How to improve our documentation?

Documentation is undoubtedly an important part of every product, not only software. It helps new users get familiar with the product and start using it effectively, and it aides experienced users in solving complex problems. In my first post, I’d like to talk about how you can get involved to make the documentation better.
I’ll make this really short but if you don’t want to read the text, please at least take a few minutes to fill in the form at the end.

The technical writing team at Kentico constantly tries hard to improve the documentation in every aspect. However, as the product gets bigger and more complicated, so does the documentation. Having such a large amount of information can cause the documentation to be inaccurate and out of date.

We constantly check and update the documentation to mitigate these issues, but naturally, some errors slip through our fingers and get to you – the users. That is why we need your feedback. Every page of the on‑line help contains a Feedback button that you can use to send us your comments and suggestions on the documentation via e‑mail.  Also, we’re planning to implement a simple feedback form, which will be embedded into every topic. That will make submitting feedback even easier, so stay tuned.

Now I’d like to get to know you a little better. For this I’ve prepared a set of questions, from which I want to learn how and when you use our documentation. Your answers will help determine the direction our documentation should be heading in the future.

Which of these sentences describes you best?:

Which features do you miss most?:

Rate the documentation based on the following criteria. 1 - Excellent; 5 - Poor
Usability (deals with appropriate topics, is accurate and complete):

Understandability (is clear, provides appropriate examples and graphics, uses good style):

Searchability (is well organized, enables to find information quickly):

Get some discussion going in the comments!
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Brenden commented on

I'd have to agree with Brian and James had to say, I do belive when I first started working with Kentico in 2009 that the documentation was pretty awesome and in comparison to other CMS solutions, Kentico had them beat hands down.

Now as I've advanced out of the novice sector and into the advanced sector, I'd have to agree with David and state that the Help Content and DevNet is very good for non-advanced Kentico developers. Without reading the API documentation from front to back, I've found you have either beginner or basic info and then the API information, not much inbetween. I've found some advanced items posted in KB articles or blog postings although not much in the Help section.

Great job otherwise though!

davids-kentico commented on

That made me laugh as well :) But that sometimes happens when you're not a native speaker, you tend to use words (especially those that originate in Latin) in the form that is used in your native language. In this case, we really use a form of "duplicit" to express that something is duplicate. Anyway, I'll do a mass replace, thanks for telling me.

Andrew Macpherson commented on

There's an incorrect word which makes me laugh every time I see it: "duplicit". It should be "duplicate". (Duplicit means not trustworthy.)

It crops up in lots of places in the Documentation and source code.

Also: "Indicates duplicit attendee" LOL :-)

Dave commented on

The Kentico devnet is great for beginning developers, however, the more complex the scenario's become the less useful the documentation becomes.

Perhaps adding a wiki or a community section like MSDN would help alleviate some of those problems.

davids-kentico commented on

Thanks for the great feedback, guys!

Andrew, I'll certainly have a look at that but I'm afraid that won't be so easy without switching to another help authoring software :( I'll give it a try though...

Andrew Macpherson commented on

One simple improvement which could be made, is to use better HTML structures, starting with headings. There would be two principle benefits: improved accessibility and improved search engine indexing.

Currently, it's very difficult to find the right documentation, even when I know I've seen it a few weeks earlier. Using Google doesn't really help.

Please ditch this meaningless cruft:
<p class="p_Heading1"><span class="f_Heading1">Overview</span></p>

And replace it with:

(Likewise for h2, h3, &c.)

James Manriquez commented on

I agree with Brian above ... Kentico documentation is very thorough and easy to follow with all the screen captures.

I have be indecisive in purchasing software before because of lack or poor documentation and was unable to determine if it would meet my needs.

Kentico is a company that seems to focus on customer satisfaction and is proactive in in ensuring a high end product.

Keep up the good work!!!!!!

Brian commented on

I have to say, your documentation is already pretty awesome.

Having worked with a variety of vendors and software products, I've seen a lot of really bad documentation, and very that I'd remotely considered "decent".

I think you guys have a great set of instructions, I think the only thing that is missing is an ability to be "lead" through that documentation. It doesn't really seem to string together from topic to topic very well.

I know there has been a few cases (can't think of them off the top of my head) where I've had an issue and was looking through the documentation and couldn't find it, but a Google Search hit on the DevNet Forums later, and there is a link to the exact page in the documentation I'm looking for.

TL;DR: Great documentation content, just finding what I need is sometimes difficult.