Skip to content.

Skip to main menu.

Search-First Writing

Session scheduled at 9:30-10:20 in Room 1 (Johnson)

This talk digs into how optimizing for search and using the existing technical assistance forums can put your product ahead of the pack. Technical writing, in all its variations, is a type of interface with your product. It incorporates everything from an error message to an implementation guide. How can you as a web producer make deploying, using, and promoting your site as painless as possible? Make it searchable. Make finding the answer to a problem so trivially easy that your user barely even remembers they had a problem.

No one wants to be using software. They want to be data mining or manipulating beautiful photos or targeting advertising. Making them think about the software diverts them from what they want to be accomplishing. Use these documentation techniques to get them in and out and on their way.


  • Use search terms to drive development
  • Understand failure modes in users
  • Use outside resources to improve site development
  • Test changes to site content

Attendee skill level: Audience should have some familiarity with analytics, SaaS concepts, and accessibility.


View Slides

Presented By

Heidi Waterhouse

Heidi Waterhouse

Heidi is a widely experienced technical writer with an interest in writing herself out of work. She specializes in creating entire documentation suites for new companies and products in less time than you would believe possible. She speaks on topics like search-led writing, starting new documentation products, and whistleblowing as a technical writer.

Follow @wiredferret on Twitter