- Last Updated: 09 January 2014 09 January 2014
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If this is a "standard" documentation task – meaning you have a template (because the document is the same as last time), you are done!
Even re-run documents, unless they are fully automated and data-driven, will have different content. Sometimes that needs a bit of Design.
The Specify process produces a detailed specification of what is in the documentation product. But there are no words about how it should be laid out, where to place the graphics and so on. Often we might say the layout is obvious. Why?
If you are content with more-of-the-same production, then you are done. But if you have the opportunity to dare to be different, cease it!
The quickest and simplest way to Design is with a pencil, eraser and lots of paper. (In film and television, this is called storyboarding). You may only need three storyboards or you may need thirty. It all depends on the document and your imagination. (The only thing you cannot do, without approval, is change the specification.)
Why use words at all?
How many ways can you present a "graphic"?
Carrying a load of nonsense?
We received a request to "write a user guide for our freight handling software". The conversation went something like this:
"Because we are rewriting the existing application in Visual Basic"
"Who will use it?"
"The existing staff."
"Will all the functions be the same?"
That was all we needed for the Identify procedure. We came to the conclusion a manual was going to be a waste of our time and their money. So the Identify procedure proposed a document that would take less than a week to produce and everyone could use instantly.
The client loved the idea.
The specification was about five lines on a page. The Design was a storyboard of the documentation product on the remainder of the page.
What did we produce?
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