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Technical WritingCase Study

Why professionally written documentation and Help can be the key to success

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During 2001, two independent software developers each released an almost identical software application. Both products did exactly what they said on the tin; both had a sleek and professional interface; and both developers – like all developers do - were hoping theirs would become the foremost application in its field.

In almost ten years both applications were still very much alike. Both had been updated to work with the latest operating systems; both had introduced further functionality; and both, it turned out, were achieving very similar download figures for their evaluation builds.
But there was a difference...

One application was achieving mediocre sales – just enough to pay the bills. The other application had helped the developer grow his business into an extremely successful and profitable organisation.

What Made the Difference?

The difference wasn’t in the functionality and presentation of the applications. Neither was one easier to use than its counterpart – in fact, both were equally complex. So complex, the majority of users were forced to consult the documentation and help to determine how each application should be used.

It was the documentation and Help that made the difference.

One developer had written his own documentation and Help. Much of the content assumed too much (after all, the developer knew how the application worked and had omitted many simple yet vital processes). The documentation and Help was poorly structured, inconsistent, and as difficult to comprehend as the application was complex. Users were left perplexed.

The other developer had used an independent technical author to produce the documentation and Help. No part of the application was left undocumented, content flowed from one topic to the next, instructions were precise, and screenshots and diagrams helped to enhance an already polished publication. Not only that, the technical author even managed to uncover several bugs and even helped the developer simplify and streamline the application.

The documentation and Help had been the deciding factor on making a good application a great application - outselling its competitor 3 to 1.

If you have a software application that requires documentation and/or Help, or your existing publications need updating, then take advanatage of our Technical Writing service.

What Next?

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