What is documentation?
Documentation is the process of creating and maintaining written materials, such as guides, manuals, or reference materials, that provide information and instructions on how to use a product or service.
Think of documentation as a cookbook for your favorite dish. The cookbook contains a list of ingredients, step-by-step instructions, and helpful tips to guide you through the process of making the dish. Just like a cookbook, documentation helps users understand how to use a product or service by providing clear instructions and information.
In other words
Documentation is a set of written materials that help users understand and effectively use a product or service.
Why is documentation important?
It's one thing to know what documentation is, but that is worthless if you don't know why you should know what documentation is in the first place. Let's break down the importance of this tech term based on two high-level categories. We'll walk through an explanation as well as provide a score, 1-10, that shows you how much you should care about documentation.
If you do not have a product yet, documentation may not be your top priority. However, it's still important to consider the role of documentation in the development process. Proper documentation can help you communicate your ideas and requirements to your development team, making it easier for them to understand and build your product. It can also help you plan and organize your project more effectively.
Live Product: 9/10
If you have a live product, documentation becomes crucial. Well-written documentation helps users understand and use your product effectively, reducing the need for customer support and increasing customer satisfaction. It also makes it easier for your team to maintain and update the product, as clear documentation can serve as a reference for future updates and improvements.
Examples of documentation
To dig in deeper, we will walk through some tools and processes so we can make sure you really have a solid grasp on documentation.
User guides are written materials that help users understand how to use a product or service. They typically include step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and tips for getting the most out of the product. User guides are essential for helping customers use your product effectively and can reduce the need for customer support.
API documentation provides information on how to use and integrate with an application programming interface (API). This type of documentation is essential for developers who want to build applications that interact with your product or service. Clear API documentation helps ensure that developers can quickly and easily understand how to use your API, increasing the likelihood that they will choose your product over competitors.
Internal documentation is created for your development team and includes information on the architecture, codebase, and development processes for your product. This type of documentation is critical for maintaining and updating your product, as it helps your team understand the underlying structure and logic of the system.
- Documentation is a set of written materials that help users understand and effectively use a product or service.
- If you do not yet have a product, documentation can help you communicate your ideas and requirements to your development team.
- If you do have a product, documentation is crucial for user satisfaction and effective product maintenance.
- Examples of documentation include user guides, API documentation, and internal documentation.