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.
Another modern trend is to exclude documentation altogether because the attitude is that the software is so intuitive that it requires no documentation. That would be true, if the software that was developed serves a handful of internal users and has a small footprint. Software projects that have a large footprint and user base and is rather complex in nature is going to require some serious documentation.
You will need to determine the need for user documentation where:
- The application or system is complex
- Some training or hand-holding is necessary
- You want to guide users through features or services
- The concept or process is not familiar to users
- Assistance needs to be embedded in the User Interface
In an effort to emphasize a few things when working with technical writers, here 10 concepts that all development managers should know about user documentation.