Marty Yu, Senior Technical Writer at CrowdStrike, joins us in this episode of Knowledgebase Ninjas Podcast and talks about how essential a style guide is, tips to build one, and how it supports the customer journey.
- Marty’s LinkedIn
- Marty started his professional career in the entertainment space, spending around 30 years before the transition to technical documentation.
- Before CrowdStrike, he worked for Google and ServiceTitan and assisted in developing In-App copy and standardizing writing styles and formatting guidelines for the documentation team.
- “I think as you evolve as a technical writer within your company, a good wiki or style guide is kind of essential as you are providing a good customer experience by having consistency throughout the knowledge product.”
- Style guides are a tough thing to build, especially when you’re first starting your small group, you’re working quickly, and it’s hard to come to get the group together as a consensus and have a solid style guide.
- The time invested in building a good style guide can save a lot of time later. It eliminates the decision fatigue for other writers trying to decide whether to do the Oxford comma or not.
- One of the things they do within the documentation team at CrowdStrike is to build the style guide. It’s like community practice. They have smaller groups within the writing teams, the ones that decide what words we use, another group that decides what our style guide is, one about accessibility, and so on.
- It’s a great way to build things because someone must make that decision and having a small group to do it aids delegation and gives them a sense of ownership. And it breeds a lot of interconnectedness and unity within the teams.
- Along with creating In-App copy, Marty contributes to customer-facing content as well. He suggests ‘relying on customer interviews’ while building user-facing documentation.
- “I watch customer interviews to try to get a sense of why a customer would need a particular feature. That’s where you start. You must also trust your empathetic instincts to put yourself in the customer’s shoes. Once you get the metrics and feedback, you can adjust your documentation to make sure what customers need.”, he says.
- During the interaction, he briefly touched upon technical writing community space as well. In his opinion, there are a lot of amazing communities out there worth exploring and by engaging with them, one can be a better technical writer.
Rapid fire with Marty Yu
- Biggest influence
“I must give due credit to my sister- she’s a technical documentation writer, she got me my first job and explained everything about Technical Writing that I needed to hear. “
- Highly recommended resource
Modern Technical Writing by Andrew Etter
- A piece of advice you would give your 20-year-old self
“Talk less, listen more.”
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