Ask a Developer
We know as marketers that there are times when you’d just like to ask a developer. That’s why we created the “Ask a Developer” series, where developer Jeff Fritz (a.k.a. @Csharpfritz on Twitch) asks fellow Twitch live coders questions that marketers have about technical content. They all have their own unique perspective, but their advice to marketers converges on a few key attributes of developer friendly content.
We Asked …They Answered
Jeff Fritz asked five developers (and Twitch live coders) what makes for developer friendly content. The answers were varied, reflecting the unique perspectives of each coder. However, there were some themes that emerged:
- Use simple, straightforward language. Avoid jargon.
- Offer tech content with a multimedia experience, and offer the same content in different types of media.
- Make your content easily visually scannable.
- Keep it simple, but offer information on how to take your solution or tool to the next level.
- Incorporate an online code editor or code sandbox environment with your content.
Who Said What?
- Ben Lannon suggests that brands offer technical content in a variety of media. It may even be necessary to offer the same technical content in a variety of formats — video, podcast, written. It also means offering multiple types of media in a single piece of content (including a code editor). This point of view is something we’ve observed as necessary to create winning content. Additionally, offer content that goes from the new user to the experienced user.
- Kristina Heishmann finds that content that is hard to visually scan and parse eats up her willpower to consume technical content. So, keeping your technical content visually consumable is an important part of creating developer-friendly content.
- Miko Charbonneau finds that keeping language simple and assuming your audience is a beginner makes technical content more approachable and useful.
- Erik Guzman echoes Miko’s sentiment and also suggests offering an online code editor environment.
- Tyler Leonhardt is adamant about incorporating an online code editor like CodeSandbox and offering the content it takes to go a step further.
Like the developers interviewed, most developers prefer content that uses simple language with links to deeper dives, rather than hard-to-scan or read deep dives. In addition, the developer audience consumes data that includes image, video, and text-based content. The desire for code snippets is also universal. One surprise — the theme of incorporating an online code editor or code sandbox environment as part of the technical content offered did not emerge in the survey.
For the Road
All five developers signaled loud and clear that regardless of professional skill and experience, they find themselves consuming technical content as beginners when it comes to a new tool, application, or solution. They appreciate technical content that uses simple, straightforward language and doesn’t assume deep experience with the concept, tool, or solution. On the other hand, offering something that can help them go one step further once they’ve overcome their inexperience is also desired. Incorporating video, code snippets, online code editors, text, and images is important to helping developers learn. Finally, paying attention to visual organization of technical content so it is easily scannable helps keep the audience receptive to actually consuming the content.