0. Ghost-Tip. Never waste your time for introduction.
1. Be general. Don’t go into details, you don’t need to provide actual information. Write “The software is useful.” Enlisting the spheres of application is for dummies. Your readers are the best. They are working as prophets and reading your mind in their free time. Why spell it out for them?
Other questions you definitely don’t need answering:
- Where is the command located?
- Why is that command used?
- What is the name of the command?
- What is the sequence of the steps?
- What effect will the procedure produce?
2. Don’t think about target audience. You are ace at what you do. Why limit yourself? Write whatever you like. Explain whatever you fancy. You do remember that you are dealing with prophets whose expertize should not be doubted. Oh, we are thinking about users. Shoot, drop it!
3. Go for the easiest. Your program is feature-rich and can provide complex solutions. Who cares? Give users a simple workflow and trust me, if they needed something more complex, they would come up with something. Buy software of the rivals, for example… Anyway. You are not here to help and serve their majesties.
4. In maximalism we trust. Have not heard of it? Let me guess, you believe that being concise and succinct, providing minimum sufficient information will lead you somewhere? Save readers’ time and efforts? Don’t be ridiculous! Light your inner star and let it shine through luxurious texts. The more startdust-peppered text—the better.
5. Keep repeating. Repetition is the mother of wisdom. So why put repetitive steps in a separate procedure? Users won’t forgive you unless you exhaust their attention with all possible information.
6. Complete your work with long inappropriate tips. Not sure where to place vital information? Put it into the tip and make it long, so that a user will never ever bother to read it. I would put a three-paragraph tip here to support my point, but you would skip it anyway. Oh, that already proves it, right?
7. Bless users with your opinion and assumptions. Help users become your fans in no time. To be a user’s idol, try “Almost certainly, you are reading this chapter because your manager asked you” or “You might want to do that if, for example, it would be best that your boss or your spouse didn’t know what you’ve been up to.”
8. Add terms diversity. If you can, why miss a show-off opportunity? Coherence is overrated. A user would definitely enjoy: “Point to submenu, also known as cascading menu, hierarchical menu, or secondary menu.”
9. Forget conventions of grammar and spelling. Holy spell check should not be holy anyway. Unchain yourself from all the limitations. Explore ABC boundaries and text users patients test users’ patience. It’s not even your competence at stake 🙂
10. Language. Emotional flowery language. Let’s face it—technical documentation can be boring. You are better than that. New Windows? It must be “a brand-spankin’-fresh Windows.” Got the vibe?
11. This article should be called 11 tips. Irritated that the title does not reflect the content? Pff…
Hi there! With this post, I didn’t mean to be judgy or ridicule someone or something. The list is not exhaustive, and the statements are not absolute truth. Just it may be a good checklist and a proper laugh for you.