In some technical writing teams, MS Word is still used because documentation is undervalued in such companies and it’s created only as a compulsory measure. Your business definitely needs documentation, but this topic is complicated to describe all the advantages of documentation for your business. However, I’ll cover the key principle here — a help authoring tool will improve your writing process, and, as a result, your business.
The basic technical writing process looks like this:
- A tech writing team creates documentation.
- They send documentation to reviewers.
- Reviewers check it.
- They send a doc back.
- Technical writers publish/create a printed version of documentation.
If you use MS Word, for example, for writing, you’ll have to send your document via email. That’s not convenient because your email can be missed, if you have two reviewers, for example, they will have to check your document one after another. So, the process of creating documentation can last long, as a result, you waste not only the time but also money. A help authoring tool can help you save these resources since technical writers and reviewers can work in one online portal. Here is how it looks inside ClickHelp — an online help authoring tool:
Technical writers create content together in a portal and then they can just assign topics to reviewers. They will get notifications, so they can start reviewing immediately. Otherwise, if they’re busy, nothing will be missed, reviewers will just open the portal and that’s it, they will not have to scroll down the inbox to find a document.
Moreover, a help authoring tool can be optimized to your needs, if your documentation creating process doesn’t look like the basic one, you can use a tool as you need. For example, here are some tips on effective reviewing: How to Review Technical Documentation. A help authoring tool can be also adjusted according to this 5-step review process.
A help authoring tool allows you to create high-quality content. As I described above, you can create documentation quicker but, of course, the main reason to buy a help authoring tool is provided features. For example, ClickHelp provided a wide range of them:
- Accessibility. ClickHelp is accessible according to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 requirements.
- Password-protected online help.
- Easy importing and exporting. ClickHelp can import content from Microsoft Word, HTML, RTF, CHM, ODT, etc. and export to CHM, HTML5 Web Help, PDF, DOCX, etc. So, if you want to move from another tool, you can import your documents and that’s all.
- Powerful Full-Text Search. ClickHelp has its own patented full-text search that helps you and your readers find topics easily, it supports wildcard, and it’s also possible to exclude specific topics from full-text search results. A popular search result can be shown as a featured snippet to provide info faster.
- Reporting. ClickHelp has internal analytics that will help you measure team performance metrics and analyze end-user behavior statistics.
- Context Help engine to add context help elements to your web applications.
- Powerful branding options. You don’t need to know CSS to design your documentation, ClickHelp provides 6 premade modern templates. If you need more branding settings, you can also customize every part of the reader UI using CSS.
- Easy to use WYSIWYG topic editor, as well as HTML source mode.
- Global Find and Replace. You can easily clean up your content and styles, find and replace all occurrences of an external URL, and much more!
More info you can read here: ClickHelp Features Overview.
Just imagine how your writing process and the content will be improved thanks to a feature-rich tool.
The quick writing process and high-quality content will be a strong booster for your business. For example, your support team will spend less time answering questions since your documentation will provide the necessary information.
If your team still use MS Word or another simple word processor, you need to rethink your approach. Of course, professional technical writing tools may be expensive but there is a reason for it.
Ann Green, Content Manager at ClickHelp.com — best online documentation tool for SaaS vendors