About

I'm Fabrizio Ferri Benedetti, a technical and UX writer based in Barcelona, Spain (more)


Latest posts

May. 12, 2024

Things I remind myself when working with others

People usually say that I’m a pleasure to work with and that I’ve a highly collaborative spirit. The fact that I’m good at teamwork doesn’t mean that it comes naturally to me. Quite on the contrary, being a good teammate is a skill that I constantly need to train and refine. The following are things I remind myself on a daily basis, à la Dune’s inner monologues, to be a better teammate at work.

Apr. 25, 2024

My favorite books for tech writers

Recommending books for technical writers that aren’t old technical manuals is hard. There are very few books on the craft of technical writing, a shortage that I find sharply ironic for a writers’ profession like ours. When I became a tech writer, the books that helped me the most were about other topics that make up the job, like English language, design, and the programmer’s mind. Let me share them with you.

Mar. 27, 2024

The pros and cons of using Markdown

A few days ago I had an interesting conversation on the pros and cons of Markdown for technical documentation with Ed Marsh (Goldman Sachs) and Eric Holscher (Read the Docs) in a webinar hosted by Scott Abel (The Content Wrangler). Here are some of the things I said during the webinar, transcribed and edited for clarity.

Mar. 17, 2024

Technical writing in 2049

A month ago, Lana Novikova asked me to imagine the future of software documentation. What will software technical writing look like in, say, 2049, when our profession will be a century old? Will we be writing markup in git repositories or use ÜberDITA in space? Will our job still exist? I’ve put my futurist hat on to picture the shape of our profession 25 years from now. Buckle up!

Feb. 10, 2024

What to do when you're feeling AI anxiety as a tech writer

Some technical writers in my network are genuinely worried about their professional future in the AI age. Will large language models take my job, they wonder. Are we going to be replaced by GPT, they ask in meetups and community forums. My short answer is “No”. My longer answer is “No, unless you reject the benefits of LLMs”. For my complete answer, keep reading this post.

Jan. 17, 2024

Signs that you need a technical writer

Soon after publishing Tips for hiring your first technical writer, some readers kindly suggested to follow up with a post covering the previous step in the tech writing journey, that is, the realization that one needs a technical writer. As there seems to be a strong appetite for this kind of content, I’m going to spend some words to list what I think are the most egregious signs that your team, company, or product requires a technical writer (or a tech writing team).

Jan. 8, 2024

Docs observability, or measuring docs inside a product-docs system

As technical writers we want to know if the docs we’re writing are accomplishing their goals. In other words, we want to know how good are docs relative to the business goals they’re aiming to support or improve. Are docs serving their purpose? Which of the three budgets are docs supporting? When tech bubbles burst, roles usually seen as cost centers, such as tech writing, are ripe for layoffs, no matter how staunchly we defend them. That’s why we continue mulling over the question of value and how we measure it.

Dec. 13, 2023

What tech writers can learn from video game manuals

I’m not only a technical writer and an avid collector of old manuals: I’m also a gamer. One of the bits I always enjoyed about video games were the manuals, from the slim booklets that accompanied arcade games to the hefty guides that helped build virtual worlds in our heads while we waited for a few kilobytes to load in memory. Those manuals still hold valuable lessons for the software documentation we write today.

Nov. 8, 2023

Tips for hiring your first technical writer

Every once in a while, startup founders and managers decide that they need someone to create and manage their docs –perhaps after reading this letter. Some contact me to understand how they should go about hiring for a tech writer. Since I’ve already published tips for job hunting as a tech writer, I thought it would be a good idea to write down some advice for the other side, too. Here are my recommendations for software companies wanting to hire their first technical writer.

Oct. 23, 2023

Chat with Tom Johnson about AI and tech comms

I had a cool chat with Tom Johnson (idratherbewriting.com) about AI and its impact on technical writing and documentation. Along the way, we also had the chance of discussing open source docs and the challenge of being a first-time contributor.

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