The Importance of Good Hardware and Software Documentation

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 11, 2016 3:37:03 PM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in audience, content, data sheet, design, Developer, document, documentation, engineer, General, hardware, hierarchy, Nathan Rockershousen, organization, outline, project, reader, software, style, task, technical writing, The Importance of Good Hardware and Software Docum, user manual, writer, writing

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By Nathan Rockershousen, Technical Writer

Technical documentation can be intimidating because it needs to include technically complex information in an “easy to digest” fashion. Having reliable documentation is crucial in helping users figure out how to use a product as well as aiding writers and developers in creating work of consistent and high quality. Whether the documentation is software or hardware oriented, it is essential that it focuses on a diverse variety of user experiences. This may seem like a daunting task, but there are a couple of things that writers can do to formulate a well-rounded and efficient document. Here are a few key steps in writing and creating quality documentation:

Understanding the Task: Before the writer even begins to construct their document, there are a couple of things they need to do. The first thing the writer needs to do is establish the type of document they are creating. There are a variety of different technical documents that can range from something like a user manual to a data sheet. It is important to coordinate with anyone else working on writing the document in order to establish the design, organization, and style. In addition to this, creating a time-table and an organized outline are ways of keeping the project moving and holding writers accountable for producing content.

Considering the Audience: Once the formatting and guidelines for the documentation are complete, it is important to understand who the audience is before beginning to transcribe any ideas. Being able to comprehend the background of the reader is critical because it establishes the way the content is written in terms of language, detail, and organization. It is important to know if the audience is technical or not in order for the writer to use appropriate references. Whether the writer is writing for a group of engineers within their company, or for an external group with no technical experience, the different audiences need different levels of detail. Regardless of who the audience is, it is critical to determine what information not to include, what information will confuse readers, and what information will make it difficult for a reader to digest the main points.

Writing the Document: When writing a technical document, one of the most important things to consider is the hierarchy of the information being used. Adding levels of hierarchy to categorize information can allow for a very coherent and granular organization system, but over-categorizing information can lead to confusion. Another simple thing that can be done to make important information easier to understand is writing paragraphs in a short and concise manner. The main point of a paragraph should be stated almost immediately so the reader knows if they are looking in the right place. Other beneficial things to do to make a document more user-friendly include reducing the amount of redundancy, providing tables and examples with explanations, avoiding jargon, and using clear sentences.

Even though the task of writing can be managed under the right instructions, proper documentation is often something that is neglected among developers and engineers. This is due to the fact that engineers are not natural technical writers. Writing documentation is tedious and requires a lot of attention to detail. Often these developers and engineers are the experts on the technical language and concepts, but being able to translate that knowledge into something that is coherent to someone who doesn’t understand the complexity of the technology can be difficult. The main issue with documentation is that it can go out of date very quickly. Having to constantly update software or hardware documentation can slow down engineers and developers in doing their actual jobs of creating new content. Even though there are negative connotations associated with engineers and their documentation ability, there are potential fixes to these issues. A potential solution can be training engineers how to communicate the simplicity found in complex ideas through technical writing training. In addition to this, having technical writers work with engineers to produce documents and update them can help ease the task of writing documents.

The time and cooperation it takes to write great documentation can be very beneficial for a business. Poorly written documentation will deter customers because the information they might need to use a product isn’t easily accessible. If engineers and developers cooperate to make proper documentation, there can be improved sales because the product information is much easier to reference. In addition to this, a well written document can provide adequate training on how to use a product, which will prevent customer errors. A well written document will attract customers and make it much easier to sell products.

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Grid Connect is an All-Inclusive Development Partner

[fa icon='calendar'] Jul 20, 2015 9:52:42 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in 900 MHz, Android, app, applications, apps, BLE, Bluetooth, build, CE, certifications, Cloud, connectsense, design, embedded, encryption, engineer, engineering, Ethernet, FCC, General, Grid Connect, hardware, iOS, layout, networking, OS, prototype, RoHS, security, Serial, smart phone, software, SSL, UL, web page, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, wifi, Wireless

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A Complete Development Partner for Hardware, Software, Apps and Cloud Services

Grid Connect Inc. has one of the best engineering teams in the world. Our strong development team can quickly and effectively implement your partial or complete networking/cloud-based or embedded product. For more than 20 years we have been helping customers put networking technology into their products. In the past the focus has been Ethernet, serial and propriety networks. Now days, the focus is on wireless networks like Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Bluetooth/BLE and 900 MHz.

