Meet us in London, where we attend the next Write the Docs meetup at Google's Lala Library.
18:00 Doors open
19:00-19:30 Jen Lambourne on how the UK gov adopted docs as code (WTD Prague talk preview)
19:45-20:15 James Scott on the art of error messages
20:15-21:00 Lightning talks & Networking
21:00 Doors close
Summary of James Scott’s talk
Error messages are so small and innocuous, engineers don’t always give them the care and attention they deserve. If you get your error messaging wrong, it can not only lead to poor user experience, customer frustration, low product satisfaction, and in worst cases, ridicule on social media.
I want to share some examples of where some companies have gone wrong (such as the infamous “Something happened” error) and give my tips on how to get error messages right. Apart from the usual (be concise, be accurate, don’t be ambiguous) I will share research about the perfect sentence length and how it impacts user comprehension, talk about the importance of the tone and voice of your messaging, touch upon colour and design (sharing research behind colour psychology into why red is often chosen for warning messages) and discuss why it is also important to think about accessibility.
Summary of Jen Lambourne’s talk
Three years after dabbling with docs as code, the Government Digital Service uses the approach for all its docs. We’ve debated static site generators, wrangled legacy content, switched hosting options, grappled git workflows, introduced and swiftly backtracked on features, and tested repeatedly with our users. It’s not perfect, but we’ve learnt an awful lot along the way.
This talk is the story of how docs as code has fundamentally changed the role of documentation creators in government, how we side-stepped pitfalls and fell head first into others and - if we had the chance - whether we’d do it all again.