Documentation is an essential part of creating and using an online platform for managing various business operations and tasks. The numerous open projects your organization is working on will only be successful if you follow proper documentation techniques and tools. Furthermore, employees responsible for documentation might get annoyed by the amount of work and time it takes to complete documentation tasks, which keeps them from working on their real tasks.
In this article, you will find helpful tips that will improve the way to perform online documentation, which will also have great benefits on overall productivity.
- Add Examples Where Possible
In order to make any concept easy-to-understand, it is important that you add relevant examples in the document. If any user is unable to fully understand the concept that you are debating on, then the purpose of the document will get lost.
- Adding Images for Easy Understanding
Aside from examples, another thing that makes online documentation much better are images. Adding images means describing a detailed phenomenon in simple visuals. Let’s say you want your users to learn to use an application, but you decide to pen down a detailed list of steps. Although the text will define the use perfectly, it will take more time for a user to read-through the entire document.
However, if you add images instead of plain text, you will make learning much easier and less annoying for users. Furthermore, writing about several keys and commands is harder to understand and follow than screen grabs that define any process in less time.
- Manage Knowledge Shared by Communities
Businesses enjoy amazing benefits from community-shared knowledge, which allows them to solve many customer problems in an easier way. However, the biggest drawback of having communities is that you have a lot of people sharing information, which makes things complicated. A user looking for a relevant answer will have to spend a lot of time.
This happens as a result of poor management as different community members keep ranting in the comments section, making it quite hard to find the right answer. Therefore, in order to make it easy for anyone to find answers to their questions, make sure you are monitoring every user’s response.
If you come across any irrelevant response that has nothing to do with the topic, feel free to delete it to keep the collective knowledge-base clean and highly useful for end-users. Anything that isn’t proving to be helpful should be deleted right away.
- Link to Relevant Sources
Trying to make your end-users understand a topic means you will need to describe everything in detail. Consider them as people who know nothing about the topic that you are discussing about. That’s when you will be able to make helpful online documents for end-users.
One such factor that makes topics easier to understand is linking the text to right sources. When reading about something on the internet, you might have come across linked text that redirects you to another page. These links are meant to further describe any idea or concept that you might not have discussed enough within the document.
Linking text to sources that offer highly valuable information on the topic makes it easier for end-users to understand the concept. If you are only mentioning great sources at the bottom of the document, then you will make it hard for the users to come across it. Therefore, always hyperlink the text to relevant sources for enhanced end-user experience.
- Make it Easy to Browse
What happens when your customers cannot find the category that they are looking for? Yes, they leave the page with utter disappointment.
If you have created an extensive knowledge base, you first need to ensure that it is offering help to your customers or else it will lose its purpose. A good knowledge base is the one that contains great search capabilities like ProProfs. However, if you don’t have a platform with such capabilities, it is better to offer end-users a list of options that they can choose to find what they are looking for.
Create subcategories for different content-types and topics to enable users to locate relevant information in less time. Having a massive knowledge-base is only going to be helpful if it features easy browsing.
- Use Videos for Easy Understanding
Videos are becoming increasingly popular and most internet users prefer them over text-based documents. The reason for this popularity is the fact that videos make anything seem more interesting, interactive, and easy-to-understand.
If you are trying to explain a complex task, writing the process step-by-step in the form of text will leave users completely overwhelmed, confused, and annoyed. However, if there is a video that users can play and watch the explanation of the process in visual form, it will become extremely easy for them to understand.
A good way to make use of videos is to add brief steps at the bottom so when users need to retain important information, they don’t need to search for it in the video over again.
Useful Online Documentation Platforms to Use
Creating and managing online documentation following the right techniques can be crucial. Therefore, it is best to make use of the most efficient and effective documentation platforms that offer numerous features that make documentation a breeze.
Some of the most widely used online documentation tools include the following:
- RoboHelp – This software enables publishing of online documentation to multiple formats.
- ProProfs Knowledge Base Software – This platform is ideal for managing all types of documents using with the WYSIWYG editor, which helps create, edit, access, and update information.
- Helpjuice – This software is quite easy-to-use and doesn’t require users to install features. It comes with a built-in PDF creator.
- HelpGizmo – This platform features an embedded widget that allows users to offer content from within the application and recommend content based on user location in the application.
If you want your online documentation to be useful for end-users, make use of one of the aforementioned platforms.