Hi, I'm Victor Westmann

Instructional Designer and Technical Writer freelancer for 10+ years.
Curious and versatile.

Concepts

Back in the day documentation material was mainly offline, static and boring. Now documentation is online and, sometimes, comes with explanatory videos to reinforce some concept or idea. However tutorials, help guides, or documentation -- beautifully designed (or not) -- still needs to follow some guidelines. Style, numbering, hierarchy of topics and breaking down complex concepts in smaller ones are still extremely important for a clean reading and comprehension of your audience.

Documentation

I document software since 2005 and have a passion for it. In my early days the tools I used were Adobe Captivate (1.0), Robohelp, MadCap Flare and Camtasia. I've also used PasDoc in the very beginning of my career. Now things have evolved a lot. Everything has changed and now documentation is online, fast and reliable.

Tools of the trade

I'm passionate about open source software and, in smaller projects (or with less budget), I use it to help create assets for the materials I produce. Of course I will use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator if they are at hand. But it doesn't mean there isn't a lot of value in also using famous and popular Open Source projects (such as Gimp, Inkscape and MyPaint for example) to get the work done.

What I do

All the steps I take prior to creating a technical material are:

1. Planning

In what medias will the docs be published (print, offline, manual, mobile)? What needs to be done? What are the guidelines to follow?

2. Drafting

High level list of topics covered by the material. Leave placeholders in information gaps when needed.

3. Reviewing

Complex topics or new content with constant information flux demand more reviews.

4. Revising

Once the initial drafts are approved and this phase is done it's time to offer the material for someone who was not involved in the previous stages of the document elaboration to read the material and give some feedback. Make adjustments when needed.

5. Editing

When initial reviews were done and material has matured it's time to send the content for the technical editor or a direct supervisor to check grammar/spelling mistakes, styles, terminology, structure and overall organization.

6. Publishing/Maintaining

Your document was reviewed multiple times, revised and edited. It's time to publish it. Now the caution is directed to keep the documentation always up to date with newer product updates.

Get in touch

Need to make a technical material or documentation for your new software, SaaS portal or API? Send me a message.