Why Ask a Developer?
We love learning about individual developers! But it can be misleading to rely too much on anecdotal evidence. That’s why we also use data like that collected by Evans Data Corporation, SlashData, and our own surveys. However, running an idea, question or assumption by a member of the audience (MOA) can still add value. In this case, our MOAs are your audience, too — developers and other IT professionals.
While there may be as many answers as there are developers, often interesting trends, as well as hard-to-find nuances, emerge. Unsurprisingly, stories told at a human scale often appear as overarching themes or trends at a population scale. That’s why we asked celebrity developer and Twitch Live Coder Jeffrey Fritz to ask fellow developers some of the questions technical content marketers most want answered.
Meet Miko Charbonneau
Fritz caught up with Miko Charbonneau, a fellow Live Coder team member and VR game developer, and asked her to talk about her preferences and insights into what makes technical content effective. This is what she had to say.
What topics are you most interested in?
Miko: I work in two game engines primarily — in Unity and in Unreal. Most of the time when I’m looking for things, I’m looking for really specific features … game development features. Things like an inventory system or something like that. I like to see how people built it. I also think it’s really helpful when somebody has a series from scratch. So, they might have like a bunch of videos, or a bunch of articles where it starts with a blank template, and then goes from there.
So, you like content offered as a series?
Yes, I think that’s really helpful to kind of see a hands-on example like that. And sometimes, I’ll take a series, and I’ll have a game idea already that I want to make, but I’ll just follow along. And when it gets to, “This is what the energy system looks like,” I’ll modify it to be what I want for my game. But it’s still helpful.
When you are looking at those types of blog series, you probably want to see code snippets along with that, right?
Yes. That was definitely top of mind for me about this conversation. I really love having samples. Like, if there’s a project I can download, or there’s a code snippet or something, I think I learn better when it’s something I can follow along with like that. It’s just easier for me.
For a game engine like you’re describing, I may want to see it in action as part of a video. What do you think of that?
I think sometimes it’s hard to follow a video, especially if it has code in it. Because if the quality of the video is kind of low, and it’s blurry, it’s hard to follow. It’s really about the pacing of the video, too. Like, how long are they showing the relative stuff so you can grab it? But I think it’s definitely been helpful for game development and things that are given a visual aspect. Like, probably websites too, where they have something going between the code and the outcome of what you just did.
What makes technical content developer-friendly?
I’m a big fan of really clear communication styles. I also like to see a positive outcome and a positive sort of vibe with the speaker, or the language in the video. This one time I was watching an art tutorial on YouTube and the person was saying, “Oh, if you don’t understand this, then what are you even doing as an artist?” It was critical, and I just don’t like that. I think even if it’s sort of assumed that this is a more advanced blog or a more advanced tutorial, it’s still good to kind of use language that’s clear and simple, especially in the headline or the title of the video, to make it clear what you are getting out of it.
So it’s positive, it’s direct, and it’s descriptive?
Exactly. Because sometimes there’ll be some videos, and they might have a lot of terminology in them like, “It’s using this framework with this plugin.” But if I don’t know yet what any of those are, I would prefer if the title was like, “Using this API to build this system,” so I kind of have a connection if I haven’t used that before.
Do you have an example of documentation where you had a great experience?
Oh, wow. Yeah. I’m probably going to forget the name of it, but there are some Unity plugins I use that have camera effects. Because it’s so visual, the documentation will tell you about the camera effect, and how it works, and the parameters. But it also has an image with a slider, so you can see it’s always the same image, but it shows you what the effect would be if it was slid over the image.
How frequently do you like to see new content coming from a vendor?
That’s really interesting because I think most of the time it’s when I have a problem [that] I’m trying to solve that I would go check it out. If I had a website that I was really interested in, I’d want to subscribe in some way. Like, whether that meant a mailing list, or they have a Discord [RSS feed], or something like that where I can always find out when there’s a new article that I might want to read. I guess I would say about weekly, based on what you asked.