Applying the Four Key Pillars

In my last documentation post, I talked about the 4 Key Pillars of writing user documentation.  This post is about how to apply those Four Pillars.

  1. FIND the information they want, easily.
    • Create Indexes, Table of Contents & Cross-References to further information.
  2. UNDERSTAND the information when they do find it.
    • Understand your audience.  Research them.  Understand how they work.
    • Create a Glossary of terms used in the document.
    • If the audience you are writing for, uses jargon, use that jargon in your documentation.
    • Writing style
      KISS – Keep It Short and Simple.
      Make it easy to read.
      Make it easy to understand
  3. Rely on the information being ACCURATE
    • Inaccurate information is worse than no information!
      Why?  Because it erodes confidence in your documentation.
    • Don’t waffle.  Give the user the exact information they need.
    • Ensure spelling, grammar, punctuation errors are fixed as much as possible before printing.
  4. Rely on the information being COMPLETE
    • Table of Content should contain all the information your audience expects, which allows them to find the information easily (point 1).
    • Your documentation is complete when your audience is happy.

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