Our professional, experienced technical writers have worked on more than 800 projects over the last 23 years. Our success is built on close collaboration with our clients and the knowledge we’ve acquired working with software companies with a wide range of products.
What kinds of companies do you work with?
Typically, our clients are software companies that develop products for specific markets, although we have also provided services to consumers of software products, custom developers, and those outside the technology world. We do not specialize in a specific industry, having undertaken projects for industries as diverse as medicine, media distribution, real estate, and scrap metal.
How much will it cost to have you do my documentation?
Figuring that out is part of our process. Projects could take days or weeks of working time. We can’t quote you a price off the top of our heads, but we can assure you that you’ll know how much a project will cost you. Each project is quoted individually, typically with a low and high cost range. If we estimate high, you’re only charged for the time it actually takes; if we estimated low, that’s our problem. And if there are lulls in development that mean the documentation work stalls, you’re not paying for a writer to sit around waiting for the work to pick up again.
Some clients prefer a retainer system, where they purchase a defined number of hours per month or quarter for us to produce work as needed. This is an alternative that some of our long-term clients have chosen, since they trust us to make the best use of that retainer.
How much time will my experts need to spend explaining things to a technical writer?
In our experience, it takes much less time than you might think. Although our writers don’t have extensive computer sciences training or education, they have many years of experience and an innate ability to find connections and make sense of complex topics. We’ve developed strategies for information gathering that minimize disruption and maximize productivity, drawing on all possible sources of information, but of course we need access to the appropriate subject matter experts and our content must be reviewed for technical accuracy.
Where do you work?
Most projects are done at our offices but we also work on site where necessary or desirable.
How can you understand my product well enough to document it?
There’s no simple answer to this question, except to say that this is what we do, and we have the skill set necessary to do it. We’ve produced documents for a wide range of user populations, including engineers, medical professionals, system administrators, training developers, facility managers, real estate agents, courier dispatchers, information security managers, media processing and delivery experts, compliance managers, insurance agents and managers, and occupational health and safety professionals. We have never documented a product that we, as writers, would normally use. That said, it is important to note that our clients remain responsible for ensuring the technical accuracy of the content.
What kinds of tools do you use?
Where we have the choice of authoring tool, we choose the one that best suits your needs. Where we need to, we work with the tools you’ve already chosen: We never want to place clients in the situation where they can’t change the documentation themselves if they need to. Typically projects involve Madcap Flare, RoboHelp, Word, or FrameMaker, although we have worked in Help+Manual, InDesign, and numerous other applications. If you decide to adopt a tool that we recommend, we can offer basic training to internal resources.
How to you handle updates?
Here’s where our experience really comes into play. We act as the virtual documentation department for numerous clients, updating documentation for each sprint (in an Agile environment) or each release, at whatever interval is required, from monthly releases to annual releases and everywhere in between. Because we develop information models and style guides for all projects, we can quickly and accurate assess the impact of changes to the product on the documentation. We can quote on maintenance work or work on a monthly retainer basis.
How big are you? How are you staffed?
We’re a small company with dedicated employees (we are not a headhunter company, nor do we contract out work to sub-contractors). Each project is led by a single writer, with the combined knowledge of all our writers available to support them. Some of our writers focus exclusively on user documentation, others handle more technical topics. Repeat work continues with the same writer to minimize information exchange.
Our product is still in development: When do you start work?
The right time to bring us into a project is a balancing act. Too soon, and there’s the risk of documenting features that don’t make it into the final release. Too late, and documentation becomes a bottle neck, and subject matter experts have moved on to the next thing by the time we can talk to them about the current release. We can consult with you early in the development process to determine the best time to start working on the documentation. Whenever we get involved, we take full ownership of the process, including project management and status reporting.