A project will always involve some planning. However, that is not the focus of our series of posts. As discussed in the introductory post, we are here to evaluate the advantages of using WordPress as a documentation platform. Especially for SMBs, so that they can reap all the benefits of a high-end content management system without the investment required to buy and use these products – not to mention the increasing cost of upgrading to newer versions.
Let us first get familiar with the tool we intend to document for the purpose of this post series. CamStudio is a simple screen capture tool that you can download free. It is used to record actions on the screen along with an audio commentary. We will not document the entire tool, but say somewhere around 10-12 topics so that we have enough to ensure that the CMS setup works as we expect it to work.
Another key part of planning is identifying the members of your documentation team. This team planning exercise will help us later as we set up WordPress for our documentation exercise. A typical documentation team will have at least one technical writer to create content, a domain expert – the go to person for the writer, an editor to maintain the writing quality, and in case of a business, the owner – most probably the final authority or someone with the power to veto. Apart from these people, you might also hire contractual resources to manage the project, or an illustrator if the documentation requires good graphics – something more than the regular screenshots.
Now that we know what we need to document and have defined the resources for the project, it is time to delve into the analysis phase. The analysis will help you define your audience, their behavior, their needs, and the tasks they perform at work. Based on this analysis you can define how your user documentation will be available to this audience. We are not talking about WordPress yet, but this discussion and planning is necessary to make the correct choices on our way to implementing WordPress for user documentation.
Our next post will look at the typical results of an audience analysis and how the analysis defines the user documentation features, and later on the theme you select for the user documentation.
Are you new to WordPress and not very sure of how it works? We suggest you get our WordPress guide to get your basics straight. Our guide walks you through the various steps needed to create a website, and this will help you get acquainted with WordPress. It will certainly make it easier for you to grasp how WordPress CMS can be used for user documentation.
Just click this button and get our guide, and you will be familiar with WordPress by the time you receive the next post in this series.