Every product and project management team requires key individuals to create and manage various technical documentation projects. This is important for various aspects of building and developing products and projects as well as releasing them and educating customers and employees about different aspects of products, features, and their roles.
Although technical documentation may appear difficult, it does not have to be. In this article, we will teach you all you need to know about it so that you can get started on creating and maintaining amazing technical documentation for your products and projects.
What is technical writing?
Technical documentation exists in a variety of forms and formats, although it is now mostly available online. Despite the fact that technical documentation is often created by technical writers, development teams, project managers, developers, and other industry professionals, the finest technical documentation communicates information simply and clearly enough for everyone to comprehend. Otherwise, it falls short of its intended function.
Technical documentation refers to documents that detail a product's characteristics and functions. It is most frequently developed in the software development industry by development and product teams and may be used to address the support needs of various stakeholders within an organization.
They provide context for items related to the product. Whether they describe a product's usage, technique, functions, features, or development, the end objective is to educate the reader about a particular element of the product. This is true regardless of whether they are utilized in software development, product development, or other areas.
Who is the intended audience for technical documentation?
Audiences may be defined in a variety of ways, ranging from end-users to programmers to stakeholders. It varies considerably depending on the type of material in question.
Nonetheless, process-based technical documentation is frequently produced with an eye toward other audiences. They might be developers, stakeholders, clients, or other members of the internal team. Although this type of documentation is less frequently utilized than product-based documentation, its purpose is to offer a more in-depth look at the various technical elements that comprise a product.
At the end of the day, technical documentation is often created for the benefit of the product's users. Its primary objective is often to assist users in accomplishing certain tasks with a product, and so end-users should always be considered while producing the different types of technical documentation.
What is the significance of technical documentation?
There are several reasons for the importance of technical documentation. However, it all boils down to one critical advantage. The main reason for technical documentation creation is to inform the public about a product.
This assertion may seem self-evident, but let's go a little further. After all, a product is completely useless if consumers lack sufficient knowledge about it. A lack of information results in individuals being unable to utilize a product properly or lacking the necessary expertise to really comprehend it.
Technical documentation is critical from the end user's perspective since it enables them to utilize a product efficiently. This is doubly advantageous for the firm that produces the technical documentation since it reduces customer care hours and results in happy users who can troubleshoot and answer their own queries.
Internally, technical documentation is critical because it provides employees with the knowledge they need to work efficiently on a product, whether it's highly technical material or a high-level overview of planning and processes.
In any case, products are not always self-explanatory. That is why we require technical documentation to provide us with all of the information we require about them.
What are the different types of technical documentation out there?
Technical documentation comes in a variety of forms. The simplest method to distinguish between various forms of technical documentation is to determine for whom they are written. They may be broadly classified into two types: product documentation and process documentation.
In any case, products are not always self-explanatory. That is why we require technical documentation to provide us with all of the information we require about them.
Process oriented documentation
Simply put, process oriented documentation details the method by which a product is developed. It is not concerned with the final result, but with the various processes, data, and events that contribute to its advancement and evolution.
This type of technical writing is typically kept internal and is of little value or interest to consumers or end users (save for external stakeholders having a vested interest in a product's development). It is beneficial since it denotes the many stages of a product's lifespan. This type of documentation is used for product management and project management teams as well as other corporate teams which need to initiate various processes and catalog documentation, such as HR and even development teams.
Process-oriented documentation can consist6 of Project proposals, which present objectives and timelines related to product development. Product requirements, which are compelling documents that describe essential facts and figures about a new product or service. Goals, user personas & stories, release details, roadmaps, wireframes & design details, risks & dependencies are common aspects.
Process oriented documentation can also consist of project plans, outlines, summaries, and charters.
Project and product managers have an especially strong need for product and project roadmaps, so having documentation and plans to support this aspect of their workflow is essential for the progression of projects and the development of products.
Project reporting and updates, as well as specifications of certain stages of processes within the product or project development, is another aspect of process-oriented documentation. This provides fantastic overviews of the many phases in your product's lifespan.
Product oriented Documentation
The next type of technical documentation is product-based documentation. Often known as user documentation, describes what a completed product is and how to use it. Rather than describing the development process, it emphasizes the finished result.
