The Value of Good Documentation



Technical documentation communicates your technology information to your customers, clients, employees, partners, and managers. Documentation includes user manuals, online help systems, websites, knowledge bases, product brochures and specifications, support answers, even labels and packaging.

Print Documentation



* manuals
* pamphlets
* quick-start guides
* job aids
* brochures
* labels and packaging
* PDFs of the above

Qualities in good print documentation include consideration of the environment it will be used in, clear organization and navigation, and easily-understood and visual instructions.

Electronic Documentation



* Online help systems
* FAQs
* Websites
* User interface
* Blogs, videoblogs, and wikis

Electronic documentation streamlines what can be put into print and has its own set of strengths. Electronic documents should be more concise than print documents, and navigational aids are more important, but also easier to implement. Structures can be organized in multiple ways in electronic documents, depending on the available implementations.
In-Person Communication

* Knowledge base
* Support answer scripts
* Speeches and talking points
* Meeting facilitation
* Media relations
* Presentations and training

In-person communication is frequently the easiest and fastest way to relay information, but it's also the most perilous. It's easy for one person to mis-speak or misinterpret information when relaying it to another person directly. In public speaking, stage fright can kill all chance of making a real connection with your audience and truly getting your message across.
Single-Sourcing

"Single-sourcing" refers to using the same content for both print and online versions of a document. Frequently, single sourced content is marked up in XML to be published in multiple formats, but XML is just one path to the ultimate goal of having all print documents available in easily-used electronic formats.