Documentation is a document that describes a product to its users (the structure, different phases of project, purpose, maintenance, and usage). Documentation is essential as processes are noted. It is important to keep a record of processes, changes, and requirements.
Documentation is common with software developers and programmers, it is however not restricted to Tech alone. Other sectors include Hospitals, Schools, Agriculture and the list is endless.
Benefits Of Quality Documentation
Documentation is not done for the benefit of new employees or users alone but stakeholders, and investors. However, documentation varies across all sectors, 3 types of documentation will be explained.
Importance of Quality Documentation
1. Help Retain a Client: One Way or the Other
You must have searched for instructions to figure out how to set up or use a product. I’m certain you were glad you learned how to use the product, what about times when the product didn’t come with or you do not understand the instruction, you got frustrated, dump the product and convince 2 more people that the product is trash and difficult to understand.
Note: Don’t write documentation that won’t be understood.
2. Self Guide
Documentation is more like a website, you take a tour and you know everything a company does, its location, email, etc same with documentation. Documentation conveys knowledge ( the know-how) of something.
3. It Reduces Stress/Cost for Support
When the documentation is available and simple to understand, the support team will have fewer worries.
4. Zero Errors
Errors in Documentation can be disastrous. For example, there are prescribed dosages for every drug based on age, rather then 2 tablets morning and evening, it says 2 tablets morning, afternoon, and evening, that’s the wrong dosage and drug abuse, and it sure has consequences on the user.
Disadvantages of Quality Documentation
l It takes a lot of time to prepare.
2 It is expensive.
Types of Documentation
Remember we said documentation is not restricted to software or product developers alone, let’s discuss the various types.
l System documentation- a document that involves all the processes of the development of a system, for example, data dictionaries, and data flow diagrams, etc.
2 Program documentation- documentation made by a programmer. He records all the steps he took in other for any programmer in the future to understand the code and processes used.
3 User documentation- includes a written or other visual information about software or system, how it works, and how to use it. This is a user guide that includes manuals, FAQs. It gives the necessary information a user need.
It’s possible to have documentation that isn’t useful (therefore it’s useless) – the choice of words must be simple because the document was made for users not the company (User Documentation). So make that document use-able
Update documentation- whenever you include new features or an additional fee, it is important to include the new features. Else the documentation can be said to be incomplete. It’s okay to have 2,3, or 4 versions, you must have noticed some textbooks have 2nd Edition (some changes happened).
Avoid incomplete documentation- After writing comes proofreading. This is also the perfect time to ensure the document isn’t incomplete because you don’t want to make a manual that isn’t useful to users.
Note: Never forget to proofread, because one little grammatical error can ruin everything.
If you remember a time were proper documentation helped you get a job or toy fixed, kindly share.