Manuals, user guides and courseware

Manuals and user guides should help people through the stages of a process.  Courseware needs to be easy to follow.  No matter whether the task is learning new software, understanding safety procedures, a ‘How to…’ guide or instructions on flat-pack furniture; the text and pictures must simply and clearly explain what needs to be done.  Too many guides are poorly laid out, don’t accurately match the product in question or are in miniscule typeface that people can’t properly read. 

I have created numerous guides, manuals and course materials for clients in a wide variety of industries.  Each document is carefully researched to ensure it accurately matches the tasks required and then checked and cross-checked to ensure it works.  Simplicity is the key, and use of photos, diagrams or screen shots is essential to clearly show what the user should be doing next. 

Case study

Business issue: Lack of documented in-house procedures on how to perform essential marketing tasks resulted in poorly delivered campaigns and confustion amongst departments

Result:  A set of ‘How To…’ guides including screen shots, simple step-by-step instructions, links to relevant intranet sites and internal documentation, help contact details and download information

Industry:  IT   Client location: UK

Talk to me today about your manual, user guide or courseware requirements.

See also:

Blogs, Case studies, Editing, proofreading and reviewing, Emails and sales letters, Marketing materials, Newsletters, Presentations and speeches, Surveys, questionnaires and telemarketing scripts, Web content

Top 5 tips – Manuals, user guides and courseware

  1. Whenever possible do the task yourself first, it will provide greater understanding of how to write the documenation
  2. Be logical.  This may sound obvious but it’s amazing how many guides start at stage 2 or 3 into the process
  3. Assume your reader knows nothing and spell out every task clearly and succinctly
  4. Use pictures, screen shots or photos as much as possible and circle or highlight the particular area to be noted
  5. Always get people to try out the guide before you publish it and incorporate the feedback they give you

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