Working on Documentation

I have started to shift away from doing support to working on the documentation refresh for Gravity Forms. My first step was to look at the documentation as it exists today. I went through many of the different sections, and tried out some searches that I thought would be common.

I found that we had a wealth of information, but it was really dependant on need, and not always easy to find. Some details were as many as five clicks deep before I was able to find what I was looking for. From my experience, users don’t like drilling down through many layers to get to the knowledge they need. And our search, while reasonable, wasn’t very good, but I am hoping that this will slowly be rectified in the refresh.

Next, I took a look at common questions and responses on our help desk system. I noted the important things, and made sure to make them a priority for the new documentation. My logic in doing this is that if we have issues that commonly come up, enough that we have created canned responses, then maybe we need documentation on those specific issues that is easier to find and understand. While doing the inventory of what documentation we had, I saw many references to issues that no long crop up for users, and a lack of documentation on the newer issues that come up several times a week.

Currently, I am at the point where I’m creating a table of contents. I am moving around pages that already exist, expanding various sections, and adding my own thoughts into the organizational mix. I am also developing new questions and answers for our Frequently Asked Questions section, an area with seemingly little use previously, but I hope to help increase in the near future through design changes that I’ll be discussing with the design and development team. I am hopeful that solely between our FAQ and Knowledge base we will be able to meet the needs of our non-developer users nine times out of ten.

The transition away from forum support has been difficult for some, but I definitely think it was the best choice. I am looking forward to working on documentation that grows, evolves, and meets the needs of the users and developers searching for answers. I am enjoying the opportunity that I’ve been given, and while the work can be boring, I am excited at the prospect of helping create what will essentially be the new instructional guide for Gravity Forms.

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