User guides and instruction manuals

User guides still have their place

User guides and instruction manuals

User guides still have their place

User guides don’t have to be dry and boring

Technical content has to be unambiguous, especially if it is being translated into other languages. So your user guides shouldn’t have the creative touches that you associate with marketing (copywriting). But at the same time, they don’t need to be so stuffy and formal that people don’t want to use them.

As a technical writer and copywriter, I use a blend of writing skills to create user guides that are engaging and easy to read. The result is content that is easy to read and explains ‘why’ and ‘when’ as well as ‘how to’.

Get in touch if:

  • You have existing manuals that are too technical for your customers
  • You need a new user guide for your product or service
  • Your customers are asking for better user guides
  • You want your user guides to be converted into online content.
Craig combined professionalism with a conversational style in his writing that engaged the reader, often of subject matter that was both complicated and dry, but always managing to make it interesting and accessible.

His ability to converse with technical staff and illicit the finer points of the subject was excellent and combined with his attention to detail meant that nothing was left un-said or ambiguous in the text.

Steve O'Hara

Chief Technical Officer, 4Energy

User guides that give customers the answers they need

How can you encourage customers to turn to your user guides for answers? By making sure that your content meets their needs. That means your user guides should be:

  • Easy to read and understand.
  • Non-linear so that customers don’t need to know about ‘earlier’ content. 
  • Explaining ‘why’ and ‘when’ not just ‘how’
  • Organised so that customers can find information quickly and easily.
  • In-keeping with your brand and the tone of your marketing
  • Accurate and complete. 

To provide useful user guides, you need to understand what your customers experience when they use your products. That’s where my skills as a technical writer can help you. I’ve worked on lots of user guides and know how to identify what content your customers need, and how to present that information. 

An example of a manual created in MadCap Flare (above)

A quick start user guide created in Adobe InDesign (above)

Taking your user guides online

If your user guides aren’t available online, I can make them available as PDFs or can convert them into a searchable online help system. It really isn’t that much extra work to create an online help. That’s the beauty of writing in a topic-based style – it makes it much easier to reuse your content in different formats.

So if you have been avoiding moving away from PDFs because web content looks too complicated, now is the time to put that right. With the right tools, it really is easy, and I can do it for you.

Need a user guide? There’s no time to waste

It depends on the complexity of your product or service. Usually, it takes somewhere between 20 and 30 days for a first-draft of a 60 page user guide. For smaller projects where only a small manual is needed, it’s more like 10 days’ work. 

So if you have a product launch coming up and you don’t have a user guide yet, it is better to act sooner rather than later. A good user guide takes a lot of time and thought to get right, even for experienced technical writers like me.

Let's get your content project started. Get in touch and let me know what you need.

+44 07954141761

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