mirapedia: Software documentation

And every beginning (and ending) has its own software documentation… at least if we had our way.  User documentation can make software easily accessible to new employees. And there is more: The effective transfer of expert knowledge through documentation is essential to protect companies from knowledge loss. In this article, we briefly explain what user documentation actually is and its potential benefits for companies.

What is software (user) documentation?

Software documentation is the recording of digital processes that can be used to explain software or areas of software. A distinction is made between different types of documentation, usually varying according to the target group. The latter ranges from software architects and developers to customers and end users. Of the different types of software documentation, we at miraminds have specialized our solutions on documentation  for end users.

User documentation comes in many forms, from detailed user manuals to microlearning “nuggets”, to context-sensitive help (Performance Support System, Digital Adoption Platform). The choice of format depends primarily on how complex the conveyed user knowledge is and how much skill the end users need for the successful handling of software. Generally, instructions should be kept as long as necessary and as short as possible.

In a business world in which software is becoming increasingly diverse and complex and is constantly being changed and developed, it makes sense to periodically refresh necessary software basics in formal learning settings and to supplement with decentralized learning mechanisms. 

How do companies profit?

Did you know that crucial skills for company success often lie with only a few essential employees? Software documentation not only makes software accessible to company newcomers, but also “immortalizes” existing employee expertise. By externalizing the knowledge of experts, companies can thus protect themselves from susceptibility to knowledge loss. They also relieve the burden on IT experts, who spend an average of 30% of their working time on support tickets, and thereby reduce costs for companies… Now what is there to object to?

Our documentation software FlowShare enables you to effortlessly create easy-to-understand step-by-step instructions––the golden mean between detailed manuals and context-sensitive help. You can test our software for 14 days, free of charge and without any commitment!

Context-sensitive help, microlearning, digital adoption platform––these terms and more will be explained in upcoming mirapedia articles.

You can read more on the topic of software user documentation in these articles:

mirapedia: Performance Support

We at miraminds are all about performance support––and so are our software solutions. But what exactly is performance support and how can companies profit from it?

In an increasingly digitalised working environment, software knowledge is indispensable. The more complex and dynamic the software, the higher the need for regular training of employees in handling it. Not only is this expensive and unsustainable, often it also does not suffice to impart or expand software knowledge in such a way that skills can be applied smoothly. 

Unexpected complications frequently occur in applying software skills––from memory leaps of learned details, to unforeseen problems or simply software updates that require additional user knowledge. In these cases “on the job” context-sensitive help is needed. This is exactly what performance support is all about: providing small nuggets of user knowledge exactly when and where it is needed.

Performance support does not replace advanced training in formal learning settings. What it does provide is an essential link between software knowledge in theory and in practice. Instead of continuous formal training, not only costly in terms of money but also in terms of workforce, a performance support system allows employees not only to do their jobs, but to do them well––and learn at the same time.