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API-First & the OAS Approach for Technical Documentation Success with Uwana Ikaiddi, Manager, Developer Documentation at BigCommerce

API-First & the OAS Approach for Technical Documentation Success with Uwana Ikaiddi, Manager, Developer Documentation at BigCommerce

Uwana Ikaiddi, Manager, Developer Documentation at BigCommerce, joins us in this episode of Knowledgebase Ninja Podcast to share her approach API-First and OAS approach for success in documentation, the importance of thinking like a developer as a technical writer and how open sourcing helps in documentation success. Check out all the other episodes here.

Key Facts

  • Uwana’s LinkedIn
  • BigCommerce’s website 
  • Uwana holds a Master’s Degree in Technical Communication from the University of Central Florida
  • Uwana  creates SOPs (standard operating procedures) for documentation specialists
  • Uwana has been associated with technical documentation for over a decade 
  • BigCommerce is one of the largest eCommerce platforms

Key Takeaways

  • Uwana holds a Masters’ Degree in Technical Communication from the University of Central Florida 
  • Uwana has been associated with the technical documentation industry for over a decade now 
  • At BigCommerce, Uwana’s major KPI is creating SOPs and QA mechanisms for documentation specialists
  • At BigCommerce, the documentation specialists thoroughly follow each stage of the documentation development lifecycle 
  • The technical writers at BigCommerce collaborate with various teams simultaneously, including the product, engineering, marketing, learning and development, and customer services teams 
  • Uwana and her team consider a lot of variables while creating a technical document. However, their primary focus is to combine all the variables towards achieving the ultimate goal, which is ensuring the successful rollout of a product
  • Uwana shares that subject matter experts play a major role in producing quality documentation and managing workflow
  • Uwana believes that the accuracy, clarity, and readability of documentation defines its quality
  • Uwana shares two major innovations in technical communications; 
  • BigCommerce has small but effective documentation teams. It consists of four lead writers and two to five writers reporting to each lead 
  • Uwana says that the provided resources may vary from company to company
  • BigCommerce is present in several locations with its sister concerns. Therefore, BigCommerce technical documentation teams ensure that respective regulations are adhered to in order to avoid any possible federal violations 
  • BigCommerce is focused on open-sourcing the documents to ensure that the real-time data is accessible for the users 
  • The ratio between organic and planned traffic at BigCommerce remains 50% for each 
  • Uwana shares that technical writers should understand the developers’ journey to steer documentation creation from a challenge to an achievement

Uwana’s biggest influences

  • Adam DuVander – Principal Consultant at EveryDeveloper 
  • Tom Johnson – I’d Rather Be Writing 
  • Uwana believes that she has learned the most from “ACTUALIZE – The coding boot camp”. She learned to “think like a developer” and “build solutions” instead of simply documenting them. 

Key resource

What documentation-related advice would Uwana give to his 20-year-old self?

“Don’t be afraid to ask the silly questions.This makes you more comfortable and confident in content creation.

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