How can be documentation be optimized? What is the best format? We advise on all questions concerning your documentation.
What documents are needed?
Documentation is intended to help users get acquainted with the software and use it efficiently. Ideally, the documentation is oriented to users’ needs and helps them perform their tasks.
We help you in answering the question about what documents are needed for your software product. To do this, we carry out a task and target group analysis to show what the optimal information architecture should look like.
How do you optimize existing documentation?
For products that have been on the market for a long time, the product documentation has often grown over the years and is of considerable size. And although it has repeatedly been updated and supplemented as far as possible, it has never been restructured and adapted to meet changing requirements.
In the course of time, such a large amount of documentation becomes complex. Due to its large size, information is often added several times in different places and partly in different variants. Users often cannot find the information they need or they are confused by conflicting information. The documentation no longer answers users’ questions and support queries become more and more frequent.
Because of its size and the ever growing structures, appropriate maintenance and updating of the documentation becomes an ever greater challenge.
The next problem is often that the authoring tool, usually a classic word processor, is no longer up to the job. It has no Content Management functions that enable efficient updating and structuring. New formats such as an online documentation can no longer be created without enormous post-processing work.
The existing approach has reached its limits and is no longer future-oriented. But where do you begin with improvements? How can the documentation be structured better? And what tool is best for implementing the future solution?
We help you to redesign and optimize your existing documentation. We analyze it, work out the goals of the optimization with you, plan the implementation step by step, and help you in the transition.
What is the best format?
There are many software documentation formats such as online documentation or video tutorials on the web, as online help in the application, as manual in PDF format, or printed on paper.
We help you to choose the right format for your documentation. We tell you which format is best suited to your software products, your users, and your delivery processes.
Is a single-source approach feasible?
In single-sourcing, several different documents are generated from a single source, for example:
- Manual and online help
- Manual and training documents
- Online help for product variants
- Customer-specific manuals
The source is a single document or a collection of topics that can be combined to form documents. Authoring tools support single-sourcing by means of special functions such as conditional text, variables, text modules, and the generation of different output formats.
The advantage of a single-source solution is that only one source has to be maintained. This avoids redundancies and inconsistences. Maintenance work and translation costs can also be reduced.
However, there are many challenges to be overcome if you switch to single-sourcing. You have to decide on the most suitable single-source method and the best tool for the job. The text has to be divided into reusable units and rewritten so that it can be reused.
We help you to introduce a single-source solution. We analyze your documentation and check whether and how a single-source approach is feasible. After choosing the right tool, we help you to restructure your documents in such a way that an optimal reuse of the contents is guaranteed.
How can the documentation process be improved?
The new software release is ready but the documentation is not? The software has new features that have not yet been added to the documentation? The review of the documentation is too time-consuming and laborious?
In the case of such questions, it pays to look at the documentation process more closely: who has what tasks, who gets information from whom, what tools are used, etc. We analyze your current editing process and make recommendations about how it can be improved.