Mistakes to Avoid in Help Authoring — Use ClickHelp Efficiently
ClickHelp is a tool for technical writers that offers enormous possibilities. We would like for each user to be able to use our software to its full potential. To help with that, I’ve come up with a list of mistakes to avoid when using ClickHelp. This list is perfect for our new clients, but even those of you who have been with us for many years might find something useful in this article, I am sure.
Mistake 1. Not Utilizing Single-Sourcing
If you chose ClickHelp as your help authoring tool, you can make help writing as easy as you want — single-sourcing is one of the main options you should look into. What this allows you to do is to create multiple versions of your user manuals stemming from the same documentation project. For comprehensive overview of what kind of versioning can be achieved with ClickHelp and how to do it, refer to the following blog post — Versioning of Technical Documents — the Single-Sourcing Approach. Single-sourcing techniques are real lifesavers for creating, maintenance, and update of user manuals, they can’t be overlooked.
Mistake 2. Lack of Branding
What do users see when they first open your online documentation portal? Are these comprehensive texts, fitting examples, great writing style, and ideal grammar? Actually, it is neither — the first thing our brain registers is the look of something. Branding plays such an important role, check out what it can do:
- Add to the company’s identity. This is what unites you and makes you stand out at the same time.
- Build trust. Consistent and professionally-looking content naturally makes people trust a company more.
- Make your brand easily recognizable. The more of your content is branded — the more people will recognize your company.
It seems like branding became a prerequisite for a successful company long ago. Technical documentation is an important part of any business, so it should keep up! ClickHelp offers flexible branding options — you can start off by using a ready Reader UI template and style, and build on it later. Take advantage of CSS to follow through with your brand style guide to a T. To get inspiration, take a look at the ClickHelp Portal Gallery — these are real documentation portals of our clients.
Mistake 3. Ignoring Reports
ClickHelp offers awesome reporting options. This is undoubtedly a great tool to control the process of help authoring, leverage your team’s efforts, and look for areas of improvement. Not to miss out on all this good stuff, I recommend thoroughly approaching this question. Our Report Center allows a deep dive into all sorts of metrics. You can track:
- Project Readiness
- User Behavior
- User Feedback
To give you more perspective on the matter: ClickHelp provides 36 text metrics, 15 report types, and 5 export formats for reports. With this setup you can create an in-depth analysis process, and, what’s even better — it all resides inside your help authoring solution, no need to look for reporting tools outside ClickHelp.
Mistake 4. Downscaling Documentation Review
Setting up a good documentation review process helps drastically improve quality of technical documentation. However, to speed up the process, some teams downscale the review step. This often happens because review solutions offered by help authoring tools do not allow efficiency. And technical writers feel like reviewing takes too much time because of how inconvenient it is. ClickHelp has been improving its review functionality with each product release, we can safely say that it is one of the best out there. Here are some of the tools you will be given to set up your perfect review process with:
- Review Comments for text fragments
- Review Comments report to see resolved and unresolved ones
- Per-topic TODO Lists
- Email notifications
- Reviewer Dashboard
- Reviewer Roles
All these features blend together to provide an overarching review experience for your team. Pursuit of better quality of user manuals is on!
Avoiding these major mistakes will easily guide you toward creating better user manuals. ClickHelp is evolving quickly, so keep a finger on the pulse — a lot of great features are going to be emerging in the nearest future.
Good luck with your technical writing!
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices
Originally published at https://clickhelp.com.