Welcome to Bucaro TecHelp!

Bucaro TecHelp
HTTPS Encryption not required because no account numbers or
personal information is ever requested or accepted by this site

About Bucaro TecHelp About BTH User Agreement User Agreement Privacy Policy Privacy Site Map Site Map Contact Bucaro TecHelp Contact RSS News Feeds News Feeds

How to Create a User's Manual

Create a User's Manual

User manuals are written guides in either hard-copy (paper) or electronic document (PDF or XPS) format that provide instructions on how to do or use something. Although "user guides" are most often thought of in terms of computer software manuals, user manuals also accompany computers and other electronic devices such as televisions, stereos, telephone systems, and MP3 players, as well as household appliances and lawn and garden equipment.

Good user manuals educate users about the product's features while teaching them how to use those features effectively and are laid out to be easily read and referred to. Following are things to consider when creating effective content for and designing the layout of a user manual.

Creating Appropriate User Documentation

Define Who Is Your User

To write a successful user manual, you need to develop a profile of your user, either formally, by creating a written profile, or informally, by taking the time to make reasonable assumptions about your user's characteristics. Such a profile is useful when you're part of a team writing the user documentation and can also be helpful in taking the product itself from concept to final form. Things to think about when forming a user profile include:

Where users will use the user guide, such as at home, in the office, at a remote job site, or in the car. This may determine not only the content, but the style the user manual takes.

How users will use the user guide. If the manual is one they will consult only infrequently or to look up information, it should primarily take the form of a reference document. If it is something users will consult frequently in the beginning, the reference section should be accompanied by a "Getting Started" section and instructions on the most common tasks the product will be used for.

How much experience users have with the product or others like it. If your product is new or significantly different from similar products, you'll need to include an explanation of how it differs from other products as well as instructions on how to get started. If the product deals with something users often have trouble with, such as many computer applications, you'll need to provide appropriate information and detail in an understandable fashion.

Write to Your User's Needs in a Way the User Can Understand

Unless the user has a technical background, it is probably best to avoid highly technical language in favor of clear, simple explanations. The text should also be organized in a way that mimics the way users think; listing product features grouped by function often makes more sense than simply those used most often.

Sometimes there is no getting around using technical terms, such as for a graph-creating software application that includes Fibonacci charts along with more common pie and bar graphs. In such a case, it is helpful to define the term and provide some background, such as an explanation of what Fibonacci charts are and their use in financial analysis.

RSS Feed RSS Feed

Follow Stephen Bucaro Follow @Stephen Bucaro

Fire HD
[Site User Agreement] [Privacy Policy] [Site map] [Search This Site] [Contact Form]
Copyright©2001-2024 Bucaro TecHelp 13771 N Fountain Hills Blvd Suite 114-248 Fountain Hills, AZ 85268