Chapter 1: Understanding your audience One month to launch
The curse of knowledge
Creating an initial sketch of your users
Validate your user understanding
Condensing user research findings
Creating a friction log

Chapter 2: Planning your documentation Creating a plan
Plans and patterns

Content types

Code comments
Getting started documentation
Conceptual documentation
Procedural documentation
Reference documentation

Planning your documentation

Chapter 3: Drafting documentation First drafts
Confronting the blank page (or screen)
Setting yourself up for writing success
Creating your outline
Creating your draft
Writing for skimming
Getting unstuck
Working from templates
Finishing your first draft

Chapter 4: Editing documentation Editing content
Editing to meet your user’s needs
Different approaches to editing
Creating an editing process
Receiving and integrating feedback
Giving good feedback

Chapter 5: Integrating code samples Showing how it works
Using code samples
Types of code samples
Principles of good code samples
Designing code samples
Tooling for code samples

Chapter 6: Adding visual content Worth a thousand words
When words aren’t enough
Why visual content is hard to create
Using screenshots
Common types of diagrams
Drawing diagrams
Creating video content
Reviewing visual content
Maintaining visual content

Chapter 7: Publishing documentation Ship it!
Putting your content out there
Building a content release process
Creating a publishing timeline
Planning for the future

Chapter 8: Gathering and integrating feedback Initial feedback
Listening to your users
Creating feedback channels
Converting feedback into action

Chapter 9: Measuring documentation quality Tuesday after the launch
Is my documentation any good?
Understanding documentation quality
Creating a strategy for analytics
Tips for using document metrics

Chapter 10: Organizing documentation The next release
Organizing documentation for your readers
Helping your readers find their way
Organizing your documentation

Chapter 11: Maintaining and deprecating documentation A few releases later
Maintaining up-to-date documentation
Planning for maintainability
Automating documentation maintenance
Removing content from your docset

Appendix A: When to hire an expert

Meeting a new set of user needs
Increasing support deflections
Managing large documentation releases
Refactoring an information architecture
Internationalization and localization
Versioning documentation with software
Accepting user contributions to documentation
Open-sourcing documentation

Appendix B: Resources

Style guides
Automation tools
Visual content tools and frameworks
Blogs and research


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