Every Doc(ument) Has Its Day

Jason Kleckner

Documentation rarely takes the spotlight. Much like good user experience, if it’s doing its job properly, you don’t even notice it.

Also like bad user experience, bad documentation will make the process painfully inefficient.

Each document should have a clear purpose. Each document should also help accomplish a goal in the project process. If a document doesn’t have a purpose or help accomplish a goal, then it is probably unnecessary.

The document should only do what it needs to do to support that purpose and accomplish the goal . . . no more. Creating documents that do too much usually results in wholly unusable documents.

Sitemaps have a purpose: set the hierarchy and taxonomy at a site level, and to serve as a visual index of the site structure.

Sitemaps also help accomplish a goal in the project process. That goal is to identify each page of the site and understand how each page relates to every other page in the site.

Trying to communicate deep page-level information in a sitemap is not necessary, and will just result in a lot of information that no one will ever read.

Keeping your documentation purposeful, clean, and clear will allow the project team to be more focused. Creating documentation that accomplishes goals will allow the project team to accomplish goals more easily. And isn’t that what it’s all about?