Susan is a senior technical writer on Trintech’s documentation team. She was born in Alabama, raised in Florida with a love of the state’s beaches and moved to Texas after attending college. Now, she lives in Dallas, TX with her husband and son. Though she was initially hired as a contractor, she was quickly brought on as a permanent member and has been a member of the Trintech team for almost ten years!
Shannon: Susan! Congratulations on your selection as this month’s Trintecher Spotlight! I’m so excited to feature you and your work this month.
Susan: Thank you, but I’d much rather be writing the articles than be in them myself.
Shannon: I know you write a lot in your job on the documentation team, so it must be nice to put the pen down sometimes, right? What was your first job? Have you always been a writer?
Susan: Well, no. I worked in a department store for my first job when I was in high school. I hated the cash registers, but I hated folding clothes more! That was about the time I knew I was going to college, and my parents wouldn’t have had it any other way either.
Shannon: I’ve heard others say their first job was the main reason they went to college. What did you major in?
Susan: I received a degree in public relations and advertising. I tried a couple of jobs in advertising and even as an accounts receivable clerk, but I was never more excited than when I accepted my first technical writing position. I shifted my focus to software documentation when I moved to Dallas, and I haven’t looked back!
Shannon: You’ve been at Trintech for almost ten years now. What do you like most about your job here?
Susan: I love the variety! I’ve worked on a lot of projects and written for almost all of our products. I like breaking down a new feature and determining the best way to present it so it can be easily understood. I’m always looking for ways we can improve our user documentation. It’s like a puzzle – sometimes you have to step back to see how the pieces will fit together.
Shannon: Can you tell us what exactly the documentation team does?
Susan: Sure! The documentation team is responsible for creating and maintaining the documentation for our suite of solutions that are designed specifically for our users. We write release notes, in-product online help, installation and migration guides and technical specifications.
Shannon: That’s a lot of writing! What is it that makes you successful?
Susan: I ask a lot of questions, that’s key, and I like to read. I read all the information available on whatever item I’m working on to get prepared. My team works closely with our developers, product managers and quality assurance and support teams; insights from all of these teams help us put together detailed, comprehensive support for our customers.
Shannon: I know you’ve been working on a project with the rest of the team to change the layout of the online help. Can you tell us about that?
Susan: Right! It’s our landing page project for the online help – We are using the landing page as a framework. We’ve standardized its presentation, so it provides information about the fields, and buttons users see on the screen, But it’s so much more. Our intent is to link to information that relates to the screen, like tasks a user may want to perform, conceptual information that provides answers to any “whys” a user may have and videos that help a user perform a complicated procedure. Our goal is to provide users what they need quickly so that they can carry on with their work.
[Take a look at this month’s featured article, Innovations in Help: Providing Clear Next Steps to Cadency Users, for more information].
Shannon: Wow! That’s really a completely different approach to online help. What about outside of work? Do you write for fun?
Susan: Well, yes I do. I’ve been a member of the City of Carrollton Historic Preservation Advisory Committee for four years. Right now, we’re working on a walking tour brochure and updating the historic resource survey. We’ve thought about launching an app, as well. There is a lot for me to learn, and I am enjoying it.
Shannon: That does sound interesting! Haven’t I heard you’re a big Mavericks fan?
Susan: Yes! I’m a Mavs fan for life, even though they’ve had a very rough year – I’m no fair-weather fan! We’re going to a game tonight as a matter of fact. We’ve been going for years and have season tickets. It started as a gift for my son and then I got them as a gift for my husband. I quickly realized that I really love going to the games and decided to keep buying the tickets for myself! I like watching the games live and seeing all the fans that attend. And truth… my dog’s name is Maverick.
Shannon: I’ve seen pictures. He is really cute!
Susan: Mav’s my baby and my best walking buddy.
Shannon: Well, good luck next season! And thanks for spending time with us today!
Susan: You’re welcome. It actually wasn’t too bad being on this side of the pen for once!