Kayce Basques

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Summary

I have 9 years of experience as a professional technical writer. The last 6 of those were at Google. I was promoted 3 times, from Technical Writer II (L3) to Staff Technical Writer (L6). For my first 4 years at Google or so I worked on Chrome DevTools and Lighthouse, and for the last 2-ish years I led Chrome DevRel's overall documentation program (content strategy & people management). My first 3 years of professional technical writing were at Arrayent, an Internet of Things (IoT) startup. I was the only technical writer and I worked on their web service and embedded system APIs.

Portfolio

Check out my portfolio page to see a comprehensive list of my technical-writing-related creations.

FAQs Are A Code Smell

Unless you have explicitly ensured that every FAQ has been contextually addressed in your main content, FAQs are a clue that a doc or doc set has organizational problems.

July 22, 2019

How We Tripled Chrome DevTools Documentation Pageviews In 2 Years

To help users discover new features and major changes, the Chrome DevTools team embedded release notes into the DevTools UI. The success of this approach has fundamentally changed how I approach documentation discovery in general. I now look for ways to contextually link to the documentation from the product.

May 16, 2019

A Concrete Strategy For Cultivating Empathy In Documentation

Technical writers talk a lot about being empathetic with readers. I agree that it's a crucial skill but frankly I think that the discussion is starting to degenerate into lip service. We need more concrete guidance on how to cultivate empathy in our documentation. In this post I propose that it's our duty as technical writers to start recording our real-world first experiences with documentation and share these recordings with other technical writers so that we can see what it's truly like to use documentation when in need.

May 13, 2019

Maybe Our Documentation "Best Practices" Aren't Really Best Practices

Recently I discovered that a supposed documentation "best practice" may not actually stand up to scrutiny when measured in the wild. I'm now on a mission to get a "was this page helpful?" feedback widget on every documentation page on the web. It's not the end-all be-all solution, but it's a start towards a more rigorous understanding of what actually makes our docs more helpful.

December 3, 2018

Red Buttons Solicit More Feedback Than Blue Buttons

Asking users whether or not they found a doc helpful is an easy way to measure the quality of a doc. However, very few users take the time to leave feedback. If you've only got 2 or 3 responses on a doc, you can't trust that the data represents the opinion of your audience at large. I've been conducting various experiments to find out how to maximize the response rate. In this experiment, I learned that red buttons appear to generate significantly more responses than blue ones.

September 21, 2018