Designing a powerful product and presenting it through attractive designs is a successful move, but it’s not a success story! The customer needs to understand, engage, and try the product in order to become familiar with and use it longer. From here your success story begins! Until you achieve this success, it is very imperative to take care of all details. Documentation is one of the most important details that affect the success chances of the product.
At the same time, documentation is a very important factor for your teamwork. It helps to document all efforts, clarify the system, and all aspects related to the operations. On the other hand, Research shows that 77% of customers use self-search before reaching out to support agents, that's why is very important to offer them clear documents to refer to when needed. if you are intended to create your product, this blog will guide you to prepare full documentation in a professional way!
What is Product Documentation?
Product Documentation refers to the process of creating content that helps readers understand what the product is about. There are many types of documentation, but the most popular two documentation types are System and User documentation.
Types of Documentation
System documentation refers to the product system architecture. It aims to provide high technical audiences such as developers, researchers, and engineers with information such as design, source code, and technologies used in the system. Also, it provides a business part that aims to offer business analysts, marketers, and related employees information about the features and modules used in the system. Documentation for systems is not generally available to the public.
User documentation cares about the end-user experience. The purpose is to assist users in engaging with the product and maximizing its benefits. A technical audience or a non-technical audience is targeted here based on the product's nature.
Even if the target audience differs in reading, the information must be written carefully and accurately. The main goal of the documentation process is to provide clear and rich information to users to gain a number of benefits, the most important of which are:
Unlock product hidden features
High-quality documentation provides users with the full suite of product features and also guides users on how to effectively use those features. when the documentation is comprehensive and simple, users can unlock the hidden features they didn't realize, which means more valuable reasons to use!
Reduces customer support workload
For sure there is no documentation that can eliminate all customer support calls, but creating manuals and guides that are clear, concise, and comprehensive will go a long way. Where readable materials can sometimes be a preferred option and increase customer confidence in the product, and the availability of these materials reflects a positive image of the competence of product designers, which makes them more integrated with dealing with these materials.
Technical and business teams work together better on system documentation. Ex: roadmaps serve as guides for technical and business teams as they brainstorm and brainstorm new product ideas.
Serves as a resource
common organizational characteristic is turnover, employees leaving, and new joining means that we need full system documentation to help new teams come up quickly and contribute to efforts.
How to Create Product Documentation?
To take advantage of these benefits, whether it is for your employees or customers, you must know that creating good documentation requires a clear and comprehensive documentation strategy. It is not limited to gathering content into documents and publishing them.
There should be a set of elements available in your documentation such as quality, comprehensiveness, ease of understanding, and continuous updating.
Here are the following steps that help you build strong and creative documentation:
Target your Audience carefully
There are many types of documents you can offer such as user manuals, FAQs, training manuals, technical Architecture, and a lot more, You should consider the expectations of your audience from the document, the tone used in writing, and the way information is structured.
You have to consider the level of expertise of your audience. Whether they are users of your product or technical specialists, adapt a relevant tone so that your writing is readable for whichever audience the product is meant for. Write the documentation in a way that is understandable to the user.
By categorizing your documents, the audience is able to choose the documents that they need more easily, showcasing your information's structure and making it more readable. In technical documents, information must be categorized from the reader's standpoint rather than from the developer's standpoint. As for business-related information, it is very significant that it be simplified when compared with technical content. It is recommended to categorize your information into sections and subsections.
Be Simple and Clear
Some technical and content writers think that using complex terms shows the user that the product is very sophisticated and advanced. However, the opposite is true. Research indicates that users take a maximum of seven seconds to form an initial impression of whether they will continue reading the content or not. It is very critical that you use this amount of time in simple and short sentences, with the aim of drawing attention and completing the reading.
Do not try to procrastinate or rewrite the same ideas on different sites, Less is More!
The main objective of the documentation process is to provide information upon request. In most cases, users do not read a product guide unless they face a problem with the product. Therefore, you must provide troubleshooting for common problems a user may encounter.
It is also important that the solutions be simplified and summarized in the form of points or steps to help the user follow them. If your product contains parts, it is also preferable to detail these parts within an organized, clear, and interconnected structure within the components of the system.
Use Infographics and Diagrams
Stay away from immobility and boring narration. It is very important for the users to feel that the materials available to them are materials designed for them! You can use screenshots, graphics, and illustrations to simplify the work steps or the mechanism of explaining the product. In technical content, usually targeted to experts, it is also recommended to include business models and technologies used in forms and with infographics. It is also important to pay attention to uniform colors and sizes, and you should detail these graphics and include a caption if they explain steps or a sequential process.
Documentation for products includes information regarding the working of a product, its features, release notes, troubleshooting methods, and other relevant information. All these documents target two main categories: developers or expertise (system documentation), and business officers and end users (user documentation). The importance of creating quality content cannot be underestimated. We recommend you write a technical document keeping in mind all the steps above. Remember that well-designed, well-structured, and readable documentation reflects customers' trust in your product.