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Giving A Little Extra Love To Our Product Documentation

Posted in The Story by Drew

IgnitionDeck has been growing fast since it’s birth in 2011. And since then, our team has worked tirelessly to add new, exciting features and improve ease of use. We’ve watched our baby grow from what started out as merely the best self-hosted Crowdfunding software, to a suite of products we believe will soon be known as one of the easiest and best ways to sell digital goods and content access, using a variety of funding models, while harnessing meaningful relationships with customers.

Meanwhile, as the guardians of a rapidly evolving software suite, we have also accepted the responsibility to always look for ways to improve our Product Documentation. That’s why this February, we are pleased to announce four major improvements in that area.

1. A New Dedicated Customer Feedback Channel for Our Product Documentation

There have been times when one or more of our 85 (and counting) documentation pages haven’t gotten updated as well as they could have, to reflect changes to settings screens and new features. We do have an internal protocol for tracking changes, but since we’re a small company, and especially since our development team is rolling out new versions of our software so rapidly (sometimes even weekly), we sometimes have to prioritize these documentation update tasks and the result is not always as good as we want it to be.

That’s why we want to hear from you! Who better to find the areas where our documentation needs improvement than you, the person relying on our product documentation to guide you through the process of building new and exciting IgnitionDeck-powered websites?

So today we announce docs@virtuousgiant.com. It may seem like just an email address, but the reason this is a breakthrough for us is that for the first time, we have a communication channel, linked into our internal workflow systems that is dedicated *solely* to improving our product documentation based on your experiences and suggestions. This means that when suggestions are made by the people that matter most (you, the customer), we can be sure those suggestions never slip through the cracks.

2. A Dedicated Documentation Team

Since we started, we have relied on our Support Engineers and Developers to also do their best to keep our product documentation up to date. This was fine early on, but as IgnitionDeck becomes more sophisticated, and as our customer base grows, we are realizing that sometimes needed updates to our documentation have been left on the proverbial back-burner. This is understandable since our support staff, first and foremost, need to be helping customers and getting them on their way as quickly as possible. And our developers need to be, well, developing. There are bugs to patch, a codebase to improve, and features to build.

So we are proud to announce today that for the first time, we have a full-time Documentation Team. Never again will our support load or our need to rapidly innovate and improve our products get in the way of our slow-and-steady race to have world-class product documentation.

3. Quick-Start Guides For Our Product Bundles

It remains true that it is impossible to provide a step-by-step guide for each of our product bundles (IDCF Basic, IDCF Premium, IgnitionDeck + Membership, IgnitionDeck Enterprise, and IgnitionDeck Commerce Standalone), that would reliably guide every IgnitionDeck Customer from start to finish, since e-commerce and crowdfunding are complex systems to set up, and each customer will have things set a little differently. That’s why in the past, our documentation has been organized, more or less, per-plugin, and then, per-settings-screen.

And while this will continue to be the case, we have added an additional main docs page called Quick Start Guides. This page contains the mandatory minimum steps necessary to get your IgnitionDeck site operational, and the steps are organized by product bundle. Of course, our customers will need to consult additional documentation pages to get more nuanced aspects of their setup dialed-in, but at the very least, now there is a clear *place to start* and our customers will find it easier to not make common mistakes, like forgetting to enter their license keys, or forgetting to re-save their permalink settings (we see simple mistakes like these every day in the support forums).

4. A Troubleshooting Page

Last but not least, we have begun compiling the most frequently encountered problems our customers’ experiences, along with their most common solutions, in a new main docs page called Troubleshooting FAQ. This page will continue to get updated.

We think that having a fast way to find solutions to common problems will help our customers to help themselves without feeling they need to post in the forums and wait for a reply.

We hope you love these new developments as much as we do. We will continue to improve our product documentation and with these new initiatives, we think the future is looking very bright!