Victor Liu and Qin Liu are both technical writers and information architects at Sigma Technology China in Beijing. The new role of the information architect helps them optimize and improve product information on their customers’ projects. We have asked Victor and Qin a few questions about what they do on their projects and why they enjoy being information architects.
What do you work with daily?
Victor: “Now, I work as a senior technical writer and partly as an information architect supporting tool issues resolving, like DITA and document publishing.”
Qin: “I work as a technical writer and perform some information architecture managing tasks at Sigma Technology. Besides writing user documentation, I review the documentation plan from other writers and give them my comments or suggestions. I also keep updating and optimizing the way of working according to the customer workflow.”
Why is it essential for companies to invest in good information architecture for their product information?
Victor: “A good information architecture can help customers to understand and use the product efficiently.”
“Besides,” adds Qin, “good information architecture displays a clear structure for product information, which benefits both users and writers. Users can easily find the product information they need. Writers can reuse previous topics and focus their attention on writing new topics.”
What role does the information architect play in the team?
“You can say that an information architect in a technical writing team acts as a system architect in a development team. Information architect sees the whole picture, foresees any risks, and suggests technical solutions to avoid or mitigate risks,” says Qin.
Victor adds, “An information architect leads the team to write documents efficiently, optimizing the way of working continuously, supports the team with writing issues from a high-level point of view, and collects users’ requests, helping the team understand the product from users’ perspective.”
What knowledge and experience do you need to have to become an information architect?
Qin explains, “To become an information architect, you need to have a solid knowledge of DITA CMS, product development lifecycle, possess good communication, presentation, and problem-solving skills.”
“You also need to have insight into technical writing, including methods, tools, language, and perception of user behavior,” adds Victor.
What do you like the most about being an information architect?
Victor: “I like the new writing concept and tools (like topic-based DITA) as well as observing and analyzing users’ behavior.”
Qin: “I like communicating with technical writers and helping them work more efficiently.”
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