Write less - say more
Nobody reads manuals for pleasure or browses the online help just to see what is there. When users do access the documentation, they do so to find an answer to a specific question. And most of the time, they need an answer very, very fast.
This insight is the basis for minimalism in documentation. The rule of minimalism is that you only give the user the information they need, and only when they need it. When describing how a task is performed, do not explain how the program works or what other options the user has. Divide your information into clear sections that either describe a concept, define a procedure, or list reference information. And keep all your topics short, clearly structured and easy to find.
Write less - produce more
Minimalism is also the basis of clever documentation production strategies. Copying and pasting text leads to traceability issues, suboptimal localization and potential inconsistencies in your documents. With novel reuse methods, like DITA or text insets, you can minimize the editing efforts and localization costs, while creating better and more consistent documentation in more media (PDF, online help, web, eBooks, etc.).
Write me - get smarter
If you want to improve the quality of your output while optimizing the production process at the same time, contact me and find out how high the returns on a small investment can be. With 20+ years experience as a technical author, trainer and consultant, and based on essential technical knowledge and programming skills, I can offer you:
- advice on improving the usability of your current documentation
- advice on optimization of your documentation production process
- impartial advice on available documentation tools and strategies
- training of authors on writing better, minimalist, manuals
- integration of existing tools into a tailor-made solution that fits your team like a glove
Welcome to the world of optimized, cost-effective, minimalist documentation.