Thank You Write the Docs!

Reflecting with a room of documentarians

Posted by katjuell on May 23, 2019

This is just a short post to thank the amazing community that gathered this past weekend at the annual Write the Docs conference. I had the privilege of sharing my thoughts about writing, teaching, and editing with this group and received some great feedback and questions in return.

A few people asked me to share my slides and notes, so I want to do that while also reflecting briefly on the conference itself.

Talk Slides & Video

You can find the full slide deck with my notes here.

The recorded talk is here.

Reflections

I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to reflect on the art of documentation with others in the field. Write the Docs brings together a special group that really cares about inclusivity in tech, and the role documentation plays in promoting inclusivity in the field.

Though I touched on the idea of interdisciplinarity in my talk, I enjoyed seeing it in action over the course of the conference, both in the talks themselves and in my conversations with folks from a wide range of backgrounds.

From thinking about the networks and communities that sustain the docs and how to build a business case for our docs, to reflecting on empathy and how to talk to our users, this year's talks represented a diverse range of subjects, viewpoints, and approaches.

This diverse content was complemented by some outstanding lightening talks, and I sincerely hope that we will hear more next year from these folks. For example, I appreciated the chance to think about internal documentation, and how it differs from the external-facing documentation that is typically our point of reference when talking about docs.

As Riona MacNamara's talk made clear, documentation has the potential to break down barriers to entry in the field. The fact that our work is already so varied, and that we ourselves bring such varied backgrounds to it, bodes well for the future of tech. In this brave new future, I hope that all of us can continue working together to pave the way for new users and users who are looking to reinvent themselves.

Until next year, Portland!