About Doug Williams

The views expressed here are mine, and do not necessarily represent the views of Oracle USA, its management, or other responsible parties. If they were Oracle’s, then you’d be saying to yourself about now, “I’ve got to get me some of that.”

1-Minute (or less) Summary

I am an Oracle Consulting User Assistance Developer, and have worked in a variety of roles, divisions and areas for more than 20 years, mostly involving Oracle Database features and services on premises and in the Cloud. I have worked in unstructured authoring environments, SGML, XML, and most recently, the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA).

You can email me at douglas.williams@oracle.com.

The Whole Story

A Consulting User Assistance Developer is Oracle’s version of a “senior senior technical writer.” As with Arthur Conan Doyle’s consulting detective, sometimes I work as a development team member, in agile or waterfall development environments, and sometimes I consult with other UA developers as we try to solve more complex authoring and content development problems, ranging from authoring tools to diagnostics and analytics, though up to this point, not problems involving actual homicide. 

I moved into technical writing after obtaining a Ph. D. in Communication, and teaching about the psychology and social mediation of communication acts–including teaching University writing courses for undergraduates. An office hours conversation with one of my students, who offhandedly remarked “I don’t need to pay attention to your class—I’ll hire someone to fix up what I write,” led me to examine new career opportunities.  

As a technical writer, I started out primarily using unstructured FrameMaker in the old Platform Technologies division, where I was on the Sun SPARC Solaris documentation team (one of several operating system authoring teams we had at the time).  I led our team’s adoption of SGML for our primary authoring work, and then FrameMaker’s version of XML. I was on the “Gang of 4 + 2” team that led the adoption of the SDL LiveContent component content management system (CCMS), using PTC Arbortext and DITA. We are currently using the SDL KnowledgeCenter/Tridion Documentation CCMS with SyncoSoft oXygen as our DITA XML authoring tool.  My focus has primarily been on documentation, though I’ve also worked using a variety of graphic tools, and in the past, on video. But in the realm of Oracle User Assistance–by which we mean a multimedia approach to presenting the information Oracle users require–I have primarily been a specialist in DITA, focusing on writing to topic types, on search engine optimization of content, and on developing content reuse of our source materials.

Why do this?

My particular focus has been how users try to complete their tasks using the information Oracle provides, both through qualitative research (I used to have several file cabinets of blog sites I’d print out as examples of content discovery issues) and through quantitative research (analytics).  These days, I primarily engage as a direct contributor, though my consulting user assistance door remains open to the stray callers at 3 A.M. bearing problems.