Ferry Vermeulen, Instrktiv
Do you write user manuals or technical documentation? Do you often hear people emphasizing the importance of their user-friendliness?
But you hear it so often, that you actually do not know where to start looking for information about how to write user-friendly manuals yourself?
User-friendliness in technical documentation is becoming more and more important. Also the user experience of products’ instructions is considered an important part of the customer journey.
Below I’ve provided an overview of the main topics to think of when writing user-friendly documentation. Following we look at how to support successful access to information and user feedback.
How to support successful access to information
It is generally acknowledged that end users don’t read the manual from cover to cover and that they more often prefer to consult the information they need online. To overcome these issues, information developers would first of all be well advised to stick to a defined terminology and to develop a meaningful Table of Contents and an index. Secondly, product information should be distributed using several platforms/mediums, like a print manual, online (for all devices) or on device. The following links will provide you more insights in giving the user access to information.
Links about this topic:
- Albers, Michael J; Human-Information Interaction and Technical Communication
- Bailie, Rahel; How to Create Useful FAQ Pages (Content Marketing Institute)
- Cross-platform delivery/ Multi-channel publication (Madcap Software)
- Ganguly, A. and Chaudhuri, S; Accessible Documentation (UXmatters)
- Hollis Weber, Jean; Hints for developing a table of contents (Technical Editors’ Eyrie)
- Jose, Maria; Designing the Perfect Table of Contents: 50 Examples to Show You How (Canva)
- van der Meij, H; Minimalism principle 4: support successful information access
- Newton, Ben; Website Accessibility: The Untapped Global Income Stream (UXmatters)
- Quesenbery, Whitney; Accessibility First – for a Better User Experience For All (UXmatters)
- Indexing Technical Documents (Techscribe)
User Feedback: user research and staying in contact with your users
Getting feedback and staying in contact with you customers is one of the most valuable assets a company can develop. Improving on them is a great way to increase the customer lifetime value (CLV). By keeping in touch with your customers you can collect meaningful feedback for documentation improvement and product development. Analytic data, such as topic views, search keywords, used search terms (also terms that yield no results), can provide very valuable insight into how your users use your documentation and product and how it can be improved. The following links will provide you more insights in how to stay in contact with your users.
Links about this topic:
- Julien, Jordan; The Importance of Knowing User Intent (UXmatters)
- Lehrner-Mayer, Karina; Five tips for creating documentation that focuses on the user (tcworld e-magazine)
- Analytics, Reporting, and Social Collaboration for Your Documentation (Madcap Pulse)
- Madrigal, D. and McClain, B; Strengths and Weaknesses of Quantitative and Qualitative Research (UXmatters)
- Madrigal, D. and McClain, B; Planning User Research Throughout the Development Cycle (UXmatters)
- Nielsen, Jakob; Getting Users to a Specific Feature in a Usability Test (Nielsen Norman Group)
- Ross, Jim; Excuses, Excuses! Why Companies Don’t Conduct User Research (UXmatters)
- Veal, Raven; How To Conduct User Experience Research Like A Professional (CareerFoundry)
- Wadswort, Marta; 7 tools to stay in close contact with your user (Geek Time)
Books about this topic: