A documentation process should start with audience analysis and requirements gathering. The emphasis is then placed on the gathering of information. The writer should also focus on choosing a template and document type that serves the purpose of the client. At Metapercept, we closely involve our clients in our decisions regarding the flow and structure of information. It helps us to understand the specific demands from the client’s side and ensure cent percent client satisfaction. The endeavors are directed towards delivering documents catering to the tailored needs.
When we say that the flow and structure of the document are important, it is imperative to understand the information that goes in the document. For your understanding, the information is broken down into three categories: Cover Page, Navigation Pane, and the Body of the Content.
These categories are further explained below to understand the type of information that goes in a structured document-
The cover page of a document is generally mistaken to be the actual cover. The actual cover is one of the cover pages. The pages that are included in the cover page section are as follows:
A copyright page includes a declaration that the owner of the document reserves the right to reproduce the information. It might include the year of publication, copyright symbol, and other added information related to copyright.
It contains information about the version history if any. It also includes acknowledgment and other information related to the product or services the document is about.
The glossary includes an alphabetically arranged list of terms introduced in the document. These terms included in the glossary are new, uncommon, and/or specialized.
A list of abbreviations used in the document is added in this page. It is an optional item and the decision to include this remains with the owner of the document.
Similar to abbreviations, a list of admonitions used in the document can be added as a part of the cover page.
The navigation pane section of the document includes a table of contents and index. These pages are added to help the readers easily navigate through the information. It enhances the experience of the reader in imbibing the information provided.
Table of Contents
The table of contents or ToC lists all the chapters, parts, and sections for easy navigation across the document. If the output file is shared online, each of the items appearing in the ToC is linked to the page where they appear in the document.
A document contains vast information. Every section or part included in the ToC is further broken down into tasks, procedures, etc. Therefore, an index is generally included as a part of the cover page to include the topics not covered in the ToC. It contains a list of topics and sub-topics arranged in a systematic order along with the page numbers.
Body of the Content
The body of the content is where the information goes. It includes all the information which is to be conveyed to the readers. This information should flow smoothly from one topic to the next. The body of the content can be broken down to the following categories:
The introduction is meant to introduce the document to the users or readers. It gives a general idea to the readers in terms of what should be expected from the document.
The overview follows the introduction and includes more specific information. It covers the features and specifications covered in the document. It gives the readers a more defined view of the information that the document will contain.
The bulk information is categorized into chapters on the basis of similarity of information. The headings of these chapters are important as it depicts the structure of the information. It contains sections that further consist of tasks, procedures, etc. the transition from one chapter to another should enable a smooth flow of information.
A chapter is divided into multiple parts under sub-headings. These are categorized as sections. To illustrate, similar kinds of tasks are covered under the same section. In addition, these sections ensure a smooth flow of information within the chapter. For sections, the sub-headings are important to maintain the flow of the information.
The document consists of brief explanations preceding tasks or added as notes, tips, etc. These explanations offer additional information to the readers that are likely to enhance their user experience.
The information that enlightens the reader about how to perform certain tasks is included in this category.
In references, topics are included that refers to a concept or task. It can be in the form of tables, cross-references, and hyperlinks (external links).
The general knowledge of the structure helps in understanding the type of information required for documentation. It works as insights into the requirements of a document. We, at Metapercept, staunchly believe that every document can have different requirements. Therefore, the exact information required for documentation depends on client requirements. Our decade long experience in structured documentation enables us to cater to specific client requirements. If you have any queries, reach out to our experts!