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Creating informational content for a new product

Aim: Create an introductory overview article for a new Citrix offering (2021): Citrix Secure Internet Access (CSIA).

Problem

 

At the time I joined the company, Citrix Secure Internet Access (CSIA) was a new component of Citrix's networking and security solutions. It belonged to a larger, urgent project for delivering secure access service edge (SASE) technology and involved rebranding another product. As a new Senior Information Developer (herein, technical writer) I was tasked with finding and writing introductory information to support the primary technical writer (Manager, Information Experience) for this product area.

Process

1

Gather information

To inform content for the article, I spoke to Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and read up on key concepts to understand the product, including how it worked and benefits for the target audience.

2

Write and iterate

I created an outline for the article and started filling in the gaps, checking in with the primary technical writer for this product area and adhering to style guidelines. The article was reviewed and revised based on feedback.

1. Information gathering

 

First, I documented the following information to orient myself and identify next steps:

  • Project summary, rationale, and goals.

  • Key team members and their roles, including Product Managers and Information Developers.

  • My role, which was to write a new article consisting of introductory information to be made publicly available at docs.citrix.com.

  • Background and scope for the article. My aim was to create high-level guidance for initial questions, including what CSIA is, why you would use it, how it works, and next steps.

  • Existing resources and materials, including internal Confluence pages such as development and rollout plans, blogs, marketing materials, product pages, customer presentations, and design files.

I then set out to read up on basic supporting concepts, clarifying the specific terminology we should be using, and talking to SMEs about predicted challenges and content gaps. 

2. Writing and iterating

I shared an initial outline with the primary technical writer for this product through Google Docs. Following feedback, I created a draft that was ready for review that same week, and implemented additional changes following further feedback the proceeding week.

After writing the initial content, I spoke to SMEs to gather feedback and seek clarification on:

  • Mismatches between the UI and documentation.

  • Unsupported features and pages.

  • Given the rebranding, where we should point users to for support.

 

As part of the company's docs-as-code process, the article was written in Markdown files using VSCode and pushed to a staging branch in BitBucket. Final reviews were conducted as part of the Pull Request process in BitBucket.

Outcomes

 
At the point of general availability for CSIA, I published a new informational article summarising the whatwhy, and how for the product. Because I was familiar with the product following this introduction, I was able to take the documentation over when the primary technical writer for CSIA got COVID.

The article is now listed under a
new URL, but the initial content is shown in the following screenshots.

CSIA part 3
CSIA part 2
CSIA part 1

Manager, Information Experience

"CSIA has been a very challenging new project with tight deadlines. I highly appreciate your help and contribution toward this project. [...] You were on top of things and took on everything that I sent your way. You were also available for discussions at any time and stretched yourself to help me meet the project goals."

Challenges and learnings

 

I thrive when it comes to pulling information together into a cohesive whole. I got to do this whilst learning about best practices and processes for technical writing as a new Senior Information Developer at the company. This was a great way to introduce me to my colleagues, the company's processes and tools, and the docs-as-code framework.

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