kumar Dhanagopal, Consulting User Assistance Developer at Oracle America, provides his evaluation of various tools that can help us gain valuable insights into our audience, giving you a ranked toolbox to apply in your next project.

Danielle Brighton, newly minted Master’s degree holder, discusses ways in which we can help our users to engage with our products and services beyond simply using them “correctly,” creating manuals that disrupt and provide new levels of value to users who need that level of information.

Finally, William Hart, PhD student at Fielding Graduate University, explores various dimensions of gender bias and how we can avoid it—not just for users, but also for position descriptions in order to attract diverse job candidates.

We also have four columns for you in this issue:

  • Thomas Barker discusses the tricky work of understanding audiences in risk communication.
  • Michelle Corbin reminds us that everything we do, and every decision we make, depends on our users.
  • Cindy Currie and Kit Brown-Hoekstra dispense invaluable management advice for those seeking a new role in management and for those who need to push back on a manager.
  • Jeanette Evans and Charles Dull discuss trust in technology and give us a bonus ride through the land of blockchain.

The feature authors, columnists, and I would love to hear from you! We provide our email addresses so that you can get in touch. We would also love to discuss any articles with you online. You can comment on the Web version of any article. Start or join a conversation! I’ll be looking for you!

Until then, enjoy the issue!

— Andrea L. Ames


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