There are various different types of product oriented documentation, however, the main key types are user manuals, tutorials, installation guidelines, troubleshooting guides, Frequently Asked Questions, knowledge bases, wikis, and other learning resources: These types of documentation provide information about your product and help end users learn how to use it.
User experience documentation is another form of product oriented docs for SaaS companies. UX Documentation describes your product's user experience (UX). A list of all pertinent screenshots and user personas. his includes user personas, use cases, style guidelines, mock-ups, prototypes, wireframes, and any necessary screenshots.
The next sort of product documentation is release notes. This may be used for internal documentation to keep sales and marketing informed about SaaS product upgrades or to inform users and customers of new features and updates to a technical product.
Software Oriented Documentation
Whether you're writing for users or developers, make sure your documentation is thorough and answers their queries. You'll save time answering the same questions over.
Software documentation includes; API documentation software architecture design, documentation, and source code documentation. These documentations are very important for software teams to know how to build and structure certain technical platforms and products. For developers it is essential to create documentation for software requirements, system documentation, code documentation, test plans and create other forms of documentation to increase and maintain effective teams.
What are the advantages of superb technical documentation?
Excellent technical documentation is important to the product development process for several reasons. Above all, it helps everyone realize their goals.
What do we mean? If you're creating a product, your ultimate aim is for people to enjoy using it. As a consumer, your objective is to use a product successfully to solve a problem or offer a service. This is impossible if consumers don't comprehend or use a product.
Great technical documentation helps here. It equips consumers with product knowledge and helps them utilize it successfully, while also assisting product teams in their development process.
In order to ensure your technical documentation is well written the trick is to set up a proper process, workflow, and strategy to write quality technical documentation that is clear and decisively written. It must be simple to use and comprehend for its users. Otherwise, it won't assist everyone to accomplish their goals.
Docsie is a clear solution to help you write better documentation
Clear, high-quality, and easily accessible technical documentation is essential. To assist you and your development team in making this a reality, Docsie's free trial can help you get started on creating and writing technical documentation.
Our beautiful, easily customizable knowledge portal creator enables your team to collaborate effortlessly on technical documentation while remaining organized.
Forget about the headaches associated with documentation that is dispersed among emails, Microsoft teams, GitHub, and Google Drive. By utilizing our platform, you can ensure that all necessary information is centralized, allowing you to focus your attention on getting your creative juices flowing and creating amazing content. Get started now!
What is the best way to develop technical documentation?
Many individuals are unsure where to begin when producing technical documentation. Not to worry; creating excellent technical documentation is a learned talent. To assist you in the meanwhile, we've broken down some straightforward methods for quickly producing good technical documentation.
1. Conduct research
Let's face it: it's difficult to generate good technical documentation unless you're completely clear about the material you're attempting to provide. If you already have examples, research, samples, and other data to work with, move on to step two.
However, if you're beginning from scratch, it's critical that you conduct research. Meet with the team that will be responsible for the technical documentation in issue, discuss, and assign various research assignments to various team members.
For your research, it is a good idea to compile all the current information and documentation you have to work with.
The next step for your research is to consider what your technical documentation will be covering, your goals and objectives that you want to accomplish with your technical documentation.
Then the next step is to list what sort of specific software, tools and style guides in the development of your technical documentation. These tools can easily be managed with Docsie. In fact all of your research can be written and collaborated to complete within Docsie as well.
2. Technical documentation design
The substance of technical documentation is critical. Nonetheless, the appearance of your technical documentation is essential as well. A well-organized, visually appealing document will communicate information far more effectively than a disorganized tangle of documents.
As such, there are a few points to consider while designing your documentation. To begin, consider structure and navigation. Individuals often utilize technical documentation to locate particular information or a solution to an issue, and they must do so promptly to ensure the resource's effectiveness. As a result, the organization of your documentation is highly essential for this reason.
It's a good idea to categorize and sub-categorize your knowledge so that it can be readily accessed. This can be done through Docsie’s articles within a Docsie Book. Articles will be displayed on the right hand side of every published documentation from Docsie:
It's also essential if your documentation includes a robust search feature and a dynamic table of contents that enables users to easily access the information they require. The most effective documentation software, such as Docsie, also has this functionality along with many others.
