Create Winning Process Docs: Make Them Skimmable
In this Series…
I’m covering the 25 best ways to start documenting your systems and processes in a way that your team will love so your business can grow and scale.
Step 8: Make Your Process Docs Easy to Skim
Before I launched askarvo.com, I spent 12 months consulting with companies worldwide. I would help develop systems and the process docs to support the systems.
Every time I ran into the same issue: Nobody read the docs.
This slowed everything down. So, I started to dig into why this was happening…
And, over an additional 12 months, after going through constant trial and error, I finally found a format that resonated with teams.
Here’s the TL;DR;
What doesn’t work
- Long-form prose
- Black and white text
- No formatting
- Long paragraphs
- Numbered lists
- As few words as possible
- More pictures and videos
- Bigger fonts
- Well designed layouts
- Pleasing colors
In other words, it needs to look like someone spent some time on the usability of the process doc, not just the content.
Most tools focus on the “writing” of a process doc, but I discovered that only catering to the author is a big issue.
We’re dealing with ratios here. There is usually one author of a process doc. However, there can be hundreds or thousands of readers. Certainly, more than one.
For simple math, if we have one author and three readers. 75% of the users will be readers.
No matter your product, you won’t ignore 75% of your customers. So why would you do the same when creating process docs?
Our Process Doc Style Guide
Hopefully, our style guide will give you some ideas on how you might be able to implement better design into your process docs…
- Think about your readers and users
- Design wins always
- Structured content is easier to understand