What’s possible with software documentation

What's possible with software documentation

You, yes, you are an end user, someone for whom a product or software is made. To use a less technical term, an end user is a member of an audience and notably, an audience that interacts with the final product to achieve a working goal, e.g., an IT company using the latest software to advance its computer prowess. In a convenient coincidence, an end user is also a result of software technical documentation, or to put it another way, targeting the end user comes after describing the end user, an effort which sees jargon and necessary marketing pressure points combined. Technical writers, our main focus for this piece, are tasked with not only putting together manuals and the like for end users, but they also write the documents that explain the documents that explain the products. It gets pretty meta.

How About a Little Bit More Information Regarding Software Technical Documentation?

So, as is to be expected, there are a couple of subfields in software technical documentation. The main two categories are product documentation and process documentation. The names do give away the purposes, since product documentation describes the product under development, while process documentation describes the process of development. Think of the former as source code and the latter as progress reports. Within product documentation (many subfields, like I said), system documentation and user documentation come about. System documentation describes the parts that make up the product (see source code), and user documentation comprises the info for administrators and end users, stuff like user guides and set-up tips. 

The point is to have a word said on every aspect of the project. Software lives by its details. A Windows program would not come without a EULA (End User License Agreement) or a thick booklet on how the thing is installed. Get the customer to understand the entire project, and the relationship between consumer and producer is stronger for it.

Technical Writers’ Roles

You are an end user, and a software technical writer is, as well. In the case of the software at hand, its developers are not end users and lack the distance needed to look at it objectively. This goes to one of those underrated mores about how artists double as terrible critics of their own work.  It merits comparison in that the software—or let us call it object for the sake of generalities here—is intended as a communication between people. 

At Essential Data, we can judge the software using whatever audience perception you would prefer. Once we are finished with the software technical documentation, the end users will have no qualms with the clarity presented.

Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

Written by Will Boswell


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