Technical documentation encompasses articulated and straightforward technical user guides. Technical documents explain the functionality of a product in simple terms.
Writing technical documentation requires product understanding and user feedback. Many aspects involved in technical documents are exhaustive and involve intricate details.
What are Technical Documents?
Technical documents describe the functionalities and features of a product. Ideally, a writer creates technical documentation for the software product development and engineering industry. Maintaining such online documentation falls under the domain of product teams and project managers.
Technical documentation refers to the virtual communication about technical processes through such documents.
A technical document is curated for the intended audience to make intricate technical details more transparent. Such documents provide information about the usability and workability of specialized products. A writer will write how-to guides using up-to-date information to show the functionality of a product.
The technical documentation includes technical specifications like:
Great technical documentation will have the end goal embedded in the content along with these descriptions. These user guides will explain the specific aspect of a new technical product to readers. Technical documentation benefits the product development lifecycle in software product development companies.
Technical Documentation: The Backbone of Software Development
Technical documentation is the backbone of administration and operation at a company and a straightforward journey to users. It is a detailed description of products with the sole goal of making it easy for the end-user to comprehend.
It is the company’s job to deliver technical documentation based on easy-to-understand architecture and dynamics. But, when you write technical documentation, you are not capturing the raw information from the product. Instead, you create user documents in such a way that they are:
Sometimes, professionals call software documentation the “nuts and bolts” of any product. Technical documents act as a form of customer support to bring satisfaction.
Technical documentation supports employees, users, and other audiences. Companies create technical documentation because it plays an integral part in the development cycle. An end user’s document serves purposes like:
- Knowledge transfer
- Development support
Due to this, developers should have error-free technical documentation, and expressions need to align with the product. Technical documentation online offers user instructions based on project plans after gaining insight from software testing.
When you create a technical document, it’s crucial to embed project-related information.
If you’re interested in learning the finer details of creating great technical documentation, then check out our technical writing certification course.
Who Can Use Software Documentation?
Technical documentation works with IT, medical, marketing, engineering, and more. The audience can consist of end-users or stakeholders of technical documentation. In some cases, programmers read the user manual too.
Users vary based on the type of technical documentation. For example, product documentation will benefit end-users and stakeholders. End-user documents help people use the product rather than invest in it.
A technical document keeps end-users in mind. The main goal of any great technical documentation is for the user to benefit from the product. In this way, end users can easily use the product after reading through the documentation.
For different process documents, writers and software development engineers craft for stakeholders. Developers can also fall under this audience, and so can the software engineers in the company. The ultimate goal with process documentation is that it provides the details featured in a specialized product. End-user documentation, product documentation, and process documentation have different audiences. Hence, the content will vary.
Why Create Technical Documentation?
As mentioned earlier, all types of technical documentation help minimize a product or software’s complex terms and intricacies. If there were no documentation in companies, then companies would lack information regarding the usability of a product or software. So, their audience would fail to use the product correctly.
Product documentation offers ways for users to understand the product’s functionality. A user will find the technical documentation an essential part of product distribution. It is an effective way to bring in beneficial ROI for the company because documentation can minimize customer dissatisfaction and reduce service hours.
With user documentation, you can troubleshoot your issues and answer all your questions. When it comes to internal operations, process documentation helps employees understand the workings of a new product. Such documentation includes data as a simple overview of the product planning process.
Technical Documentation Types
The industry uses two main types of technical documentation to process information about products or software.
Product Technical Documents
In product documentation, the content involves a product and its instructions. It includes the steps of performing tasks with the product as users, rather than developers. It also showcases information about products that a company has already developed.
Process documentation will include operating procedures like:
- Business logic
- Tech specifications
Technical documentation writers call this user documentation because it contains details of the finished product and focuses on the end product rather than the development process.
The style of this documentation will vary by audience:
- Team members
There are two sub-categories of process documentation:
System documentation describes the system and the parts involved in it, including the development process like:
- Documents required
- Design decisions
- Program source code documentation
This document involves the instruction and installation manuals curated for users and system administrators. It helps with user support by including the following information:
- User guides
- Installation documentation
- Troubleshooting manuals
- Reference manuals
Product Technical Documentation Examples
- User manuals
- Updates and project reports
- API Documentation
Process Technical Documents
Technical documentation that includes process documentation involves the maintenance and development process.
A documentation writer will create manuals to offer marketing support. It is technical documentation that talks about product development and everything entailed. Process-based documentation focuses on the user’s needs and outlines different product use steps.
This document can also include release details, data, and events that contribute to the evolution and progress of the product. Development teams can transfer knowledge and release notes and describe the product lifecycle stages through it.
Product Technical Documentation Examples
- Project proposals
- Project plans, reports, etc.
- Working papers
Benefits of Solid Technical Documentation
There are many benefits of technical documentation for software engineers and the project management team. Even system administrators find these documents beneficial. A well-planned, accurate structure for technical documentation helps the company and the users achieve what they seek. Technical documentation satisfies both through documentation.
If you are developing a product, you would want your business rules to adhere to it and your development team to have a successful test schedule. The main motive would be for your consumer to enjoy the end product.
As a customer, you want to have intricate knowledge about the product and its usability. You would like to use the services to their fullest potential.
With technical documentation releases, you can make your consumer understand the product. Moreover, as a consumer, you will know more about the product’s usability. Sometimes, you can use technical landing pages on your website to empower visitors with informative product efficiency.
Effective technical documentation uses architecture descriptions to showcase every aspect of the product.
The development team and the writer need a strong understanding of good technical documentation templates. Technical writers can benefit companies by possessing API documentation skills to enhance the online help systems.
Writing Requirements to Create Technical Documentation
When you are writing technical documents, it requires skill and experience. Technical writers develop documentation based on users’ requests by implementing version controls, roles, and permissions.
Even so, you can follow simple steps to create high-quality technical documentation:
- Consider the technical documentation template or design.
- Research the type of technical documentation.
- Outline what you want to write in a documentation plan.
- Use reviews and undergo many rounds of edits.
- Understanding the product requirements before writing.
- Use trial and error to test your documentation’s effectiveness.
- Publish and create a standard protocol from user stories.
Technical documentation requires proper planning and understanding of the test schedules. As a technical writer, you need to use the best practices while creating such documentation:
- Make a plan.
- Create transparency in your technical documentation.
- Do not repeat information.
- Develop a concise document.
- Include accessibility and consistency.
- Adhere to the technical documentation plan.
- Focus on the user and determine audience requirements.
The Bottom Line
Technical documentation answers all potential user questions. It is a way to safeguard your product’s functionality and keep it user-friendly. Such technical documentation includes features, developmental processes, and offers a strategic product functionality guide.
If you are new to technical writing and are looking to break-in, we recommend taking our Technical Writing Certification Course, where you will learn the fundamentals of being a technical writer, how to dominate technical writer interviews, and how to stand out as a technical writing candidate.