To make users’ life easier, producers need to take care of creating a proper product description. I’m sure you’ve had a new device or software that you didn’t know how to use for the first time.
There are two types of people. The first group is users that will try to start using this product without any help. Been there, done that. And you can trust me that you may find out how to use your new thing properly. But you can also get frustrated and never use it again.
There is also a second group. The second group needs to have instruction or product descriptions. This product description is also professionally called technical documentation.
What is technical documentation and how to write it properly? What will you gain by using online technical documentation software? And which software is the best?
You will find answers to these questions in the text below.
- What is a technical documentation?
- Online technical documentation – when & why should you use it?
- Advantages of Online Documentation Software
- The Best Online Documentation Software
- Conclusion for Online Documentation Software review
What is a technical documentation?
According to the definition, technical documentation can be an online document that contains a description of functionality, a user’s manual, or service architecture.
The best way to visualize this is to associate it with the user’s guide, know-how. Thanks to the guide a user, a new employee, or simply a person interested in the product can easily get familiar with how your product works and what are his features.
It all sounds beautiful, doesn’t it? However, the reality is not always as pretty as the theory. Everyone has stumbled upon a user’s manual or a completely unintelligible product description. This is why the making of technical documentation should be left to the professionals, so-called technical writers.
Online technical documentation – when & why should you use it?
As we explained in the last paragraph, technical documentation should be first and foremost user friendly. The text is written understandably. The documentation’s accessibility is equally important.
That’s the reason we will try to explain here why and when online technical documentation should be used.
Good quality technical documentation should be present in companies and enterprises that manufacture products from the fields of technology, medicine, industry, or IT. To put it simply – such documentation should be wherever products are made.
This type of document is not only helpful in customer service. It is a great tool for workers, administrators, and investors. Well written technical documentation is an important and invaluable asset.
As it was mentioned earlier, good access to technical documentation is very important. Having an online version of technical documentation is very convenient, even from the manufacturer’s point of view. Thanks to the virtual copy you can access and share it with anyone, anytime. With the usage of properly tailored software, you can make many lives easier – including yours! You can trust us on this one!
Types of technical documentation
Right, now that we know why is it so crucial to have technical documentation it is time to present some examples.
The most common types of technical documentation are as follows:
- End-user documentation – documentation meant for the product’s user. It includes user’s manual, description of the product, and its individual parts.
- Requirements documentation – documentation that contains design descriptions, descriptions of the processes, and functions. The target group is people working on the project.
- Marketing documentation – documentation made for internal and external marketing teams. It makes communication between the company and the public possible.
- Technical specification – a document that contains information regarding a specific element or an object, created mainly from engineers. It describes the element’s/object’s mechanism, attributes, and purpose.
The four mentioned above are just examples. In real life, many more types and models are used, depending on the content. It is impossible to cover everything in just one documentation. Companies create documents for various purposes. And this is why choosing proper online documentation software is so crucial.
What should be in online technical documentation?
Documentation should consist of several parts. This structured content makes the document very transparent for the reader. And as we have mentioned earlier – being user-friendly is a must.
What are those mandatory parts that online technical documentation should have? These are:
- Title – informs what the document is about;
- Subtitle – contains additional information about the content of the text;
- Overview – tells you what will you learn out of this document;
- Table of content – makes the navigation across the document easy and helps you find specific information;
- Features – sections of the document from the table of content, put in order;
- Read next – similar articles or texts you should familiarize yourself with after reading the text.
Luckily you don’t need to remember all of this. By using existing solutions and themes you can have a peace of mind since they are being adjusted to creating this type of documents and will remind you about the crucial parts.
Advantages of Online Documentation Software
Still not sure is it worth using online documentation software? Let’s focus now on highlighting the most important benefits that make this a better solution than the standard, paper documentation.
The main advantage of coming from having online technical documentation is that many people can collaborate.
Working on a project is usually a task for the entire project team. It is much easier and more convenient when all the people can work on the same document simultaneously. The vast majority of online documentation software allows making changes and updates in real-time.
