Wednesday, November 8, 2023

#RTFM and WTFM How to write a fine modeling manual worth reading (ideas)

#RTFM and WTFM How to write a fine modeling manual worth reading (ideas) Note: The following is copied in part from this blog

Crafting a comprehensive and engaging modeling manual is no small feat. πŸ“šπŸš€ It's about striking the right balance between depth and accessibility, ensuring that both newcomers and seasoned experts can find value in your documentation. Let's add a splash of emojis to illustrate the various types of documents you can create to guide users effectively:

πŸ“ Start Here 🌟: Your "Getting Started" section is the launchpad for users. It's where they'll find all the prerequisites, installation steps, and initial configuration advice to get the ball rolling. Think of it as the grand entrance to your manual, where users are warmly welcomed and directed to the starting line.

πŸ” Reference Guide πŸ“–: This is the encyclopedia of your documentation - comprehensive, detailed, and matter-of-fact. 🧐 Here, users will find meticulously detailed descriptions, definitions of terms, and the nitty-gritty of functions and commands. It's factual, straight to the point, and usually void of any fluff.

πŸ›€️ Tutorials πŸ‘©‍🏫: Imagine holding someone's hand and walking them through a process - that's what your tutorials are for. They are friendly, engaging, and patient, explaining steps one by one and providing context where needed. It's where the voice of the manual comes through, speaking directly to the user in a helpful and conversational tone.

πŸ€” Learning/Understanding πŸŽ“: These documents go beyond the "what" and into the "why" and "how." They provide insights into the decision-making process, delve into implementation details, and offer a glimpse into the future of the technology. They're the think-pieces that can inspire and inform those looking to understand the system on a deeper level.

🍳 Cookbook/Recipe πŸ“‹: Just like a kitchen cookbook, this section provides ready-to-use solutions - the best practices for common problems. Users can expect to copy-paste these 'recipes' and have them work out of the box. They are the quick fixes, the life hacks of your manual, but it's essential that they also advocate for best practices, not just quick fixes.

πŸ› ️ Error Messages πŸ’‘: Good error messages are the unsung heroes of documentation. They're the helpful signposts that tell users what went wrong and how to fix it, saving them from potential hours of frustration. They should be clear, constructive, and, if possible, point the user towards a solution.

By addressing each of these facets with care and thoroughness, you'll create a manual that's not just a dry collection of instructions, but a helpful, engaging resource that users will actually want to read and consult. 🌈✨

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