How to Develop a Good User Manual?

January 04, 2021

Many people think user manuals are simply about telling customers how to use the products. But they aren’t that simple actually. User manuals are an important part of the post-purchase service. If the user manuals fail to give customers right instructions which allow them to handle the products properly, customers’ buying experience is totally ruined.

In order to create a well-designed user manual, there are some tips that you should follow:

1. Don't confuse your customers

Technical terms and creative use of language will cause confusion in user manuals which might result in serious customer complaints, because customers misunderstand the instructions. Therefore, using plain language is the right choice to avoid this kind of problems.

2. Simplicity

A wall of text is never allowed in a user manual. Customers’ reactions to long instructions are quite negative. They won’t read the user manuals with long blocks text and pages. You should simplify your language, and focus on the visual content about show your customers how to do.

Visual Communication Research from TechSmith

3. Logical hierarchy and flow

Again, the priority of user manual design is avoiding confusion. A clear hierarchy of headings and subheading is required to clearly show what each section will show them. All content should be arranged in a logical flow in order to make the instructions easily understandable.

4. Table of contents

If your products content contains complex features, functions or installation which requires more instructions, a table of contents provides your customers a simple, efficient and familiar way to quickly find a solution to their question and problem.

5. Focus on the problems that the product solves

Always remember the purpose of a user manual is to solve problems. Illustrate the problems that your product can solve. Don’t just show off the “cool features” of the product.

6. Good Design

As mentioned above, a well-designed manual should avoid blocks of text and pages. Moreover, plan the layout before design in order to eliminate monotony and make the learning of a new product easier. Include more graphics and images to create intuitive user manuals. Last but not least, use complementary colors crossing different sections to make the page flow clearer.

7. Digitalization

With the development of digital technology, people increasingly rely on the internet to get information, and likewise the way how customers get user manuals. The time when people read paper user manuals has gone. They search the Internet, company websites or online stores’ customer service for instructions. Therefore, a digital version of user manuals should be available online.

A Rising Star: Instructional Videos

User manuals are little things that matter a lot. Without a good user manual, all the marketing efforts you make will be in vain. These 7 tips will help you develop different kinds of user documents.


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