Many people are reluctant to have to write the IT software documentation and so their initial reaction when hearing that they have been given the task is to frown or get disappointed. Unfortunately, this is something that has to be done no matter what and someone should be willing to make this sacrifice for the whole team. The writing of the documentation can occur at any point during a project’s life cycle so it depends on the team when they decide to do it. However, it is highly advisable that this is done at the end of the project because this way everything will be covered well and there will be no need for the addition of new things to the text.
If it happens that you are given the task to write the documentation but you feel as if you are not ready to do it yet because you lack some knowledge, all you have to do is go online and look up more information on the subject. Additionally, you can read these 5 tips on writing high quality IT software documentation and try to follow them. Surely they will greatly improve your end product, which would make both you and your team very happy.
If it is possible, try to add some pictures to the documentation. There is an old saying that goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words”, and in this case this just might be true. By adding pictures at all of the most important parts of the documentation you will save yourself from having to explain some things in great details such as for instance the interface of the software, the different features, etc. Adding pictures will result in a smaller and less complex document, which is just what you should aim for. Furthermore, system users love to have pictures, diagrams, and tables as a source of quick reference.
A simple yet effective way of explaining something is to give examples. Many people seem to forget to do this when in fact this can help you a lot in the writing of the IT software documentation. Through examples users can quickly grasp concepts that they might not be able to fully understand otherwise. When the user has to sit down and learn how to operate on a new software, they will find it much easier to tackle this problem when there are some examples that help explain everything.
Test Your Documentation
The best way to see if you have done well with the writing of your software documentation is to sit down and start following the instructions that you have written. If you have to do something that requires a lot of work, it might happen that you have missed a small but important detail. When you follow your own instructions accordingly you will be able to notice whether you have missed out on anything important. Another thing that you can try is work with a co-worker who is unaware of how the software works and see if the documentation does well to help them. You will be amazed at how much this will change your perspective. There might be some features which seem obvious to you but to them they are hard to find. Make sure that you ask them for feedback at the end.
Humanize Your Work
Have you had to read through a manual that really makes you feel like it was written by a machine? Although you wouldn’t want to write a novel, make sure to humanize the documentation as best as you can.
Follow the Guidelines
When you are writing the software documentation, make sure that you follow the appropriate standard guidelines. This way you will be sure that no important information is excluded and users will have an easier time reading and understanding the documentation.
Having to write the IT software documentation is a task that many feel reluctant to do. Surely, it is not the most anticipated part of the project but somebody has to do it if you want everything to be on spot. If you have to write it, follow these 5 simple but effective tips and you will find that it is not as hard as you might have thought.