The Ultimate Guide to User-Friendly Manuals

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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:

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:

Books about this topic:

Dumas, Joseph S. and Redish, Janice (Ginny); A Practical Guide to Usability Testing

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