How to write documents for SaaS web applications

SaaS and web-based applications are becoming more popular as they replace desktop or network installations. How you document them is mostly the same as documenting traditional but there are some difference. Let’s take a look.

  • Registration – explain how to set up the account, register an account, common setup issues, and troubleshooting, for example, if they lose their password.
  • Settings – this includes the log in, log out, and account settings. What the user can do once they are authorized to use the application.
  • Navigation – explain to the reader how to get around the application. Are there any additional settings they can turn on? Can they customize the screen? If so, how and where?
  • Windows – identify the main windows and dialog boxes, and what you can achieve in each.
  • User Interface Controls – describe the location and purpose of buttons and icons on the user interface.
  • Configuration Settings – explain to the user how to change any setting on the application. For example, how to change the size, color, position, or values of the screens. Another option is to show them how to add new columns, fields, or customize it, for example, changing the background to a different colour.
  • Tasks – make a list of the main task. Gather related tasks under specific headings. This usually matches the user interface but there can be overlap with other screens. Prioritize the list and describe the most important tasks first.
  • Reference – this explains the purpose of every column, text field, drop-down menu, and every option in these menus. Most of these are self-explanatory but you need to account for fields whose purpose is unclear.
  • Known issues – identify any known issues with the application. For example, if more than five screens are opened at the same time, performance may be impacted.
  • Warnings – protect users from losing valuable data. Highlight actions that cannot be undone or could have catastrophic consequences.

Download these templates to start

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan