What is the work of information engineers and technical writers all about, and how it can change the product experience for its users? To find out, we talked to Ulla Einarsson, a highly experienced information expert, and to Hasse Carlsson, an information engineer and technical writer at Sigma Technology, who switched to this area a couple of years ago after a 26+ year career in a theater dramaturg.
Ulla, you have been working in the field of product information for 20 years, holding positions of a technical writer, project manager, information analyst, requirement analyst, and information tools analyst, and now you are a unit manager in Product Information at Sigma Technology Information AB.
Why did you choose technical writing and product information in the first place?
Ulla: I have always liked technology but also writing. I see writing as a method to sort my thoughts. Besides, the challenge of making consumers use the technology the right way is very interesting to me. I can relate to it in my own life. When I use technology, I am very impatient and don’t like to read a lot of text, so if the manual or product is not intuitive enough, I get frustrated. It may happen when technical writers or usability designers do not succeed in their work. A technical writer should help the end-users avoid feeling like that.
What is driving you in your work through the years?
Ulla: I am very interested in new technologies, having a broad understanding of how everything works and is connected. This is what I have to practice and constantly learn about in all the roles connected to technical information.
It is rewarding to work on big or new products when everyone involved is an expert on their part, but no one really knows the big picture. To gather knowledge from many sources and write an overall guide or set up an information model is a thrill. It is always fun when you and others can say: “finally, I got the bigger picture.”
Why are information and user analysis important for our clients?
Hasse: Information and user group analysis is a method to learn more about the different user groups that will meet the product once it is delivered to the market. It is important for product makers to understand different user groups and to be aware of the specific needs of each group. Who are they? What will they do with a product? When will they use the product and need the information? What is the best way for them to access the information at that specific moment?
Being unable to use the functions of a product, a customer will not be fully satisfied with the product, which can drastically influence the business in a harmful manner.