Learn about @straygoat
Learn about @straygoat
What are you looking for in a technical writer?
Let me guess.
You want someone who can quickly understand complex technical information and make it more accessible to your customers. They also need to be proactive, able to work well with your experts, and up to speed with technical communication tools.
If that’s where you’re at, I could be the just the person you’re looking for.
What’s my approach to content?
The most important thing you need to realise about your content is that it’s not for you. It’s for your customers. So it has to be written to capture their attention and answer their questions. It needs to be easy to read too, because even your most educated customers are busy. And busy people don’t have the time to make that extra effort to read complex sentences.
I take a user-centred approach to content. I figure out who your customers are and what they want, and from there work backwards towards the message you want to send out.
It’s all about making life as easy as possible for your customers.
Lots of technical writers enter the profession from other careers and pick up the skills as they go along. I’m not one of those. I studied Technical Communication at university, and went straight into work as a technical writer. I’ve been a technical writer for over 20 years now, and you can benefit from my experience on a wide range of projects. I’ll summarise the main ones below.
Technical Writing Projects
- SCADA software – online help and user guides. SCADA software is used in industry for monitoring and controlling systems and buildings. They use it in the gas, water, and oil industries.
- Free-air systems – user guides and online help for physical systems and software used for cooling data centres. Similar to SCADA systems, with IoT technology too.
- Financial software – online help for software used in the financial industry.
- Camera sync hardware – user guides and help articles for time sync devices used in the film and TV industry
- NHS out of hours service – online help system for out of hours doctors, receptionists, drivers, etc. Work procedures documentation.
- Blogs and web content for free-air cooling specialists
- Blogs, web content, video scripts for national scrap car network (recycling, disposal, etc.)
- Web content for stage illusionist
- Promotional copy for cycling-related devices
- Web copy for jewellery company
- Brochure copy for meeting room technology company
- Web copy for taxi company.
Some technical authoring tools are complicated to use. If you already use an advanced authoring tool, you’ll probably have a preference for hiring a writer who has experience of that tool. It makes sense, as the learning curve is going to be much less.
My favourite tools at the moment are Paligo and MadCap Flare. I’m a certified MadCap Flare user (v11) and I’ve been working in Paligo for over a year now. Paligo is pure XML (structured text), so if you work in DITA it won’t be such a leap for me to adapt to that.
For user guides, I can use Flare or Paligo, and I have also worked with Adobe InDesign, Adobe FrameMaker, and MS Word.
I am passionate about writing and have an interest in technology, but what else takes up my time? Well, I have two rescue dogs, so they need looking after. I’m a sucker for dogs.
To relax, I like gaming and watching TV shows, especially crime shows and Nordic Noir. Love football, but can’t play anymore (injuries and age!). Not so keen on the gym, but go regularly to compensate for sitting down writing for hours on end.
I’m here to help. Tell me what you need
Tell me about your documentation problems and I’ll try to solve them for you. I’m happy to start new projects or to help on projects that are already up and running.