How to Write Documentation for People that Don't Read


It[HTML REMOVED]s 3AM, do you know where your users are? If people want to learn how to use your product, where are they looking for help? Are they on your site, and if they[HTML REMOVED]re on your site, are they finding the right page? Usability researchers have known for decades that users don[HTML REMOVED]t read word by word - they scan for the content they want. If users can[HTML REMOVED]t make heads or tails of your documentation, they[HTML REMOVED]ll give up (a loss of revenue), remain ignorant of product features (another loss of revenue) or ask needless support questions (an increased cost). In this talk we[HTML REMOVED]ll examine the findability of your documentation, and the text on the pages in your documentation. We[HTML REMOVED]ll examine usability research into how users read, look at several ways your documentation is failing busy users, and the lessons I learned conducting user tests at Twilio. We[HTML REMOVED]ll learn more about how users find the answers they are looking for, and the importance of spreading clear writing across not just your documentation, but your headlines and error messages in your API.