The 2020 Season of Docs program finished on March 15, 2021. See timeline.
The project ideas are suggestions from an open source organization for projects that a technical writer can complete in collaboration with a mentor during Season of Docs.
The information on this page is for open source organization administrators and mentors who are preparing their list of project ideas. The information is also useful for technical writers as background to the organizations' participation in Season of Docs.
Below are some ideas of the type of project that a technical writer can tackle:
Build a documentation site on a platform to be decided by the technical writer and open source mentor, and publish an initial set of basic documents on the site. Examples of platforms include:
- Read the Docs
- A static site generator such as Hugo, Jekyll, Sphinx, and more
- GitHub Pages
Refactor the open source project's existing documentation to provide an improved user experience or a more accessible information architecture.
Write a conceptual overview of, or introduction to, a product or feature. Often a team creates their technical documentation from the bottom up, with the result that there's a lot of detail but it's hard to understand the product as a whole. A technical writer can fix this.
Create a tutorial for a high-profile use case.
Create a set of focused how-to guides for specific tasks.
Create a contributor’s guide that includes basic information about getting started as a contributor to the open source project, as well as any rules around licence agreements, processes for pull requests and reviews, building the project, and so on.
The above ideas intentionally vary in scope and size. The length of time that any project takes depends on a number of factors, including the size of the documentation set, the complexity of the product, the experience of the technical writer and open source mentors, the tools and processes offered by the open source project, and more.
The goal of the above list is to get you started. You can propose other types of projects too.
Publish your list of project ideas
You should publish your project ideas on a public web page, in a blog post, or in some other publicly visible document.
Your project ideas page should include:
Information about your open source organization:
- Organization name.
- Organization description.
- A link to your open source repository and/or website.
- (Optional) An email address for contacting your organization about Season of Docs. This should be the same as the email address that you include on your organization's application form for Season of Docs.
- (Optional) Information about your organization administration and mentors, such as their display names. These should be the same as the display names that you include on your organization's application form for Season of Docs.
An announcement that your organization is applying to participate in this year's Season of Docs. The promotion and press page includes logos and other content that you can use when talking about Season of Docs.
Your project idea(s), including the information described below for each project idea.
When you create your organization's application for Season of Docs, you should include a link to your project ideas page.
Information in each project idea
Each project idea must include at least the following information:
- Project name: Choose a concise but descriptive title.
- Description: A longer description of the documentation work required. Describe your initial idea in detail. Offer opportunities for any interested technical writers to expand or refine the idea.
- Link to the open source project that needs documentation.
- If you're proposing a technical writing project that involves updates to an existing documentation set, link to that documentation set.
- If you're proposing a tutorial or a set of how-to guides, describe the features or use cases that need documenting.
- If you're proposing a contributor's guide, link to any existing README file or other relevant material if present. If there's nothing available yet, it's fine to say that.
- Include links to similar documentation in other projects, if relevant.
Importance of the project ideas
Your project ideas are important in a number of ways:
- Working on the ideas helps your organization formulate the documentation tasks required and prepare to work with a technical writer.
- The project ideas give the Google program administrators an indication of the type of work a technical writer will tackle when they enter a mentoring relationship with your organization. The Google program administrators use the project ideas to judge the organization's commitment to participation in Season of Docs and mentoring a technical writer throughout the program.
- The project ideas attract interested technical writers to your organization. They can use your suggested projects as a basis for their own project proposals.
- The promotion and press page includes logos and other content that you can use when talking about Season of Docs.
- This video from PyCon Australia 2017 gives hints about organizing your documentation so that people find it useful: What nobody tells you about documentation by Daniele Procida.