SOLABS Documentation Portal: Coming January 2016!
SOLABS Documentation - 21 October 2015
If you work in software documentation, you know it is quite challenging to get users to read the documentation. ’No one reads the manual,’ we hear repeatedly. But Documentation isn’t what it used to be! It’s no longer your traditional 800-page unconsulted user guide. It’s agile, it’s online, it’s just in time, and it’s responsive!
Documentation is intended to perform a service for the reader—get them out of trouble, get them started and up the hill, make their work flow better—and since the reader has changed in the last few decades, Documentation has had to change too!
I started in Documentation at SOLABS in a Technical Writer position in late April 2015, and my colleague Dan joined me soon afterwards. Within our first month, SOLABS CEO Philippe Gaudreau tasked us with setting up an online Documentation and Community resource.
We looked at traditional online help with its rigid structure and limited portability and lack of updating ease, and it made us think more of live websites. But more specifically portals, because it had to have a centralized, dedicated feel and availability, for the subset of folks involved in SOLABS QM problem-solving.
We will be reclaiming documentation by making it varied in media [print, video, short text formats], edited for usefulness and brevity, posted online and available to all SOLABS QM users. We will use categories and search to make content easier to find, helping you drill down to easily find the solution to your problem.
What we ended up with is essentially a Swiss army knife: a collection of the tools we thought would be the most useful and conducive to people in need of problem-solving:
A document library
A discussion forum
A collection of tutorial videos
A frequently asked questions section
Please keep in mind that we’ve only just begun, so stick with us. Over time, more content will be uploaded: videos and tutorials by request, and print documents and FAQs as required or suggested. The portal’s sole purpose is to make the SOLABS QM software, concepts and workflow easier for you to use.
And we’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: the resource is for you, so if you have any ideas, comments, suggestions or requests, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Documentation Portal Release Date
SOLABS QM users will start getting login instructions and passwords in their emails in January 2016. We look forward to it!