Saturday, August 29, 2009

General Guidelines for Technical Writing of User Manuals

I have usually worked on creating User Manuals for my company and so I will write up some posts for writing technically while creating User Manuals.
  • Provide a real (physical) User Manual with the product: don't make people read a pdf.
  • Make sure the instructions actually map on to the product in all respects.
  • Include a one-page quick start guide.
  • Present instructions as step-by-step procedures.
  • Tell the user what functions there are, and what they are for — not just how to use them...
  • ...but avoid marketing waffle (they already bought the product!)
  • Ensure that the writers are part of the product design team.
  • Write the user manual in sync with the product's development timeline — not under pressure of shipping deadlines.
  • Make sure the writers have the product, understand the product, and actually use the product as they write.
  • Consider the needs of disabled users (i.e., low vision, colour-blind) and provide alternative manuals in Braille, large print, audio etc.
  • User-test the product and the user manual with real users (including disabled users).

2 comments:

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Good tips. Pls write about various software applications used by technical writers

Layne Adams said...

Hi there! this is such an informative post. Thank you for sharing. Cheers!

- The technical writer jobs