Technical documents play a major role in the success of software/product. These documents include user manuals, installation guides, and help pages. For good quality technical documents, DDLC must be followed while preparing these documents. Different phases of Document development life cycle are given here:
- Requirement Analysis
- Audience Analysis
- Document Design (Outlining)
- Requirement Analysis:- In this phase, technical writer understands the software requirement, and starts gathering information regarding the same. Technical writer explore the software, understand various features by working on it, and meet software developers to gather the valuable information. Once this phase is completed, all the queries related to software requirement must be resolved.
- Audience Analysis:-Technical document which needs to be prepared by technical writer are used by certain users. It must be clear to technical writer who will be the audience of these documents. Audience level is not same for a software, and may vary depending on their knowledge about the software. Audience can be categorized in two parts – novice audience, and experienced audience.
Novice audiences are completely new to a software. They do not have any idea/knowledge of the software. On the other hand, experienced audience either have complete or a little knowledge of the software.
- Outlining the Document:- In this phase, outline of the document is prepared, which contains overall plan/structure of the document. Outlining is skeletal format of the document, and gives an idea of placing the elements. This skeletal information contains, introduction, table of contents, chapter/section information, and index. Outline gives the clear view of complete document at a glance.
- Development :- In this phase, actual development of the technical document is done. Technical writer explains all the contents that are collected, and planned in the outlining phase. Development phase require some extra time as complete drafting is done under this phase. Detailed table of content is also prepared with page numbers under this phase.
- Review:- Reviewing of documents include, checking the document for technical or grammatical errors. Testing review is done for measuring the quality of document for technical correctness while quality review is done by quality analyst to find grammatical mistakes.
- Publishing:- After completing testing and quality reviews, the document is ready to print. After completing all the previous phases, this phase relates actual delivery of the document to its target audiences.