When it comes to providing great online documentation, many businesses tend to face a number of challenges. When cutting through this complexity, they struggle to find some excellent examples of online documentation. We have already talked about the danger of poor documentation in one of the previous blog posts. In this article, we will go over 7 first-class examples of cloud documentation. If this problem sounds familiar to you, read on for some insight.
Let’s be frank. No one wants to write it, update it or be in charge of developing it. Yes, you guessed it – I’m talking directly about software documentation. Providing users with interactive online documentation is rapidly becoming a demand for good customer service.
Although there is a kind of dilemma around the topic about whether to store software documentation on-site or off-site, online cloud storage definitely wins the battle.
Benefits of having online documentation:
- Lower customer support costs
- Higher end-user productivity
- Constant availability
- User friendliness
- No risk of losing documents
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StepShot Guides, a tool initially built for automatic screenshot-based documentation creation, now offers StepShot Cloud workspace where you can store, collaborate on, and share your documentation. While StepShot Guides help you automatically capture and annotate any process and export it to various formats, StepShot Cloud makes storing and sharing fast and easy – you can share guides, videos, images, presentations, web pages, and process design documents created with StepShot Guides via StepShot Cloud. The latter distinguishes private files, team files, and public sharing, so it does not require much effort to share or embed a link wherever needed. Moreover, StepShot offers a free plan – sign up below to get a free PRO account!
The online documentation that is provided by BigCommerce is an invaluable source of information organized into logical categories, each of which has an overview and several other subcategories. What I like the most about their documentation is that each article gives straightforward, step-by-step instructions and is complemented with screenshots. Moreover, BigCommerce has a Community Forum where you can post your questions and speak directly to other customers. There are a number of links within an article and a list of additional resources at the end. Furthermore, users are also allowed to give feedback on whether the answer was useful for them or not.
Freshservice not only provides well-structured extensive online documentation, but also gives the possibility to print out the particular article. Some guides are even available for offline reading. It means that users can download and read them whenever they have time. As for everything else, Freshservice documentation is akin to BigCommerce documentation. It also contains helpful links throughout the article, lists out several related articles on the right-hand side, and allows users to provide feedback.
K15t Software provides very good documentation that is, indeed, very simple and easy to understand. There is a separate guide for each of their products. At the bottom of the page there are three more options for the users: visit the forum, create a ticket, or browse the FAQs. In order to create truly engaging content, K15t Software includes in their KB articles not only images, but also videos. They provide a striking example of what great online documentation should look like.
Skype documentation can be considered as a classic example of standard online documentation. It is concise, consistent and quite easy to navigate. It is designed specifically for dummies who are easily baffled and want to find a quick solution without spending too much time searching for an answer.
In comparison with Skype documentation, BMC documentation is absolutely more sophisticated in terms of its layout and the amount of information presented there. It has a tree-like structure and each topic has a number of subtopics, which makes each article very extensive and informative. Besides, BMC also provides its customers with free product guides (PDFs) and a range of training videos.
After going through the documentation that is offered by Atlassian, I realized that it really stands out from the crowd due to its interactive design. It includes videos and images along with the step-by-step instructions that help users to gain a better understanding. Atlassian provides online documentation to each of its products. It has a standard layout and includes a ‘Getting Started’ guide and several other topics. Their documentation is up to date and always keeps users aware and interested to dig deeper. Atlassian provides not only online documentation for its end users, but also API and Atlassian Enterprise documentation for developers and big companies.
What Accounts for Great Online Documentation?
Running a company in the digital world can be intimidating, especially when you are on the way to developing interactive online documentation for your customers. Providing users with an online version of your technical documentation evokes a lot of concern among technical writers. In order to put some clarity into it, below we have highlighted a few tweaks that make for great online documentation:
- Easy navigation
- Annotated screenshots
- Links to related articles
- Short training videos
- Great titles and subtitles
- Reliable, up-to-date information
- Comment sections for users
- Unique URLs for each topic
Behind the Scenes
A team of technical writers is doing a great deal of hard work behind the scenes. Customers see just the tip of the iceberg. What is left down there is a heavily scrutinized work on each of the articles.
The purpose of your end-user documentation is to reduce the number of hours your customer support team spend explaining workflows, and to reduce the number of hours end users spend looking for answers. If you eliminate the problems your end users face when trying to find answers, they will reference your documentation, and you will end up having self-sufficient and satisfied end users.
Key takeaways for developing successful online documentation:
- Get to the point
- Deliver information in chunks
- Show, don’t tell
- Choose the right tool
If you use Confluence as the home for your online technical documentation, you may find the following tools quite effective in optimizing the process of creating online documentation. To be able to publish technical documents directly from Confluence to your web space, you can utilize a powerful Confluence add-on, Scroll Viewport. With this tool, you will also be able to install, adapt and develop simple and beautiful themes for your websites and intranets.
StepShot for Confluence is another noteworthy solution for your business. It can ease the pain of writing KB articles by letting you create detailed step-by-step procedure guides right in Confluence without a further need to edit and upload them to Confluence as attachments. Should you require any assistance in creating software documentation, do not hesitate to email us at [email protected]