6 Online Product Documentation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
You’ve spent time and effort designing and coding the perfect product, a creation you will share with pride. So don’t feel tempted to cut corners when it comes to your documentation.
Good product documentation is more than a simple tick in the box at the end of your development. It’s your bridge to your end-user, the thing that will encourage the customer to make the most of your creation.
With that in mind, here’s a quick insight into the most common product documentation mistakes and how to avoid them on your next product launch.
1. The Product Documentation Is Large and Unwieldy
Yes, product documentation must be detailed. But equally, quality counts more than quantity. If product documentation is excessive, it won’t be fit for purpose. End-users won’t read it thoroughly.
Extensive online documentation also takes time to load. That might not be a problem for some readers. But if they are accessing the documentation remotely on poor wifi, it might be an issue.
2. Not Proofreading
Your product documentation process is a reflection of your product. You’ve meticulously created a high-quality product, so don’t go for shortcuts where the documentation is concerned.
Common problems include product documentation typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors. Before releasing any new document, hire a proofreading professional to give it the once over.
3. Product Documentation Not Up to Date
Product files are living documents reflecting everything your customer or user needs to know. These files must always be kept up to date, as even a single erroneous sentence could render them unusable.
Always assign an owner to your product documentation. Ensure this person takes charge of overseeing the version history and notes down any new updates with the relevant numbering system.
You can also use a c# barcode to help you version control each new documentation release.
4. Inconsistent Formatting
It’s not only spelling mistakes that will leave your product documentation looking incomplete and of poor quality. Not paying attention to the formatting is a common mistake when finalizing your technical documents.
The best way to achieve consistent formatting is to keep things simple. Choose a standard, easily readable font, decide on your spacing, and use simple heading rules.
Plenty of white space in the document is also a good idea because it will make the information more readable. That’s important with technical documentation, which can sometimes feel like a reading challenge.
5. Failing to Update Templates
Chances are, your product documentation will begin life as a template. Perhaps that’s a template you download from the internet or one you use in your organization.
Either way, it will contain additional content, such as file names and headers that you’ll need to replace.
Even the most diligent people overlook minor details occasionally and inadvertently release a document containing incorrect template information. Double-check this information as part of your proofreading task.
6. Poor Structure
You don’t want your reader to have to wade through dozens of pages of information to find the answer they need. Help your audience by creating a simple and easy-to-follow structure.
Putting your information online means you’ll give people the opportunity to click on shortcuts that will take them to the right section and for people to use a keyword search.
Make the most of these features when constructing your online product documentation.
Don’t Trip up With These Six Product Documentation Mistakes
You’re almost complete with your product, so don’t fall right at the final hurdle. Watch out for these six typical product documentation mistakes before releasing your new creation to the world.
For more top tips that will help your development run smoothly, check out our technology section before you go.