It is the right thing to do for developers but also for the business
The documentation is someone's first experience with your product
Your documentation is the best marketing material you might have!
New devs aren't familiar with code conventions
Developer environments are hard
New devs lack context
Test your docs on different operating systems and have someone with low development experience try it
Create a legend & glossary for your documentation
Add context to your tutorials
Users should be able to simulate the development environment
Users should not be entering their personal information, email addresses or use any credit cards for accessing the documentation
Users should be able to save their work and return to it.
Assume that users might not have written a single line of code before
Users should be able to access everything with even tablets or cell phones
$ sudo apt update - Newbies might not understand what a simple
$ here might represent
>>> for interactive shell
[ ] around values where you want people to substitute their API credentials
You cannot avoid conventions generally because they increase inclusivity generally
Include a legend in your documentation that defines any conventions used.
New developers aren't familiar with developer workflows, such as when to use the command line vs a text editor.
Use visual differentiation to indicate different parts of the developer workflow
Use syntax formatting, number lines, etc,
Different parts to indicate output vs input files, code vs shell etc.
Even with the best explanations, some of the things might get lost.
Use screencast or gifs to make developers aware of the process.
Don't assume the operating system one might be using for accessing your code.
Eg.: A lot of documentation assume people using UNIX/ Linux systems and Windows users might get discluded.
Link to someone else's explanation of how to use different operating systems.
Write your own detailed solution for these specific cases: More involved and yields greater benefits by keeping developer on your platform
Explain command and environmental differences, using a different platform, shells and respective commands for that
Set up examples on Codepen, Glitch or repl.it, where they can run and test your documented example code.
If a browser-based development environment does not work for your product, use a VPS/ VM solution for that.
New Developers don't know what your product does
Solution: Add a few sentences at the beginning of the quickstart and tutorials. Include key activities.
Your docs are expansive and hard for a new dev to navigate
Solution: Provide use cases for your product and use them to guide developers through your documentation
Your docs are hard to find or your product requires signing up to test
Solution: Create a sandbox
Have a friend with less development experience try one of your tutorials and document every confusing point
Test your docs on different operating systems
Create a legend for your documentation
Add a glossary to your documentation
Add context to your tutorials