Using Personas to Create User Documentation

The most recent edition of the Cooper
(2004, Issue 4) from Cooper
has a great article that expands on the principle that a writer should know
their audience:

Personas to Create User Documentation

by Steve Calde

Personas and other
user-modeling techniques are often solely discussed as tools for product
development, but they are useful tools in other arenas, as well. Technical
writers responsible for writing user documentation can benefit greatly from a
well-defined persona set, too.


And Steve Calde is right - defining your audience
is not as easy as it sounds. In the past, writing for Visual Studio meant
writing for developers and software architects. With Visual Studio Team System,
we're having to understand a wider audience than before, including testers,
project managers, infrastructure architects and project stakeholders. As
such, we're finding that our persona set is "large and varied" with some areas
that are specific to a single persona (server administration) and others that
are broad (work item tracking).

If you want to learn more about personas, get this book
and read it:

About Face
2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design

Hey - this is post 200!

btw, after a spate of porn spamming earlier today, I've
switched this blog to moderated comments for the time being. Thanks for your


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