Tips for better Process Documents

Our last article on Process Documentation was fairly high level and looked at some of the big picture thinking that is required to ensure the goal of creating a process driven culture is a successful one. Now let’s zoom right in and look at a few techniques that can give your process or procedure documents a bit of zing and a lot of impact.

An image speaks…well you know the cliché

Creating Images for Process DocumentationWhen it comes to process documentation, the cliché about an image speaking a thousand words has never been more apt.   When trying to follow a set of instructions, the ability to see what the author is referring to can mean the difference between comprehension and confusion.

Screenshots are the perfect way to capture the kind of detail that illustrates a great procedure document, particularly for application specific instructions. If you have Microsoft OneNote (comes with all new versions of Microsoft Office) you have the perfect tool for creating screen shots.

Once you’ve opened OneNote, Windows Key + S automatically becomes a screen clip shortcut. No OneNote? Windows has a Snipping Tool that is just as handy, which you can find in your accessories.

Once you have your screen clipping, paste it into a Word document. You may be creating your procedures in Word, in which case you’re pretty much done. If you right click on the image you can save it as a picture file, which you can upload or insert into whatever program or platform you’re using to create your process documents.

Annotate for Impact

Creating Images for Process DocumentationIf you’re serious about creating good process documentation, Visio is a fantastic tool. Apart from giving you the ability to draw very funky workflow diagrams, Visio is also handy for annotating images with symbols, indicators or directions to help make the instructions easier to follow. Add cursors, arrows, pointers, containers and all sorts of symbols for greater emphasis. If you don’t have Visio, Publisher also works quite well for adding text or shapes and arrows to screen clippings and saving them as images.

Video is the King of Process Documentation

The last time you wanted to learn how to do something new, chances are you searched YouTube to see if you couldn’t find an explainer video, right? If you really want to trick up your process documents, consider adding video to them. This is particularly useful for computer based activities.

A screen capture program such as Camtasia will record the on screen action and you can add voice and video from a webcam. If you’re planning to do a lot of video, a good quality USB microphone can ensure that you have crystal clear audio.

You might even find some of these “how-to” videos getting unexpected attention from your marketing department, who are always on the lookout for rich content to share with your client base!

From one end of the spectrum to the other; high level process planning to the intricacies of creating great processes, the thing that ties it all together is the platform you use to store your documentation. A robust, centralised platform that staff can access from anywhere is the first step. Designing the platform with your organisation’s goals in mind is key.

Want to know more? Call one of our specialists today on 1300 766 554 to discuss improving your business processes.

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