Better Product Experiences Through Skilled Support Writing

Fastmail attended WriteTheDocs in Australia. Learn why we love documentation.

Technical writers translate highly technical information into user-friendly guides. If you have visited our help and support pages, you have seen this craft in action. Our support team is skilled in authoring clear, concise communications, and are dialed-in to communities supporting documentation globally.

As mentioned previously on this blog, FastMail has sponsored WriteTheDocs, and members of our team recently spoke at the 2018 conference in Melbourne, Australia.

There were 100 participants from Melbourne, many from other areas of Australia, and others from New Zealand, the United States, and elsewhere around the world.

100+ people gathered for a group photo on the grounds of the library at the Dock

Here are some of the sessions we led, to inspire more great product experiences through excellent documentation and support team leadership.

Getting the most from new writers

Three members of our team went to the conference: Alexandra and Fraser from our support team; and Nicola, our Chief of Staff.

Alexandra, in her conference speaking debut, spoke about making yourself redundant on day one. This talk was about making the most of having a new brain join the team, putting them in a unique position to document all the things the rest of the organization might take for granted — everything from where to get the best coffee, to how to safely do a deploy of the codebase.

"WriteTheDocs was a wonderful experience for a first-time speaker," Alexandra said reflecting on her session. "Everyone was extremely supportive, and I learned so much from the presentations and workshops. It was great to see such a wide variety of people coming together to learn how to write better documentation."

Raising the bar for internal communication

Nicola ran many unconference sessions around careers, documentation tooling and what to do when a product isn’t usable. She also spoke about the subtle art of interrogation. This talk was about how to get enough information out of someone else so that you can write the documentation. She looked at factors which influenced someone’s ability to answer questions or find the time to help and ways both overt and covert to help make an interview a success.

"The WriteTheDocs community is so welcoming and inclusive. The chance to step out of the office and talk to people about how they’ve solved challenges you’re going through, and keep up to date on current trends around tools and processes is just delightful." Nicola exclaimed, "I’m plotting some improvements for 2019 already!"

Creating community and building connections

The event, held at a lovely venue called ‘Library at the Dock,’ located in Melbourne’s bay near the heart of the city, provided an excellent space for convening and sharing information. One of the most significant benefits of this event is how it brings so many people together, in-person, to focus on communication and documentation.

A modern building next to the bay, with boats in the background and a rosy sunset

And you can’t do all this learning, talking, sharing and making connections on an empty stomach! We were delighted by the quality and quantity of the catering Streat provided.

A table laden with a variety of tasty food choices, sweet and savoury

We loved spending time with other documentation enthusiasts, all of whom are passionate about creating better experiences.

"The conference was a great opportunity to speak to like-minded people in the same field as me," said Fraser. "I feel I’ve soaked up a lot of knowledge that will hopefully benefit our users in the long-run when it comes to writing more documentation."

As a company whose very existence is all about communication, we are proud to have sponsored this event again. We’re pleased to see it grow year after year and look forward to what WriteTheDocs brings to Australia in 2019.

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