If you’re reading this blog then chances are you know about docs.alfresco.com, where the official Alfresco help and documentation is available. Everything you read (or watch) there is created by Alfresco’s User Assistance (UA) Team, who are based out of the Engineering headquarters in the UK.
Do I keep reading? Is this going to be interesting?
You'd better believe it! We’ve got news of career opportunities at Alfresco, plus details of how we’re looking for more community involvement.
What is UA at Alfresco?
The UA team are the conduit between an engineer’s brain, and the people who use Alfresco software. We take something complicated, and explain it in terms that can be easily understood.
We work on everything that Alfresco produces, with every single user type in mind. Whether you’re an end-user of Alfresco Mobile looking for help on the go, or a seasoned Alfresco developer using Aikau and looking for the latest Share extensions, the UA team are here to help.
Things we do
Online help for installing, administering, configuring, developing, and using
The Alfresco UA Team is managed by Helen Mullally, who with 8 years under her belt is an Alfresco old-hand. Whilst we aim to be as T-shaped and cross-skilled as possible, naturally we each have our own strengths. So one person will lead or specialise on videos, another on API docs. It’s not exclusive though, I might work on videos one day and API docs the next.
How we work
Each product development team at Alfresco has a member of the UA team embedded into it. (Each team is made up of engineering and QA, a product manager (PM), a scrum master (SM), a member of the UX team, and us). The UA representative attends team standups, sprint reviews and retros. This means that we’re able to write in parallel with development and release documentation in parallel with products.
With UX and the PMs we define both the UI copy and any in-product help that’s required. This way of working means that not only is the writing in Alfresco products clear and consistent, but also that we can take advantage of findings from user research to address actual user scenarios in the online help.
We do use Alfresco ourselves, to store, manage, and publish all of our content, with a publishing tool built on top of Alfresco called Componize.
Do you interact with the Alfresco community?
The honest answer is probably not as much as we should. Last year we took part in a Tech Talk Live with Richard Esplin, and have spoken in the past at Alfresco Summit. This year we intend to become more active within the community, and will be attending Beecon in April.
We do regularly check and occasionally contribute to the Alfresco forums, and we receive regular feedback from the feedback form in the online help, some of it good, some of it brutally honest. All feedback is great and helps us to improve.
Can the community contribute to the docs?
We haven’t opened up the documents for comments as this can be a nightmare to sort the good from the bad from the spam. It’s something we’re always considering though, so maybe in future. For now, you can use the feedback form mentioned above to suggest improvements to the documentation. We read every single piece of feedback and have had some good exchanges with people who’ve contacted us this way. You can also raise an ALF Jira ticket using the "Documentation" component.
Andddd… (drumroll)… coming soon we’re going to be running a program for user-created videos.
We’ll be inviting you to create your own Alfresco help videos using our templates – the best of these we’ll make available on docs.alfresco.com and our YouTube channel. Watch out for the announcement here and on Twitter later this year.
The team is currently growing to keep up with the expanding product development teams. If you’re technically-minded, want to help out other Alfresco users, and can put your ideas into words then get in touch. You don’t need to have a tech writing or user assistance background. We’re also looking for super-technical Alfresco developers who have a flair for writing. Maybe you have a background in social media, content marketing or article writing.
Take a look the two job descriptions, and if you think you're a match then get in touch.