In our guide, we’ll show you how to turn your documentation from a drag into a quick routine in 5 steps.
Making Docs — Fast & Painless
Professional services like Clickhelp.com have some tricks up their sleeve when it comes to making, reviewing, and releasing documents.
We’ll share their best 5 tips with you, so you can prepare, assess and publish documents — memos, guidelines, schedules — while staying time-efficient.
1. Power of Templates
There’s no need to reinvent a bicycle each time you need to release a document. Odds are, there’s already a template professionally designed by people who know a thing or two about the visual appeal, brevity, and how to evoke an audience’s positive response.
Besides, using templates provides:
- Bigger audience. You can tweak the template to release it via multiple channels. Including social media: Instagram, Telegram, FB, etc. Plus, you can use them to create docs of various types and “genres”: booklets, polls, corporate memos, advertising flyers, and so on.
- Time efficiency. You can create documents for multiple projects at the same time. A repertoire of templates will help you prepare a financial report, sales proposal, nondisclosure agreement, and pretty much anything else you need — all in one sitting!
- Staff relief. Your technical writers will be grateful. And satisfied employees always produce a better output.
Even if you need to design doc from scratch, a template could serve as a source of inspiration or reference. For instance, if you’ve never designed an employment agreement before, there are obligatory terms you must include:
- Employee’s wages and other rewards.
- When and why employment termination can happen.
- What would be considered a breach of the agreement?
A properly prepared agreement will remove all possible misunderstandings between you and your workers. Plus, it can potentially save your company from a lawsuit filed by a peevish ex-employee. This is the power of a well-designed document.
2. Message = Key
Before getting to the pad and pen, you need to have a clear vision of your:
What will you say in this document? Once you know it, stick to your message and avoid random ramblings, deviations, or unnecessary info. Some people enjoy illustrating their docs. And it’s totally okay — we process visual data 60,000 times faster.
But you also need to avoid overkill when slapping pie graphics, charts, photos, and other images. It leads to unnecessary clutter, which sabotages the whole idea of your presentation. Less is always more.
For whom is the doc meant? Are your future readers highly-trained experts, or some casual folks who know nothing about technical mambo-jumbo?
For example, the Royal College of General Practitioners recommends that doctors never use high-brow medical jargon when talking to their patients. And rightly so: it’s the easiest way to alienate a person who’s not on the same academic level as you.
But even if your target audience is highly competent in a given area, even then you shouldn’t shower them with a hail of smart words — it quickly leads to exhaustion. To rephrase Queen, too many terms will kill you.
- Team’s awareness
Your staff must understand all of the abovementioned too. Explain to them in simple words what you expect from the document. Imagine, formulate and share the mission goals with them.
Again, simplicity is the key. It’s best to have just a few tasks prepared for each doc. Tell them which visual aesthetics you have in mind. Give a hint to what kind of language to use. Explain what problem you’re solving together. And finally, tell them to keep it simple.
This planning is like putting the rails for a train. Once they are there, your doc journey will be smoother than butter.
3. Integration Is the Foundation
At some point, your creative team, department, or the entire company may switch to other software, platforms, and services. It happens especially often these days when cloud-based solutions gain more and more popularity.
Usually, when something like this happens, your staff may lose some of the valuable data. It happens due to the poorly prepared integration.
Whatever solution you’re switching to, make sure it actually can support docs you’ve created with the previous software.
In the future, it will liberate you from re-making some important papers from scratch and give you more freedom to edit possible blunders and mistakes.
Writing and reviewing are like Yin and Yang. They can’t exist without one another. So, technical writers and the developers should act as one force via the same unified platform like Clickhelp, and so forth.
If they can coordinate their efforts
- in real-time,
- in one place,
- quickly exchange feedback.
This is especially fruitful if your company works internationally. Imagine this situation — your brand specializes in making medical gear: sanitary masks, defibrillators, nebulizers, etc.
You need to dispatch a consignment of the same merger to a few countries at once: India, Switzerland, and Korea. Naturally, your documentation must be designed according to:
- Marketing plan. Each country demands a unique advertising approach, compliance language, illustrations, etc. All due to regional specifics.
- Language. You will need to translate packaging, advertising/promotional items, emails, user manuals.
- Format. Even though there are nuances and differences to observe, all of your docs must be designed according to a general standard. This strengthens the inner logic of your company’s efforts.
Needless to say, your company should work like one organism — a metaphoric, corporate centipede if you please.
Then the workflow will dramatically speed up. Just make sure the collaborative platform of your choice offers reviewing and editing options: grammar and style check, commenting, automatic backups, etc.
5. Be laconic
And again, stick to the purpose. Write clearly worded docs. Seek to solve a problem as fast as it’s possible. Your clients have no time to lose — they want quick and out-of-the-box solutions.
And don’t waste too much time on writing ridiculously big, cluttered, and overcomplicated documents. Make them intuitive instead. And your clientele will pay back in loyalty and dedication.