10 tips for Software Development managers about user documentation

Posted by alanandrew on Monday, May 9, 2016 under Technical Writing | Comments are de-activated

Software User Documentation is often a last minute effort to deliver your software product and get it out the door. Your development team had a long list of requirements, so the documentation sometimes gets downsized in importance or it is sometimes neglected completely.

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How out-of-date documentation can cost you

Posted by alanandrew on under Technical Writing, Third-Party Articles | Comments are de-activated

As usual, I bring this article to you courtesy of JACQUIE SAMUELS, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

Documentation is (sadly but understandably) often the last push in the great effort to get a product out the door and into the hands of your customers. Because it’s the last thing on a long list of release requirements, it sometimes gets downsized in effort or time or neglected completely. At the heart of the matter, companies feel like shirking on their documentation deliverables is a possible solution to time and budget crunches. They feel this way because they consider documentation as an add-on to the product, an extra bit of service provided to customers but not an essential component of the product itself.

 

Guess what: That’s not how customers see it.

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16 Reasons Why Your Users Do Not Read User Documentation

Posted by alanandrew on Sunday, May 8, 2016 under Research, Technical Writing, Third-Party Articles | Comments are de-activated

I bring this article to you courtesy of Dennis Crane, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

 

Nobody reads help files!

Are you sure?

In the ten years that we’ve been developing Dr.Explain, a leading-edge tool for creating help files, we saw hundreds of our customers’ projects. Our technical support team mostly receives user documentation for software products with requests to help implement some tricks. When talking with our customers, we ask them all kinds of questions about their projects, business areas, products, and audiences.
Based on that experience, we can draw a lot of conclusions, including this one: Users do read user documentation. In many cases, users frequently consult with such documentation. In some projects, it is a vital component of the product or services.

However, sometimes people do not use user documentation. In most cases, the reasons are as follows.

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The changing nature of content

Posted by alanandrew on Friday, April 15, 2016 under Technical Writing, Third-Party Articles, Trends | Comments are de-activated

I bring this article to you courtesy of Ellis Pratt, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

Technology has changed enormously over the last 70 years. But have technical communication standards kept up sufficiently to reflect these changes? It appears that some of the most successful software companies are breaking generally accepted best practice in technical writing – a trend that clearly should get us thinking.

If you were going back in time twenty or twenty five years and found yourself in a classroom learning about technical writing, you’d probably find it was almost identical to classes on this subject offered today. Technical communicators tend to assume that technical communication best practices, which have been taught for the past 25 years, and even further back in time, are still appropriate today.

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Ten things Clients should know about Technical Writing

Posted by alanandrew on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 under Technical Writing, Third-Party Articles, Trends | Comments are de-activated

I bring this article to you courtesy of Ron C Johnson, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

As you might expect, technical writing is not just about writing. Certainly writing is a core skill, but depending on the job, the industry, and the purpose of the writing, a technical writer may wear many hats. Often tech writers’ responsibilities touch on editing, graphics, photography, formatting, marketing, training, designing, and document management/control, just to name a few. Read more …. »

Great documentation saves money

Posted by alanandrew on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 under Technical Writing, Third-Party Articles, Trends | Comments are de-activated

I bring this article to you courtesy of Jacquie Samuels, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

GREAT DOCUMENTATION CAN SAVE YOU BIG BUCKS WHEN IT COMES TO SUPPORT BY JACQUIE SAMUELS

Let’s get back to the basics for a moment. Technical documentation has many diverse drivers, but ultimately, it all strives to perform one function: assist users so they can do what they want to do with the product. Sometimes they already know what they want to do, other times the documentation helps educate them.

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Standard Operating Procedures

Posted by alanandrew on under Technical Writing, Third-Party Articles, Trends | Comments are de-activated

I bring this article to you courtesy of Marcia Weedon, as I think it adds relevance to what I am setting out to achieve with my documentation framework. You may view the original article here.

THE WELL WRITTEN SOP – CRITICAL FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT BY MARCIA WEEDEN

The well-written SOP provides the baseline against which thoughtful and effective improvements can be planned and implemented.

Many companies put off documenting their processes and procedures because they are too sheepish to admit that these are not yet in a state of perfection. Perfection, however, is never a requirement for the well-written SOP.

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How your customers feel about the user assistance your company provides.

Posted by alanandrew on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 under Technical Writing, Third-Party Articles, Trends | Comments are de-activated

I have posted this opinion poll so that software developers and users may gain an understanding of the myth that abounds in software and product development and marketing that “No one reads the manual” and alerting you to the fact that skimping on technical documentation can cost money

I bring this article to you courtesy of Sharon Burton, as I think it adds enormous pertinence to what I do. You may view the original article here.

This poll certainly supports the opinions I put forward in my previous article.

What is a typical technical writing methodology?

Posted by alanandrew on Sunday, August 14, 2011 under Technical Writing | Comments are de-activated

To create a technical document, a technical writer must understand the audience and purpose. The writer gathers information by studying existing material and interviewing SMEs. The technical writer also studies the audience to learn their needs and technical understanding level.

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Which Skill Sets are Important?

Posted by alanandrew on under Technical Writing | Comments are de-activated

Like any profession, becoming a technical writer requires a mastery of a certain set of skills. This skill set used to involve primarily writing and illustration skills, as large manuals for print publication were the standard in the profession. The worlds of communications and technology have evolved dramatically in the latter part of the 20th century and the early part of this century. How has that evolution affected the skill set required for a technical writer?

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