All humans require care. Writing and maintaining documentation is a form of care: good documentation can make us feel cared-for, and we, as writers, can take satisfaction from empathizing with the end users of our work, and performing the caring work of documentation. By exploring and acknowledging the relationship between care, documentation, and technology, I argue, we can better understand and advocate for the value of our work. More so, understanding the importance of care allows us to work better.
This talk illustrates how the work of documentation is care work, and explores the ethical, philosophical and economic dimensions of care in relationship to technical writing and documentation. I’ll share findings and case studies from my own consulting practice, and explore patterns (and anti-patterns) I’ve observed around documentation and care. Then, to spur small group discussions, I’ll share design principles for documentation as care.