10 tips for helping your users follow IT documentation (free PDF)
Good documentation can help your end users become more self reliant, freeing you from some time-consuming hand holding. This ebook outlines several ways you can make sure your documentation is current, accessible, and genuinely useful.
From the ebook:
Let’s face it. We live in an instant gratification society, which makes it stressful when you work in a service-oriented industry such as IT. Juggling the needs of multiple people at once, all of whom are vying for some sort of knowledge or skill you possess, can be a difficult challenge to surmount.
Therefore, it’s within your best interests to offload as much knowledge as you can so your users can access and benefit from it without your assistance. Proper documentation you can consistently refer to—and count on—is one of the greatest assets in your toolbox to keep the ship afloat and maintain your sanity.
Good documentation is comprehensive and relevant. It also covers the entire picture: detailed steps/tasks as well as the overall reasoning behind the process. Here are 10 ways you can help your users get the most out of your documentation.
Use a centralized repository
The worst kind of documentation involves a set of emails, a Word document being passed around, or some other version of information that is held or referenced by one person at a time.
You have to keep your user guides in a centralized location—a wiki, a SharePoint site, a Google Document, or some other place where multiple people can access it at once and changes you make will be reflected instantly. The link should be widely shared and included in new employee training guides.
You don’t have to give users write permissions to the material (in fact I recommend that you don’t). But everyone who needs the information, or may need it down the line, should at least have read permissions to the content.
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