Creating good documentation header

Creating good documentation is always a challenge. It needs to be easy to understand and quick to find what you need

The trouble is that software programs are generally very complex. So some great features can end up being undocumented and might not be widely used.

On a recent app I was working on, I started to embed little help guides on pages you could click a button to make them appear. I found this to be a very good approach, there's no need to lookup a manual or perform a search. The help you need is right there on the page itself.

So yesterday I added a WYSIWYG editor and a way to write and maintain these help pages on the pages themselves. It's a very good workflow, meaning as we are building the features for an app, we can document them at the same time.

The approach we can take with our documentation now is;

  1. Use a quick start guide to take people through the basics and get them started.
  2. Have on page help that can be easily accessed with more details.
  3. Include our own internal documentation in the same system

Doing it this way, it's easier for the end users and easier to maintain as developers.

All the features now have a place to be documented and the need for training and experience is reduced.

The next step?

Building a quick way we can organise these help pages so they are also available in a help area of each app.

Something along the lines of a drag and drop menu builder

Documentation won't be such a chore or something that happens at the end of a project any more. It will always be high quality and written when things are freshest (While doing it)

We'll do all the hard work while things are getting built. Quickly add these pages into a detailed help system in the app once it is built, then create a quick start guide to onboard new users.