Web applications frequently have two audiences: end users (consumers) and administrators. End users don’t want to bother with documentation, especially for “simple” tasks such as creating a new account. And while administrators may be more understanding, they also don’t want to deal with documentation for everyday tasks. (They don’t want to refer to documentation just to configure a new property, for example.) And they certainly don’t want to decipher a “self-documenting” developer Java class. Meanwhile, many UI developers don’t have the skills needed to create awesome UI text.
Mike Jang explains that to keep your users happy you need excellent UI text, also known as microcopy. Microcopy can save time—and make the difference in selling an application. Mike shares the lessons he’s learned creating microcopy for a new administrative and end-user web interface and discusses the stakeholders that he had to navigate in order to implement a microcopy style guide for a suite of web applications.
Mike Jang is a senior staff technical writer for ForgeRock, where he documents how deployers can incorporate identity and access management solutions into their systems. To figure out what to write, Mike spends much of his time analyzing and testing new software. He also leads the write the docs meetup team. Write the docs is a global community of people who care about software documentation. With 42 meetups in 11 different time zones, Mike has focused on documenting best practices and helping meetup leaders help each other. Mike has written a couple of dozen technical books, including multiple editions of McGraw-Hill’s RHCSA/RHCE Red Hat Linux Certification Study Guide. He’s also the author of O’Reilly’s Linux Annoyances for Geeks.
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