Posted on Dec 4, 2014 10:00:00 AM by Greg DeVore
Once your knowledge base moves beyond a few FAQs, you will quickly start wondering about how you should organize your B2B software knowledge base.
Many companies still implement a very flat structure to their knowledge base - this is just a list of articles with no hierarchy to them. If you take this approach, you are really just relying on the search feature of your knowledge base since that is the only way anyone is going to find anything.
A flat structure will make it very difficult for your customers to browse your knowledge base.
So, if you have a flat knowledge base, the first step would be to decide on some basic groupings of articles to help organize the content for your customers.
Here are some suggested approaches (as well as mistakes to avoid).
Posted on Dec 1, 2014 5:48:38 PM by Greg DeVore
One of the main problems growing B2B software companies have is determining who is going to write the documentation.
But when it comes time to write the articles, everyone seems to respond, "Not me!"
Posted on Nov 24, 2014 5:14:00 PM by Greg DeVore
This one simple tip will dramatically improve the effectiveness of your knowledge base articles:
Make sure that your knowledge base article titles answer a question.
An example will demonstrate why this is important.
Posted on Feb 17, 2014 1:00:00 PM by Jonathan DeVore
In a previous article, I went over 14 examples of documentation mistakes you might be making. Today, I'm going to show you 10 examples of what makes great end user documentation.
I should clarify that end user documentation does not serve the same purpose as technical documentation, so you shouldn't write them the same way. Technical documentation is meant to teach somebody everything there is to know about a subject, whereas end user documentation is meant to just show somebody the necessary steps to accomplish a task and answer "How to..." questions.
The examples I show are examples of what makes great end user documentation.
Posted on Jan 29, 2013 11:58:00 AM by jdevore
In his book The Checklist Manifesto - How to Get Things Right,"Atul Gawande showed us how simple it is to deal with complex processes, and consistently perform operations correctly.
Just use a checklist.
And we agree with him. If you want to increase productivity at work, you need to create checklists for how to accomplish tasks. This will not only serve as helpful reminders for you when you're performing tasks, but it also makes it a lot easier to delegate tasks and get consistently good results.
Posted on Jan 9, 2013 7:10:00 PM by jdevore
I've done a lot of service projects in my life, and I've found that about 80% of the time, way too many people show up.
It's not that there isn't a lot of work to do, it's just that whoever is in charge isn't organized in a way that they can utilize all of the available resources - lots of manpower, little direction. In fact, it often turns into 15 people walking around watching the person we were supposed to be serving, doing all of the work! That's not very helpful.
So when my brother Trevor and I accompanied a group to New Jersey to help out with the Hurricane Sandy cleanup effort, I was shocked by how well we were utilized! Our group of 128 was immediately put to work, and able to help those who desperately needed it within an hour of showing up. Our productivity was dramatically increased because the group we went with was organized.
Posted on Feb 16, 2012 7:12:00 AM by Greg DeVore
We have been talking a lot lately about the importance of providing road maps for our customers. As we looked at our own customer education material we realized that while we offered a lot of documentation tips, we didn't have a clear guide that helped our customers establish and implement a successful documentation strategy.
Some customers were able to piece together a complete strategy from the articles we produced, but to do so they had to bounce around to a lot of different places.
Posted on Feb 2, 2012 4:29:00 AM by Greg DeVore
Too many people think of software documentation as a project they will complete as opposed to a process they will establish. Software documentation projects almost always fail. They fail to meet the real needs of users. They fail to provide up-to-date information. They fail to deliver real business results.
The key to creating great docs is to abandon projects and instead establish a documentation process.
I explain the details of how you can accomplish this in the short video below. The tips I share in this video are what our most successful customers use to make software documentation a key part of their business strategy.
Posted on Jan 25, 2012 5:49:00 AM by Greg DeVore
As a user, nothing is more frustrating than reading instructions that are out of date. Help files that describe buttons, icons or features that simply don't exist anymore are one of the cruelest things any organization can inflict upon its users.
Unfortunately it is all too common. How often do your update your docs? What if you GPS was only updated as often as your documentation?