BD: Top-end user guides for top-end products
BD has been a leader in the medical device industry for over 120 years. Founded in the US in the 19th century, the company has grown to operate in over 50 countries worldwide, employing more than 70,000 workers. Today, BD specialises in high-end biological testing equipment as well as medical device manufacture.
BD developed the BD CLiC for next-generation genomic sequencing. The device combines several aspects of DNA catalogue workflow, increasing the speed and decreasing the cost of preparing a DNA library. As the world’s first fully integrated, automated bench-top library prep workflow, it represented a major development in genomics.
To ensure that the BD CLiC could be used to best effect from day one, BD identified a need for a top-quality, comprehensive user guide [link to 31_L3_User Manuals] suitable for an audience ranging from lead research scientists to basic operators.
To achieve their goals, BD engaged with TWi [link to 4_L1_Why TWi]. We worked with their team to bring to life their vision of user content that would deliver as positive an experience for scientists and technicians as the product itself.
THE CHALLENGE: WORK WITH COMPLEX CONTENT AND BD’S HOUSE STYLE
The BD CLiC System is used in genetic research. It’s a high-throughput, fully integrated, NGS library preparation tool for targeted- and whole-genome library preparation. It’s the first system to consolidate the entire NGS library preparation workflow process. BD required skilled writers who could come up to speed fast enough to produce fully finished content by the targeted release date. They also needed writers who wouldn’t be daunted by the complex scientific terminology or the amount of dense technical information in the source documents.
TWi’s technical writers [link to 9_L2_Technical Writing] are at home with scientific research and software development. We worked with BD’s complex technical information and created a clear, accurate, and readable manual for a diverse cohort of scientists and technicians. Our writers quickly familiarised themselves with BD’s in-house templates and standards before working with a large degree of autonomy to produce documentation of a quality and style indistinguishable from BD’s in-house technical manuals. As it was essential that the user guide met the requirements for certification to international product safety standards, this included translation of parts of the manual into French.
THE ACTION: CREATE AND TRANSLATE A USER-ORIENTED OPERATOR MANUAL
TWi worked with BD to develop a user manual to guide lab technicians through every aspect of daily operation and maintenance of the BD CLiC. The manual was also targeted at experienced scientists who required instructions for customising library preparation protocols for the equipment.
Our development process for BD included:
- Communicate with BD’s internal technical publications team to review and learn their content and style requirements.
- Visit the manufacturing facility for hands-on experience with the BD CLiC and become experts in its operation.
- Examine the software’s functional specifications and test it to define and cover all use-cases.
- Develop a manual for publication as a screen-optimised PDF, in line with BD requirements.
- Work closely with BD product engineers and testers to ensure technical accuracy.
- Provide weekly status reports so that the client was always up to date on our progress.
- Translate and localize [link to 11_L2_Translation and Localization] content from English into French for use in other jurisdictions.
To ensure that the manual met international requirements for product safety certification, our team analysed initial findings reports returned to BD by external certification bodies, identified gaps in existing content, and updated the manual accordingly.
THE IMPACT: TOP QUALITY, ON-TIME CONTENT TO ADD VALUE TO A WORLD-CLASS PRODUCT
Our team collated large amounts of data and information from disparate sources. We used Adobe FrameMaker to create a user manual designed to give technicians and scientists the knowledge to use the BD CLiC to its full capacity. The language, style, and format of the manual adhered to BD’s guidelines and delivered a premium, high-value experience suited to a paradigm-shifting product.
Among our key impacts for BD were:
- A top-quality OM ready in time for product release
- Professional, high-quality content in line with client standards and templates, indistinguishable from BD’s in-house documentation
- Strict compliance with legal requirements for product safety documentation
- Adherence to foreign-language requirements without having to independently source, assess, or manage translation vendors
- Absolute confidentiality in the lead-up to product launch thanks to our industry-leading information security
BD valued TWi’s high standards, our writers’ accessibility and responsiveness, and our management team’s regular progress updates. Our team and the product experts at BD developed good working relationships that were strengthened by visits to the manufacturing site for face-to-face meetings and in-depth information gathering. BD management especially appreciated our flexibility to allocate resources around their schedule and our support in accommodating on-going change requests to meet certification requirements.
THE CLIENT’S PERSPECTIVE:
“TWi worked closely with our experts to learn about highly specialised subject matter and how to use the product. They plotted out a logical structure for the manual, ensuring that the new content met vital certification requirements. We needed TWi’s assistance in understanding and adhering to the detailed style and content guidelines stipulated by the BD Technical Publications division. TWi simplified things for us further by sourcing and managing translation, meaning we didn’t have to worry about that ourselves or engage with a second vendor. We’re very happy with TWi’s performance to-date. I’ve already recommended their team to assist with other documentation requests within BD.”
John Malone, Quality Manager, BD-GenCell