Increase in productivity and efficiency
Better teamwork automatically gives us another benefit – an increase in productivity and efficiency. The time that team must have spent for printing, corrections, and re-entering them is now saved. Additionally, you don’t need to waste time searching for the proper binders or user guides – all you need to do is open your browser and search for a file you need!
Unlimited and easy access to the resources from anywhere in the world
Easier access is one thing. But managing knowledge online is also unlimited access from anywhere in the world as long as you’re online. Having a presence on the other side of the globe? No problem, you don’t even need your USB stick. A client in a different time zone wants to try your product? They don’t need to worry about losing their manual as it is always available online.
Backups and restore of lost data
I think everyone that creates documents fears of unexpected data loss. Modern technology allows us to create backups and restore our data in case of an unexpected crash. One worry less for technical writers.
Better data protection
Data protection is a vital matter for every company, regardless of its size. You can pick online software that will satisfy your particular needs. The majority of modern solutions lets you create a list of users that made changes, created, or viewed the documents. It is surely a useful feature when we want to identify who’s behind the alerts that we see.
More eco-friendly solution
By creating technical documentation online, we save trees. It is an important factor – you’ll be using almost unlimited online storage instead of trees.
By switching to online solutions you’re saving not only trees, but money too! Some software is available only after paying the subscription fee. However, the yearly subscription is still cheaper than the cost of paper, stationery, and all the things that you need to maintain proper, traditional documentation.
The Best Online Documentation Software
The choice of the best online documentation software is not an easy one. There are so many of them it can be overwhelming and it is hard to decide which option is the most advantageous for us. You always have to take into consideration several factors such as the number of people who will be using it, the target user, and the size of the project.
In this part, we will present our pick of the best Online Documentation Software of 2020. Hopefully, you’ll find something for you!
WordPress gives its users lots of freedom. Thanks to that you’ll have the possibility to personalize and adjust it to your and specific technical documentation’s needs. You can find tons of plugins and options that allow you to create a clear and easy to read the documentation.
With WordPress, you can definitely create documentation adjusted to your needs. Users will definitely find all the desired information without any hassle thanks to the clear and intuitive layout which makes the solution 100% user-friendly.
It is no secret that we prefer and encourage to use themes. As we know, our brain works in a certain way. When opening a documentation one more-less knows what should be there. The same applies to users – certain items and proper structure are aspects that technical documentation writer should take proper care of.
By choosing LearnMore theme you can be sure that your final project will satisfy all written and unwritten requirements of technical documentation. End-user will fall in love with it from the first sight and you’ll be spared a worry or two.
Related article: Best WordPress Knowledge Base and Documentation themes
Another modern solution in the world of online documentation software is ClickHelp. ClickHelp is a web-browser based solution and is acclaimed by IT companies all around the world.
With the help of this online documentation tool, you will create online user manuals, knowledge bases, help files, FAQs, and tutorials which you can publish instantly on your website. If you want to try ClickHelp we have some good news for you – you can start with a 30-day free trial. That should be enough to decide whether this solution satisfies your technical documentation needs or not.
Find out more: https://clickhelp.com/
ProProfs Knowledge Base
If you’re looking for a free online documentation software to start with, ProProfs may be just the thing for you.
The undoubted advantages of this solution are the ease of creating and managing documents online. User can easily adjust their content and publish it. What is interesting, there are reports available about your Knowledge Base. Regardless if you’re looking for a solution to make technical, training, or informative documentation, ProProfs will stand up to the challenge.
Find out more: https://www.proprofs.com/
A premium option of online documentation software is Confluence. This platform was made for writing, organizing, and sharing your knowledge both internally and externally. Thanks to Confluence your company’s knowledge and technical documentation will be centralized with easy access for anyone.
In our opinion Confluence is the solution that contains all the necessities of a good technical documentation tool.
Find out more: https://www.atlassian.com/
Confluence is the last item on our list. If you want to learn more, feel free to read the article which covers the best software for technical writers.
Conclusion for Online Documentation Software review
To sum up – by using online documentation software you participate in your company’s success. It is beneficial to take good care of transparency and stick to the patterns that make users come back to you more willingly. Meeting client’s expectations and earning their trust is very important in every line of business. But be careful not to forget about your needs – you should pick the software that is best for you too!