Jean-Pierre is a technical writer at INSTRKTIV and enjoys working for companies that outsource their manual creation.
He spends fixed days each week providing capacity to companies that need help with their documentation. We asked him all about how he helps product owners and engineers balance their workload, create impressive manuals and other documentation for innovative products and boosting team efficiency.
Why is it interesting to work with companies that outsource their manual creation?
The best thing about working this way is that you are as much involved in the company as its employees are, so can contribute on a very wide level. Outsourced technical writers keep more than just the end-user in mind.
The upside of spending a day or two per week with a company is that I develop a close working relationship with engineers and product managers, and I feel much more involved with the brand as well. This allows me to produce higher-quality manuals that are more in line with brand design and identity.
Can you tell us something about the companies you work with?
I spend fixed days each week providing expertise to Seijsener and EVBox. Both are Dutch companies that create interesting products.
EVBox supplies charging stations for electric vehicles. They offer charging solutions on a residential level but also for businesses, commercial parking, fuel retailers, and fleets.
Seijsener provides leisure technology for campsites, motorhome sites, ports, and marinas. Some of their solutions are caravan hook-ups, marina pedestals, EV charging products, and access and payment systems.
I am able to create superior manuals for these companies because they put a great deal of effort into showing consumers that their custom products are well thought out and that they go the extra mile to eliminate any possible issues or safety concerns.
Why should companies opt for outsourcing?
Technical writing isn’t something that comes naturally to most engineers. Allowing them to focus on their expertise and unburdening them from writing tasks can prevent pressure, stress, and work overload.
Adhering to deadlines
Manual creation involves more than product knowledge and writing skills. It requires a great deal of planning skills as well. Adhering to deadlines can be a challenge when designers, illustrators and translators are involved in the process as well. A good technical writer will understand how to manage such resources within the given timeframe to ensure that deadlines are met.
Businesses that can’t afford to hire a full-time technical writer can take advantage of the expertise of an outsourced writer on the fixed days that they work together. This way, businesses can have an expert on board within their budget and save costs.
Another important element of manual creation is compliance with legal requirements. Technical writers are familiar with all laws, regulations, and standards that need to be adhered to when developing instructions for the EU or any other market worldwide. They are also up to date with industry trends and best practices when it comes to user instructions. Personally, I can point out legal challenges before they arise, thanks to my experience as a lawyer.
Prevention over cure
Before the writing process starts, a technical writer will make sure that they understand everything about the product, its purpose, and the way it should be used. After all, if a product is not used the way it is intended to, it essentially loses its value and this can put a huge strain on the company’s customer support services.
User instructions shouldn’t be an afterthought. They are an essential part of the design and production process. By having a technical writer on board from the early stages of product development, the chance of issues or safety concerns can be reduced to a minimum. In the end, a safe product is better than an unsafe product with a safety warning.
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Are there other benefits for companies to consider?
The added benefit of having a technical writer on board is that they are usually widely deployable. They often have a curious nature and a wide range of interests that a company can use to their advantage. For instance, for Seijsener, I also provide research activities and strategic consultancy. I have created presentations that were used to promote the company on fairs.
For EVBox, I also work on UX/UI copy. It’s a lot of fun to work with their design team. I really enjoyed writing the content for their app store as well. A writer who is skillful with a variety of documentation can be a huge asset to other parts of the business. I always try to bring in positive energy. And because I have the privilege of being an outsider, I can set things in motion that would otherwise have been left behind.
Are your engineers still writing their own user manuals and are you interested in the outsourcing possibilities for your company? Get in touch for a free consultation.
Founder of INSTRKTIV and keen to help users become experts in the use of a product, and thus to contribute to a positive user experience. Eager to help organisations to reduce their product liability. Just loves cooking, travel, and music--especially electronic. You can also find him on:
Profile Page, Linkedin, Instagram and Twitter!
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