Whether it was for connecting a newly-bought printer or for figuring out how to install a program on your computer, we’ve all read a user manual at least once in our lives. Even now, when you can find instructions and how-to videos for almost anything you could think of, people still rely on user manuals to give them one hundred percent accurate information.
Even if it’s as brief as a few pages long or it almost looks like a book, a user manual’s role is to provide assistance in the form of explicit technical communication. If you’re in charge of writing such a document, here are a few tips on how to create a proper one that will actually help out future readers.
Remember Who Your Audience Is
One of the first things you need to determine before you start writing a user manual is who the user is. Who is going to read the documentation?
A common trap many professional cover letter writing services fall into is thinking that product users are the ones that will be reading the information. However, there are many cases where the two – the product user and the user manual reader – differ. Because of this, it’s essential that the writing is as easy-to-understand and clear as possible. Whether the product targets professionals or beginner users, a technical manual should provide the necessary information and help them understand how to use the product quickly.
Pay Attention to How You Structure It
You’ve made yourself familiar with the product, you’ve done your research, and you know all there possibly is about it. What now? Well, it’s time to start writing your guide.
Start with a backbone you can then expand on.
You probably already know how the product works, and the necessary steps one should take to use it. Based on this information, you should be able to create a table of contents or a basic structure you can then fill in with all the details. Make sure you first introduce the product and the purpose and objectives of the user manual.
Carefully Design It
It may not seem like it at first, but user manuals can become a great marketing tool for the company. That is where the design part becomes important.
Whatever the product may be, it’s crucial to synchronize the user manual with the company’s overall brand. It will give it a feeling of professionalism, and it will make it seem more than just a simple instructions booklet.
Using the company’s logo and color scheme is just one way of integrating the brand into the manual you’re writing – showing attention to details will get you a long way!
Don’t Forget to Test It
Don’t think your job is over just because you’ve finished writing! User manuals also require testing, given their informative nature and their critical importance. You don’t need big mistakes for complete failure, as even a spelling or punctuation error can determine an incorrect interpretation of your instructions.
A lot of things can go wrong, which is why you need to put your manual through a documentation test. In other words, carefully examine the content and approach it from a variety of angles to ensure it’s clear, concise, and easy to understand.
Make sure to have your documentation tested by both people in your company and real users. They could provide you with the necessary feedback and tell you what you should change to make the manual more informative, accurate or user-friendly.
Don’t forget about performing safety tests, as well and ensuring that the instructions you have given cannot lead to any harm.
A user manual doesn’t only help its readers; it can also be an excellent marketing tool for your company. By increasing user satisfaction, decreasing the support team’s workload, and creating a professional image for the company, a user manual can contribute to the product’s success and help build your brand image.
Keep in mind our tips for a user manual that is well-written, useful, and approachable!