A few of Grid Connect’s many development capabilities include:

  • Designing, layout and quick turn prototype hardware
  • Designing, programming and debugging embedded software
  • Designing and building iOS and Android smart phone and tablet applications
  • Designing, building and rolling out complete cloud/web applications
  • Embedded Linux or Real-time OS driver development
  • SSL security and hardware and software encryption option
  • Production of custom hardware
  • Embedded Web page development
  • Pre-loading of custom/customer firmware on to standard modules
  • Complete diagnostic testing of hardware and software prior to shipment
  • Work with test labs to complete FCC, CE, UL, and RoHS certifications
  • Custom labeling

 

The ConnectSense Case Study

With the ConnectSense brand of products, we took Grid Connect’s embedded networking expertise and put it to use in the consumer home automation/Internet of Things marketplace. In creating ConnectSense, we built a full end-to-end solution, which incorporated custom hardware, embedded Linux development, a custom cloud solution, and custom enclosures and sensors.

Since releasing ConnectSense to the market in 2013, we have continued to move our technology forward. With the ConnectSense Smart Outlet we have made great strides in easy setup and provisioning of devices, smaller and more affordable designs and development of apps for iOS. The ConnectSense Smart Outlet also represents the first generation of devices that are Apple HomeKit-enabled allowing for great features such as Siri voice control, end-to-end encryption and ease of use.

The ConnectSense product line allows Grid Connect to prove out its technology at scale and improve it over time. This allows us to then take that same great technology and help customers implement IoT solutions in their own products. Rather than starting from scratch, our customers benefit from our wealth of knowledge developing IoT products. This allows for quick time to market, lower cost implementations and less custom work required on projects.


To discuss development partner solutions for your company, please call the Grid Connect office at +1 (800) 975-GRID or fill out the form here.

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Grid Connect Inc. Selected as Exclusive North American Distributor of High-Flying Products

[fa icon='calendar'] Mar 20, 2014 9:26:56 AM / by Brittney Borowicz posted in Canada, China, consumer electronics, custom engineering, engineer, firmware, General, government, Grid Connect, High-Flying, Industrial, internet, Mexico, networking, North America, Press Releases, product engineering, Products, smart home, smart metering, Technical Support, technology, Wi-Fi modules, Wireless

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NAPERVILLE, IL--(Mar 20, 2014) - Grid Connect (www.gridconnect.com), a distributor and manufacturer of networking technology, has been named the exclusive North American distributor of High-Flying products, a line of low power Wi-Fi modules that enable devices to connect to the Internet.

High-Flying Electronics Technology Corporation (www.hi-flying.com), based in China, is a leader in Internet of Things enabling solutions. High-Flying products are used in industrial, smart metering, smart home, government, consumer and education markets.

As the North American distributor, Grid Connect provides High-Flying customers in the United States, Canada and Mexico technical support, customized product engineering and North American inventory, eliminating the time, expense and resources needed for importing, customs and duties.

With Grid Connect's custom engineering design services, High-Flying modules can be pre-loaded with customers' specific firmware, webpages and setup parameters, making modules production line-ready.

North American technical support is provided by Grid Connect's engineers, who are knowledgeable about wired and wireless technology and are trained by High-Flying to customize the software to customers' exact requirements. Technical support is available by phone, email and on-line chat.

"The High-Flying product line compliments Grid Connect's network technology products and services, and utilizes our experience in developing Cloud applications that solve problems," said Mike Justice, president of Grid Connect.

While Grid Connect carries an inventory of all High-Flying products, first time customers can order small quantities or evaluation kits. Additional information and online ordering is available at www.gridconnect.com.

About Grid Connect Inc.
Grid Connect, an ISO 9001:2008 company, is a leading manufacturer and distributor of products that enable the Internet of Things. The company's custom engineering services and attentive customer support ensure that all networking technology products sold by Grid Connect work to customer specifications. In stock items usually ship the same day, and all products come with a no-risk, 30-day money back guarantee. Online ordering is available at www.gridconnect.com. Grid Connect also can be found on Twitter @GridConnect and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/grid-connect.

 

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