Tips for writing a great user manual

One of the documents that always accompanies any product is the dreaded user manual. Writing a great manual is not an easy task and gets harder for a complicated product. But we do want to ease the knowledge transfer from the product creators (that is, us) to the product users. The following tips will guide you on building one:

1. Know the product you are building the manual for

  • Use the product
  • Ask questions about it
  • Take part of the design process if possible

2. Know your audience

  • Test the product on a focus group to see how they use it
  • Take note of misunderstandings and failures in product usage; These will give you important ideas on what’s needed to be emphasized in the manual
  • After having a user manual draft, have users read it and evaluate their understanding. Improve iteratively based on their feedback

3. Make it simple

  • Write it as you speak to your users
  • Use short, clear sentences
  • Do not assume your users understand the parts’ names. Make sure you redirect them with visual indications and images when needed

4. Use visual materials

  • People understand and remember visuals much better and faster than text
  • Always add explanations for images. Never use images with no text attached to it
  • Inside the image, use clear and large enough fonts

5. Make a clear logic for the user manual steps

  • Build a user journey map before creating the user manual, to understand what the user is doing on each step. For example, should he or she make sure no hidden parts are lost in the package? Or, do some parts arrive in a second box? you have to know that.
  • Always indicate if some steps need tools or third party product

6. Safety

  • Make sure you meet the safety regulations
  • Indicate hazards prior to a step and bold it for the user

7. Regulations

Always follow the product regulations. In some cases, regulations will indicate what information should be added to your user manual. For example, it can be by CE or ASTM. Consult with the product manager and QA department, which usually hold this information

8. Document structure

  • Plan your user manual layout. It can be a spread, a booklet, an accordion or anything that makes it stand out and easy to understand
  • Make your layout simple. Use fewer columns as you to reduce confusion by the user
  • Put the supporting graphics near the relevant paragraph. Do not let your users search for the right image

9. Compatibility

  • Plan where your user manual is going to be published and how. Most consumer goods products, for example, comes with a printed user manual. This user manual is also presented online on desktop and mobile. If you can plan your user manual to be easily read on different platforms, you make it more accessible to your users
  • Korras AI Knowledge Base provides an automated tool based on deep learning technology, that turns any user manual into a chatbot. The chatbot focuses on understanding the user’s needs and provides the right information to the user quickly and efficiently.

Our goal is to help people in the best way possible. this is a basic principle in every case and cause for success. contact us today for a free consultation. 

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