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4 best software documentation practices

10 mins read

Software documentation is that manual you get digitally as a short training course while subscribing to the services of software or a platform like document & knowledge management or for call centre ticketing & scripting.

It is indeed a great step that you are providing your agents with tools that help them in performing their jobs easily and delivers better outputs instead of getting stuck up with trivial issues. But do you think that is a complete step unless proper training is provided to get friendly with the same?

An untrained service provided is a mirror reflection of throwing a sailor in high seas with all equipment and no support to use them. It is bound to make them drown and most people ashore shall not even be drawing slightest hints of the reason behind.

Such steps, moreover, lead to confusion while getting used to the software leading to complexities and delay in the job. A software manual being documented is both easy and creative as well.

The 3 dimensional use of software documentation

1. Host’s branding

You definitely need a creator to engineer and code a platform/software as per your needs in a manner that helps the users to get friendly quickly and put it straight to work. The quality of software, copyrights, and USP creates a great platform for constant and subtle advertisement of the developer/host.

2. Organization’s branding

As an organization, when you present a particular system/ software/platform to use as an equipment in supporting your employees and agents in their day to day jobs, you essentially require it to fit their individual and team requirements as well. The tone of your brand and its values too shall be upheld.

3. Product placement

A wisely developed platform knows exactly where a product should be placed on a website or an app to make it more visible in the eyes of prospective buyers. While training the employees to use a platform through its software documented information, a team leader but ensures lead generation and conversion through proper CTAs and executing all reports obtained about customer behavior and engagement.

4 Best practices for software documentation

1. List down requirements of the user

What is the basic purpose being served and to whom it must be addressed? What is the size of the organization, how many employees will be using the platform, what is the organizational structure, etc must be decided before customising the platform to their particular needs?

2. Address the basic build-up of the system

You need to understand your product in and out real well as it is the only way to explain it to the users. Know what are the unique features and how well can these be used for various operations of the organization. Explain it to your staff first and record their queries, reactions, expectations, and loopholes being pointed out.

3. State all technical requirements

Software developed to get integrated with existing system versions and work in the best ways possible on various machines clearly means complicated coding structure. This calls for a clear description in the software documentation about all technical expertise required in installing, running, and managing at the front end & back end as well. This must be clearly mentioned describing compatibility.

4. Create a simple user guide

Explain it to the client just like you would prefer being introduced to something of prime importance to you. Do not complicate things unnecessarily by using ornamented language. You are not creating a literature marvel; you are presenting a pitch for your product and its auxiliary services. Remember to use bullets and keep the content short and on-point.

How is a user guide created?

Parties involved:

  • Subject matter experts
  • Content experts
  • Product experts

How to create a good guide for software documentation

Conduct a user analysis. Know your customers completely. Understand their relation to the organization, post, profile, client organization’s expectations, etc. Jot down each small detail of your software that shall help them and try to maintain a problem v/s solution structure for better and quick referencing.

Read all the documents created so far. Brainstorm with your content and product team to figure out how can you keep the documents brief yet focus on all the pin points. Eliminate any line that gives rise to the possibility of unnecessary detailing and deviation of the topic. Always write straight forward and layman language content.

Never forget to include the numerical benefits. This means that the benefits you deliver are always best measured if quantified. Numbers, graphs, and statistical charts are easy to read and understand. It contributes to the positivity of your sale value and generates trust from your customer.

Test the software and make sure that not a single thing you can’t provide is mentioned in there. Test each aspect and every function and run multiple pilot tests to affirm that even after multiple or continuous usage, the software won’t pile up junk and reduce its quality of output. Clearly mention any technical requisites to keep the platform running in good shape.

Review the draft so created of the software documentation. Keep its CTAs, working, links, and all attachments at proper places that grant complete visibility to your document as well. Give short demo videos right after you mention some complicated action so that the users can get a real-time understanding of the platform without having to switch sites in the initial testing/training itself.

Conclusion

Software documentation seems like an easy process similar to writing an essay/blog/article for your product. However, it is in fact a lot different from those forms of writing. This is an essential document that acts as virtual support for your users to read and implement. You can compile it in form of images, texts, links, videos, quizzes, and more; and color code the entire document branding your customer or your own self at the same time.

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