Building Better Template Documentation

Since I’ve started reviewing templates, I’ve seen non-existent template documentation up to screen-cast tutorials covering much more than required. In the long run, a more thorough documentation will save you time.

Building on the Help File Template by Jeffrey, I’ve put together an HTML version to step it up a notch.

The Help File Template

Back in October, Jeffrey put together a basic help file text document to serve as a template for Theme Forest authors. I see it used all the time which is great because it’s simple and functional. More and more frequently however, I see authors using new types of documentation that really add extra value and sometimes functionality for buyers.

So, having seen lots of great documentation files, I thought I would put together a basic HTML/CSS documentation template for our authors to start with.

The New Help File Template

I went with an HTML/CSS format because it can be viewed by anyone with a browser (PDF’s and Videos might require extra software for the buyer to view), it offers additional functionality to make navigating and reading the information easier and authors can more easily demonstrate template features and how to’s.

The template uses the Blueprint CSS framework and keeps to Jeffrey’s original help file structure.

What To Do

One of the most common reasons template submissions are rejected is for inadequate documentation. If you use this template and only change a few things, it won’t be enough.

  • Expand upon the sections listed with appropriate information.
  • Provide code examples.
  • Include source file links (for files like jQuery plugins).
  • Provide image examples.
  • Cover the general structure of the HTML and CSS files.

Remember that your template documentation is supposed to provide information on your work, the features you’ve included and anything out of the ordinary that a buyer might need to know. Feel free to customize the template to look prettier but remember to keep it simple and clean, it is a document for help and information.

What Not To Do

As Jeffrey said in the first version, you aren’t writing a novel. Your job isn’t to teach buyers how to code, script or design. If you don’t use this template, stick with Jeffrey’s text file or use a common format such as PDF. Don’t use .doc, .docx or other proprietary file formats.

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