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The term “documentation” can hold a different meaning for every team.
Technical writers, for example, might think of customer-facing product documentation. Project managers might think of a written record of project activities, software engineers might think of software architecture documentation or other software development documentation, and IT managers might think of ITSM process documentation that helps their team manage tasks and tickets.
Regardless of what you think of when you hear the word “documentation,” it should always be three things: informative, accessible to those who need it, and easy to understand.
If you’re trying to develop documentation that supports your team and empowers them to work better together, building it in Confluence is a great place to start.
Different teams have different needs when it comes to documentation. On a broad level, there are two types of documentation — internal and external — and Confluence can be used for either one.
External documentation primarily takes the form of product documentation written for users. Many organizations use Confluence to build product documentation and make it accessible to users through add-ons that can publish a Confluence space as an external website.
In this blog, we will be focusing primarily on how Confluence helps teams develop strong internal documentation, which is documentation built to be used as a resource by members of an organization or team.
Internal documentation can be on an organizational or team level. For example, a team might have documentation for a specific project, to describe tasks or workflows, or serve as a guide and a resource for new members. On an organizational level, an HR department will likely have documentation of company policies that anyone in the organization can view.
Confluence is a versatile tool that can be used for both internal and external documentation, so you can use one tool for all the types of documentation that various teams throughout your organization need to create or consume.
The level of access is also easily customizable. Whether your documentation needs to be accessible to thousands of employees in an organization or just to a few team members, viewing and editing privileges can be set appropriately. You can also hide pages while they’re in draft status and grant access to more people when the time is right.
One of the most important benefits of building documentation in Confluence is its collaborative nature.
It’s easier to request and get feedback when you don’t need to email a file to everyone who needs to approve it.
With Confluence, approvers can comment both in-line with the text and on the page as a whole, so all feedback is contained in one place. This eliminates the extra time spent asking for the most recent version of a file or trying to figure out if the version you have is the most recent.
Building documentation in Confluence provides a collaborative space for cross-functional teams to work, leading to smoother communication and a more streamlined collaborative process.
Marketers, developers, and whoever else is part of a project can work on the same document at the same time, and documentation can naturally develop as the project moves into different phases.
Want to learn more about how to collaborate effectively in Confluence? Check out our tips and best practices >>
Accessible documentation is important because regardless of how many people need access to read or create it, making information accessible across your company reduces silo mentality and promotes a culture of transparency. It should be as easy as possible for people to find what they need and complete their work.
The interface of Confluence is similar to tools that most people have used before, such as Google Docs. It’s intuitive and requires very little training, making it an accessible user experience for most people regardless of skill level.
For beginners, templates make it easy to get started and maintain consistency in page appearance and structure across all documentation, and Confluence provides a wide variety to choose from (including an event planning template created by the Gliffy team!).
For seasoned pros, Confluence offers the freedom to be a little more creative with your pages and take advantage of all kinds of advanced functionality.
Confluence is also cloud-based, meaning there are no downloads necessary and anyone can log in and access documentation on any computer, anywhere in the world — a key factor for teams that work in a remote or hybrid setting.
📚 Confluence has a simple, intuitive interface, but if you do want a little guidance as you're getting started, check out our Confluence guide >>
Finally, creating documentation in Confluence supports your team because of all the ways you can customize it to meet your team’s individual needs.
There are many options at your disposal to add powerful visuals and functionality to your Confluence documentation. With a wide variety of macros built into Confluence itself, and even more add-ons you can find on the Atlassian Marketplace, Confluence is well-equipped to meet any team’s documentation needs, from information management to project collaboration.
For example, one way to customize your Confluence documentation is by adding diagrams with Confluence apps like Gliffy.
Gliffy allows you to create diagrams right alongside your documentation, which can be helpful for teams of all types, like IT teams who create network and infrastructure diagrams, software engineering teams who need to diagram code, or product teams mapping out their next big feature launch.
Creating roadmaps and visualizing data are just a couple examples of other ways you can customize your internal documentation to create value for your team.
Regardless of what your team’s documentation needs are, take advantage of the Confluence features that help you make it engaging and easy to understand. Instead of plain documents with text only, make your pages more visually appealing and helpful to your readers.
Want to learn more about how to build eye-catching documentation in Confluence? Check out our blog on creating engaging Confluence pages >>
If you’re ready to start building effective documentation that supports your team, Gliffy is a great addition to Confluence that allows you to create engaging visuals that help readers understand complex ideas at a glance.
Gliffy is the most deeply integrated diagramming solution for Confluence, so if your team or organization is all-in on documenting information in Confluence, Gliffy is your go-to option.
You can create powerful visuals, even diagrams with interactive layers, for your documentation without ever leaving Confluence – no extra logins, saves, or imports.
Give Gliffy a try when you start working in Confluence and see how documentation-ready diagramming helps support your team.
GLIFFY FOR CONFLUENCE
💭 Want to learn more about how Confluence apps expand the visual appeal and functionality of your documentation? Read our blog on the top 5 apps for your Confluence knowledge base >>