On Organizing Effective Docs


Have you ever discovered documentation answers somewhere you’d never look? After a recent occurrence, I asked myself why that was. My answer was in a section about that page of the website. As a Developer, that matches how I would have created the documentation myself. It was not in a section related to the workflow, or job, I was trying to do. But that is where I , as a user, would be looking for it. Put another way, the documentation had a ‘surprising’ user experience. If we consider Documentation as a separate, but related product, we gain some UX insights. This Information Product can, and should benefit from the ideas we use in Software Development every sprint. Tools like ‘Jobs to be Done’, and ‘User Personas’ give us a boost. But they are not enough. Documentation, as an Information Product, also needs Information Architecture and Knowledge Management Practices. These will guide documentation from ‘producer-oriented’ toward ‘user-oriented’. If we do, then our documentation will be less ‘surprising’ and more ‘delighting’.