Putting together an instruction manual

An instruction manual is a written document on paper or in electronic (PDF) format that explains how to use a program. A good instruction manual informs individuals on how to perform something. They do so by explaining how to use these functionalities efficiently. Manuals that are meant to be readily searched and read.

In this post, we go through exactly what you should think about while creating an instruction manual.

For who is the instruction manual intended?

To produce a solid instruction manual, you must first construct a user profile and take the time to gain a good image of the user’s attributes. A specific profile is especially beneficial if you are part of a team that creates user documentation. The following things will be included in the user profile:

  • The place where the instruction manual will be used, such as at home, the office, a remote work location, or in the automobile. This not only impacts the content, but also the format of the instruction manual.
  • How people want to utilize the instruction manual. If users will only examine the instruction manual on rare occasions, it should be in the form of a reference book. If it is a document that users will use frequently at first, it should include a “Getting Started” section as well as for instructions on the most typical actions.
  • Users’ background information, such as education level and talents.
  • Users’ level of familiarity with the software. If the program is new or considerably different from existing products, describe how it varies and offer directions for getting started. If the program is complicated, you must present the necessary facts and details in a comprehensible manner.

Write in a style that all users can comprehend

Unless the user has a technical background, it is usually advisable to avoid technical vocabulary. Instead, give clear, basic explanations. We could also structure the user manual to reflect how people operate. Listing software features by task frequently make more sense than listing them alphabetically.

Using technical jargon is sometimes the only option. In such cases, it is beneficial to explain the phrase and offer background information.

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Describe the issue in detail.

The answer is always included in the instruction manual. In marketing, offering software as a solution to a general problem works well. Once the program is obtained, the user must learn how to utilize it. Identify particular difficulties that the user is experiencing and mention them in the user manual, along with recommendations on how to address them.

If the problem is difficult, divide it into smaller components. Make a list of the instructions for each component.

The instruction manual has a standard style and layout.

Every user instruction manual has a cover that serves as more than just a reference card. A title page is included in any instruction manual that is larger than a folded sheet of paper.

  • If the instruction manual is copyrighted, a copyright notice appears on both the cover and title page.
  • Or if there are any terms and conditions for using the program, include them on the inside cover.
  • Include references to relevant documents.
  • If the user documentation has more documents than the manual, provide the version numbers in the prologue.
  • The introduction also serves as the location for a “How to Use This Manual” section.