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

Category: Podcast

Last updated on Oct 27, 2022

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

Also Read: Ultimate Guide To Create an API Documentation with Examples

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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Gowri Ramkumar

Apr 16, 2021

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