Documentation Templates: The key to create professional documentation
Companies fail understanding the importance of using documentation templates. What do you think when you open a document? I have seen technical documents and manuals that I found hard to read. Why? The lack of a good layout, the styles were inconsistently used within the document and furthermore, the content was not properly organized.
The Challenge for companies and freelancers are changing fast.
Companies and freelancers must take opportunities that arise fast in order to stay on top of business, therefore having to write every time documentation from scratch is costly and frustrating.
Many engineers, developers and testers find it difficult to create documentation that will be delivered to customers.
Service providers need to understand the importance of delivering professional documentation with the products. In current economic crisis we face, this is the key to be a step ahead competition.
Once my manager asked me to create a Request For Answer about the company business for one of the clients. Although the deadline was tight and manager expressed his opinion we should write some high level information, I approached the RFA different.
Challenge.Get input from intranet, upper management and from Product Managers working on a different time zone.
Issue. Tack of time and the high amount of information needed. We had some internal documentation template, but none was professional to catch the reader’s eye.
ActionI have “stressed everyone” and pretty hard in order to get all necessary information to complete the document. I have also created a new layout template and a content template to be used for further RFA documents. Having a great layout for your documents does not mean the final document is outstanding. Catching the reader’s eye is the first step to creating outstanding documents. The other major ingredient to create outstanding documents is the content. Write meaningful content and structure it so that the intended audience find it easy to read.
ResultThe customer send an excellent feedback on the document received stating that no other contractor they work with have ever send such a complete and “good looking” document.
What matters in professional documentation
For more than 8 years, I have navigated through technical documentation and met very frustrated engineers writing documentation. In general, technical people don’t know how to write professional documents. They find it difficult to even write the content; we cannot expect them to create excellent layout and consistent content.
Look and feel
The document at a first glance has a high impact on the reader, making the document layout the first major factor for writing outstanding documents.
Consistent usage of styles increases readability, usability and clarity, allowing reader to easily find needed information.
Content and content organization
Deliver actionable information that allows people to better use products and services. Be smart when structuring information, If you’re creating technical documents other than user manuals, you might use content templates to be consistent through the technical documents you’re writing within the company.
Based on these challenges, we have established documentation templates benefits
- High brand consistency – consistent documentation. If well designed the templates, your customers will always remember you as the company who has a strong brand.
- Best Use of resources – increase focus on real-tasks. People writing documentation will be able to focus on real –tasks than creating documentation from scratch.
- Reduce costs and save time. Engineers will have a customized framework to start their documentation, simplifying the creation of documents.