User guides and instruction manuals

User guides still have their place

User guides and instruction manuals

User guides still have their place

Need someone to write your user guides and manuals?

I can help you with that. 

Whether you’re looking for brief quick start guides or more comprehensive manuals, I have the skills you need. And if you want manuals that you can print and use online, that’s not a problem. 

 

User guides, instruction manuals, and more

What makes a good user guide?

Any technical writer worth their salt will tell you that a product manual should not be a product description. And yet there are still loads of manuals out there with pages of feature descriptions. Why is this bad? Because there is no context.

Most people don’t go to a manual because they want to know what feature X does. They want to know how to achieve their task. That’s their starting point, not the name of a feature.

So good user guides are designed and written from that perspective – what does the reader want to achieve and why?

 

Of course, there’s a little more to it than that.  It’s also important to understand who your audience is, what kind of language they use, and what level of knowledge they already have. There’s a big difference between creating a user guide for a complete beginner and creating one for a more advanced user. 

As a technical communicator for over 20 years, I know all about creating user-centred content, so you can be sure your manuals will hit the mark.

 

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

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’s the time to put that right. With the right tools, it really is easy, and I can do it for you.

How long does it take to write a user guide? Watchface image.

How long does it take to write a user guide?

The time it takes to write a manual varies a lot, depending 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. 

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 talk about your project

If you’re interested in hiring me as a freelance technical writer, UX writer, content designer or something else, please get in touch. 

Use the form below or visit the contact page for other ways of getting hold of me. Sorry about the captcha, got to keep the spambots at bay.

 

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