User documentation is all too often written by programmers for programmers. It tends to focus on the product’s features, rather than the user’s tasks. Generally, programmers aren’t in the ideal position to be writing user documentation. They’re too close to the bits and bytes, and they’re too far from the user. To them, what the product can do tends to be far more important than what the user can do with the product. It’s a subtle – but vital – distinction. Research shows that the key to effective user documentation is writing task oriented help. Even better, write your help according to the minimalist theory. In the documentation world, “minimalism” is a fancy word for a commonsense practice. In basic terms, it means write to your reader and keep it simple. The theory itself has a lot of twists and

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