apidays LIVE India - The link between technical documentation and developer engagement by Sneha Sridharan, Zoho Corporation
1. The link between technical documentation
and developer engagement
Usage of video tutorials or screencasts in
Source: Trends in Developer Documentation 2020
1. Accommodating multimedia content in developer documentation
2. Developer relations
3. The parallel between developer documentation, developer relations, and its impact on
4. Why accommodate multimedia content in developer
1. Catering to different learning styles, promoting inclusion
2. Reducing the time spent on skimming through documentation
3. Reduce support tickets
5. But it is common in user docs
1. Users of a software application
2. How to navigate through user
3. Simple straightforward instructions
to achieve a goal
4. Goal is well-known and well-defined
5. Example: How to order food using an
online food delivery app?
1. Developers who create applications
2. How to use an API in their project
3. Details of parts of an API
(authorizations, header, input)
4. Goal is to introduce your API as an
ingredient, with which the developer can
5. Example: How to extract weather data
using an API and display it in your app?
User docs Developer docs
6. What constitutes an API doc? (Most of it is text)
5. Sample code
6. Success and error responses
7. Where can you add videos and screencasts in an API doc?
1. API demo.
Example: Here is how you can integrate Google Pay for your ecommerce
website in 4 simple steps.
2. Explaining the purpose.
Example: Google Pay API explained
3. Use cases - Scenarios where & where not to use a particular API
9. What constitutes DevRel?
Source: State of Developer Relations 2020
1. Drive awareness & adoption
2. Educate & support developers
3. Drive engagement
4. Get feedback on product
5. Drive sales
6. Get code contributions
10. Let’s zoom in on “educate and support developers”
DevRels make the process of educating and supporting developers less tedious
1. Multimedia content (video tutorials, screencasts, podcasts)
2. Blogs with use cases and case studies
6. Events and meetups
12. Key takeaways
1. The nature of GUI and API documentation differs significantly. This is why
multimedia content is more popular in GUI documentation than in
2. However, there are several benefits of using multimedia content, mostly
in terms of catering to various learning styles.
3. You can accommodate multimedia content in your API docs by adding a
video on API demo, purpose, and/or use cases.
4. DevRels make educating engineers interesting and less tedious. Technical
writers can implement the same in developer documentation.
5. Thus, making it easier for developers to learn about your APIs among
Survey - Trends in Developer Documentation by Tom Johnson
Only 27.79% of tech writers create video tutorials and screencasts in developer documentation
56.82% of them don’t
13.65% of them plan to create and add them soon
What are we going to cover in this presentation?
Who is this talk for?
Many developers have different learning styles. Specially, in today’s world where we talk about neurodiversity in workplace, it is important to cater to different learning styles of developers across the world
They make it easier for developers to grasp content, helping them to better understand your product.
Ultimately, reducing the number of support tickets
What are user docs?
What are developer docs?
The major differences between them, and how it affects the documentation
Adding video is common in GUI docs - Example: Slack, Konwall, Google,
Major elements of an API doc
Most of it is predominantly text
They enter an input, they get an output; and they can use it in their application based on their use case
You can add the demo of an API itself; Link in their official developer doc
You can add a video explaining the purpose of an API
You can add a video explaining different cases in which the developers can use an API
What is DevRel? - Teaching your developers how they can use your product or tool
Image: State of Developer Relations 2020 Report/WIP & Hoopy
A major chunk of a DevRel’s responsibilities involve educating and supporting developers, which is also the main goal of technical writers)
They both achieve the same goal, but achieve them with different metrics
The metrics used by DevRels to make the process of educating and supporting developers more engaging and less tedious
The shared goal of educating developers: Technical writers do it through developer documentation, where as DevRels use various strategies to make the process of educating engineers interesting and less tedious