With new technology emerging seemingly by the week, production education is now more important than ever before. Producing great technical content on a consistent basis is hard, but it’s crucial to ensuring developers of all skill levels are successfully able to use your product.
Below are some tips to help you level up your technical content and increase platform adoption among developers.
Identify a Need and Address It
Great technical content should be both useful and relevant to your audience. In order to identify what content best suits your audience, you’ll likely have to do a little bit of discovery with your users. In your discovery, you’ll want to start by uncovering common product questions and use cases. You may want to narrow down your audience among your larger user base into segments to help you identify common use cases. From there, you can always broaden the topic to expand your audience reach.
In general, the right data will help you identify where technical content is needed. Quantitative metrics like average time-on-page or bounce rate for instance will help you paint a picture both of how your content is being used and whether or not it’s effective. Engagement metrics like clicks are another great measurement to utilize when evaluating a piece of content. Active engagement across your user base is a good indicator that your content is both relevant and useful for your audience.
Creating Accessible Technical Content
Good technical content should serve as both a marketing and utility channel, casting a wide net and helping to attract new users, while at the same time helping existing users to accomplish their product goals once they’ve already started using it. By making your content accessible to developers of all skill levels, your content can serve both of these purposes.
Part of making technical content accessible is in literally increasing the number of people who can access your content. Accessibility, often abbreviated to A11y, refers directly to enabling the maximum number of people to use your content, regardless of their own limitations. This form of accessibility certainly applies to making your content available to those with physical and cognitive disabilities but also includes enabling those with slow network connections or those with or without mobile devices. Tools like screen magnifiers and screen readers for the visually impaired or textualization and closed-captioning for the hearing impaired, for instance, can help make sure anyone who finds your content can use it to their benefit.
The second form of accessibility refers to the ability of people of all skill levels to utilize your content. Even 20-year industry veterans need resources to educate them about a product! Making your content accessible to developers of all skill levels will only further increase the number of people who can benefit from it. Here is a great example of an accessible piece of content from Postman.
Below are 4 best practices to follow when attempting to create accessible technical content for developers of all skill levels.
1. Build your content in layers. Explain your concepts at a high level, but also explain each individual step in detail. Showing every step, regardless of how simple, can help ensure your content is accessible to both beginners and expert developers.
2. Show and tell. Show your code, don’t just explain it! Showing your code in action, while also explaining what the code is actually doing and how it works, will help you capture the full spectrum of what you are trying to teach.
3. Include both visual and written features. Images and screenshots go a long way to making technical content easy to follow, and animated GIFs and videos are even better.
4. Take an outside perspective. Put yourself in the shoes of a beginner and try to follow along – see if you are able to do so without leaning on your own background and experience. Since most people writing technical content are fairly experienced, it is often easy to forget about all of the things which come naturally to you!
To test the accessibility of your content, find a friend or user who is just learning to code and ask them to read or follow your tutorial. Ask them to take notes on where they got stuck or steps that required additional research. They will give you the information you need to ensure your content works for everyone.
Provide Next steps and Additional Resources
No piece of content is ever going to include everything, so it is always a great idea for your content to reference relevant resources at the end. Providing clear next steps after a user completes a piece of content is a great way to make sure developers continue to stay engaged with your product. If you’ve done your job well, and the content is accessible for all skill-levels, developers will be able to return back to your content at any stage of their learning journey and learn something new.
If you’re interested in getting your technical content in front of hackers everywhere, Major League Hacking can help you reach thousands of developers instantly. For more than 6 years, MLH has helped our partners grow their brands and achieve record adoption amongst developers with minimal time investment on their part. If you’re interested in learning more, visit our website.