Contact Author User manuals are often a source of conflict amongst readers. Typically, people take one glance at a product manual then set it aside when it appears to be too lengthy or complicated.
Did you start at the beginning and read the whole manual? You probably looked first at the index or the table of contents. Once you found the right page or topic, you probably scanned the page first to see if it contained the information you needed. This is how most people read manuals.
No one wants to read your user manual. No one will read your user manual from front to back savoring every word and phrase. Technical documents are not novels. Readers want user manuals to answer their questions quickly so that they can get back to whatever they were doing. A successful user manual provides users with quick answers to the questions that they might have about a particular product.
Users want to know how to complete tasks. Technical writing focuses on user tasks and the concepts that support the tasks.
Below are some practical tips on writing user manuals that will help you to write content that adapts to the needs of users. You should have a good understanding of your users so you can understand the information they need to know, their background, and their knowledge of the product.
Once you think like a user, you can write content that the users need to know. If you have the opportunity, you will find it very useful to watch users actually using the product. When you watch users interacting with the product, you will get a better idea of what the users need to do, how they approach each task, and when they might use approaches to tasks that are unexpected.
Use active voice Active voice emphasizes the user and is easier to read and understand. In most cases, especially in user manuals, you should use active voice. In active voice, the subject and verb in the sentence are clear. In passive voice, the subject is unknown and is acted upon by something that is not known or not stated.
Compare the two sentences below. Supplies that will be needed to complete this project include a hammer, a screwdriver, and a rubber mallet.
The sentence that uses active voice makes it clear that the reader is the person who will complete the action. By using the active voice, you will make your writing more clear, concise, and direct. Focus on the reader User manuals should always focus on the reader. Speaking directly to the reader will: Reinforce the message that the information is intended for the reader Pull readers into the document and make it relevant to them Help to avoid passive voice by focusing on the reader Compare the two sentences below.They are also called User Manuals.
When writing a User Guide, use simple language with short sentences.
This writing style helps the user understand the application. User Guide Templates. Download the 5 User Guide Templates here. User Guides . In short, a documentation plan is a document containing all the necessary information for reference when working on a user manual, such as: general information about the project, tools used, timeframes, workflow details, etc.
7 Tips for Writing an Effective Instruction Manual. In your day-to-day work, you might find that there are times when you need to provide a client with documentation that walks them through a. Tops tips for writing a user manual that will adapt to the needs of your users.
Write a manual that will solve your users' problems. Five Tips for Writing a User Manual. and their knowledge of the product. Once you think like a user, you can write content that the users need to know. If you have the opportunity, you will find it very. Reference information in user guides is often presented in tables: columnar lists of settings, descriptions, variables, parameters, flags, and so on.
Getting-started information. Some user guides will actually include brief tutorials that will help new users get acquainted with using the product. About the product. A well-designed user guide, and a well-designed process to produce that user guide, should include templates and style catalogs.
A template is an electronic file that defines such aspects of the user guide as page size, headers and footers, page-numbering style, .