Documentation information is of 6 categories – rules, concepts, structures, processes, procedures, facts. Knowing and using them has significant advantages
When you are preparing to write documentation, whether it is technical or not, there are two questions you should always ask yourself:
Why should the reader read me?
What needs is your reader trying to answer while reading the document?
Having unmarked this aspect, you will realize that all the varieties of information can be cataloged in these 6 macro types that we are going to define shortly.
It will be very useful to you because – knowing in advance what you mean – you will certainly get to the heart of the matter faster, without unnecessary digressions.
Each type is associated with questions that are linked to what was said at the beginning: “what needs your reader is trying to satisfy”.
Here are the 6 types of information:
1. PRINCIPLE (rule)
“What should I do or not do?”
This group includes all the information that gives norms.
We can mention in this group the guidelines or policies , for example: “in the boiler room it is absolutely forbidden to smoke”; the rules imposed by the legislation, for example: “in Europe, with the exception of the UK and Ireland, driving is on the right”; contingent rules, for example: “enter the classroom by 9.00”; warnings, for example: “do not use metal containers to heat food in the microwave”; universally recognized laws: “the customer is always right”, “Do not disperse … into the environment after use”
2. CONCEPT (concept)
“What is (something)?”
This group includes all those sentences that explain something and are often treated as definitions.
Let me give some examples: “What is the anti-limescale collector? The limescale collector is a limescale collector that automatically collects the limestone deposits that form in the iron. ” Or: “What is the ISOFIX anchoring system? The ISOFIX system holds the seat during driving and in the event of an accident: this system is designed for easy installation and reduces the possibility of incorrect installation of the seat. “
3. CONFIGURATION (structure)
“What does a certain thing look like? what are its components? “
Often the description of a structure uses a diagram or a drawing / image that facilitates understanding.
For example: “The structure is represented schematically in fig. 1 in the two
possible versions: pnp and npn, with the corresponding graphic symbols. The central part is called the base and the two lateral emitter and collector areas … “
“What happen? How does (something) work? “
For example: “When you press the DEL key, the cursor moves back one space and deletes the character there.”
Or: “When the light switch is in the position light position, if the front fog lights are turned off, the rear fog lights will also turn off.”
“How do I (something)?”
The purpose of the procedure is to provide explicit and detailed instructions for carrying out an activity. Most often they are presented as: Step / Action with imperative or infinitive verb.
Example: “Setup Procedure, 1. Start by connecting the T.92USB to your computer with the supplied USB cable. 2. Download and install the Audacity engraving software by visiting the site. 3. Open Audacity. – 4. Place the cursor on Edit and then Preferences. Etc. “
Or with: If… / Then (the thing to do). Example: “If it is difficult to remove the dirt, use the stick made specifically for cleaning the Durillium plates.”
Sometimes it can be presented in the form of a table for conciseness.
6. FACT (factual)
“What are the facts?”
They are sentences that expose a fact.
For example: Material: 100% cotton.
Or bulleted lists.
For example: “In addition to this manual, you should find the following items in the package: 1. The Commodore 64. 2. The power supply. 3. The cable for the video … “
Or the tables that show the characteristics in the first column and values in the following ones.
Sometimes the facts can be summarized in graphics or icons.
Having clear this type of subdivision will help you to better structure your work and transform the document into an experience much closer to the needs of the reader.
Remember that there are software that allows you to organize and manage product information with simplicity and precision. These are PIM or CCMS software, platforms that improve communication between all departments involved in information management, such as the marketing department and the technical department.
Not only that, because they are applications that, thanks to a structured subdivision of the information contents, allow to store and then use the necessary information easily , by all the actors involved.
But know that not all Product Information Management is the same.
What are you waiting for? Contact us for more information!