Additionally, it's a good idea to start with a technical documentation skeleton. A skeleton layout of your technical documentation is easy to create and it will assist you in ensuring that you do not overlook any critical data that you wish to include in your technical documentation. We will discuss the skeleton of your technical documentation write-up on the step below. This will maintain the visual consistency and organization of all your material.
3. Writing structure
At this point in the process, it is time to begin the real content production. Meet with the team responsible for your company's technical documentation and assemble all of the research conducted in step one. Then, based on each team member's abilities, you may allocate writing jobs to them.
The highest technical documentation starts with a skeleton which is the outline of the documentation.
The documentation must also be easy to read and follow along and it a good idea to let others in your team review the documentation and comment on it. This can be done easily with Docsie’s commenting feature.
Once everyone has completed a first draft of their technical documentation material, it is critical to review, evaluate, and review some more. It's a good idea to have at least two sets of eyes review each part of your documentation. This ensures that the material is not just clear, well-written, and grammatically accurate, but also effective for the intended audience.
If your technical documentation contains how-to instructions or steps to take, ensure that your team members test those steps and verify that they achieve what they are meant to.
4. Test how users interact with your documentation
You may believe that you validated your paperwork throughout the review process, but this is not the case. After you've completed your technical documentation, it's critical to run it through a testing process to ensure that it's free of organizational flaws, confusing content, and usability difficulties.
To achieve this stage, you should seek out external users to conduct a review of your documentation. Allow them to read it, utilize it to assist them in performing the duties assigned, and offer you their candid comments. It is critical that your testers are external since they will see your documentation objectively and without bias, which will impact their evaluation. This can all be done with Docsie’s web analytics. It allows you to see what your readers on focusing on in your documentation, receive feedback and also know what bothers them about the documentation and format of your technical docs.
On Docsie’s web analytics you can see a short video of how your readers are interacting with your technical documentation and use this information, paired with a rating done by the reader to optimize your documentation. It's very important to understand how to approach customer feedback and integrate it into your technical documentation creation and workflow.
5. Optimize the technical documentation with feedback
Consider that you are now prepared to launch your brand-new technical documentation! After incorporating any feedback and comments gathered during the testing phase, you can update and republish your technical documentation for your users to use! This should give them a more wholesome documentation experience.
Nonetheless, your technical documentation journey does not end here. Technical documents are dynamic and are constantly updated and modified to reflect the products they cover. As such, it's a good idea to establish a protocol outlining what needs to be done when new information is added, changes are made, or general maintenance is performed.
Many companies choose to implement maintenance schedule updates to their documentation. They establish specific dates for evaluating whether any changes are necessary, ensuring that all their information is always current and that modifications are never overlooked.
Quick tips to get started
Sign up with Docsie
Docsie has a robust toolset to help you create amazing and appealing technical documentation.
Know your audience
There are several forms of technical documentation. Consider who will be reading your documentation to determine the type of document, material, and language to employ. Programmers, engineers, stakeholders, project managers, end-users, etc.
Plan your documentation
Prepare an initial strategy that outlines the type of documents you'll create. Consider the types of documentation required for your product and what they will and will not cover.
Be succinct and avoid repetition.
Step one is easy if you've previously completed it. You've worked hard on your technical documentation; make sure it's useful and easy to use. Ensure your writing is succinct and that you don't duplicate material across articles unless you absolutely need to.
It's a tiny issue, but consistency in technical documentation is vital. Fonts, writing styles, design, formatting, and location are examples. Set guidelines early in the documentation development process and keep to them. It helps if they match the look and feel of your companies brand. You can use Docsie’s styling guide to ensure this.
Recall your aim
When working on a paper, ask yourself or your team, "What do I want the reader to be able to do?" By focusing on your purpose, you'll guarantee that your documentation is useful and actionable without unnecessary detail.
Get started with your technical documentation
Ready to enter the world of technical writing? Keep this advice handy while you prepare your product's technical documentation. Practice makes perfect, and there's no better time than now to start.
Start planning your documents and defining your content. With our free trial and this article as a guide, you'll be producing outstanding technical documentation in no time!