Do you know what’s more important than selling a product? Making sure your customers are able to use it effectively.
That’s where a user manual comes in – it’s the key to helping your users understand your product and processes. And believe it or not, it can even be legally required for you to sell your products. But take note, a user manual isn't just a legal requirement, it has a significant impact on your customer's experience.
Research shows that customers prefer to consult user manuals before reaching out to a support team, which means your manual has the potential to save you money on support costs.
So, it’s essential to invest time and effort in creating a helpful user manual, whether on paper or online. In this post, we’ll share top tips on how to write an effective user manual, and highlight some software that can assist you in the process.
What is a user manual?
Imagine you're trying to assemble a new piece of furniture you've just bought, and you're stuck at some point.
The bolts won't fit, and you're scratching your head, wondering what to do next. Instead of giving up and tossing the pieces aside, you could reach for the user manual that came with the product.
A user manual can be a real lifesaver in such situations, and it's not just for furniture assembly-whether it's a new device, electronic gadget, or software application, a user manual can help you understand how to use it to its full potential. And for businesses, having a comprehensive user manual is a no-brainer.
When it comes to software and web products and services, product manuals can be created and managed in a knowledge base tool. Here's an example of a user manual about how to integrate KnowledgeBase with LiveChat.
It can save you money by deflecting common user queries and providing detailed documentation around your product or service.
Types of user manuals
When it comes to technical communication, user manuals are an essential component. And with so many different types of user manuals out there, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which ones to use.
That's why, before you start creating your user manuals, it's important to consider your target audience and the purpose of your product.
Will your users be primarily tech-savvy? Do you need to provide detailed step-by-step instructions, or just a general overview? By answering these questions, you'll be able to choose the right type of user manual that will effectively communicate the information your users need.
So take some time to think about it, and create a manual that will make your users happy and successful.
Discover everything you need to know about the importance of product manuals, what type of information they should contain, and how to write a good one.'s Manual
An owner's manual is a document that contains information about the care and operation of a product. Owner's manuals are typically provided by the manufacturer of the product and can be found online or in physical form.
2. Instruction Manual
An instruction manual is a document that provides step-by-step instructions for how to use a product. Instruction manuals are typically provided by the manufacturer of the product and can be found online or in physical form.
3. Quick Start Guide
A quick start guide is a document that provides a brief overview of the main features and functions of a product. Quick start guides are typically provided by the manufacturer of the product and can be found online or in physical form.
4. User Guide
A user guide is a document that provides detailed information about the use of a product. User guides are typically provided by the manufacturer of the product and can be found online or in physical form.
5. Troubleshooting Guide
A troubleshooting guide is a document that provides information on how to resolve common problems with a product. Troubleshooting guides are typically provided by the manufacturer of the product and can be found online or in physical form.
6. Warranty Information
Warranty information is a document that provides details on the terms of a product's warranty. Warranty information is typically provided by the manufacturer of the product and can be found online or in physical form
What makes a good user manual?
The key to creating an effective manual is to use plain language. This means avoiding big words and complicated phrases that could confuse your readers. Instead, keep your sentences short and sweet, and use common terms that your audience will understand. Of course, there may be times when you need to use technical jargon, but make sure you define these terms or provide links to a glossary.
By using plain language, you'll ensure that your manual is accessible to everyone, without compromising the clarity or professionalism of your writing.
Relevant images, diagrams, and videos can break up the monotony and actually catch the attention of your users. But it's not just about aesthetics - visuals can also help clarify instructions and make them easier to follow. So, if you want to create a user manual that's both informative and engaging, be sure to incorporate some visuals. Trust us, your users will thank you for it!
Logical hierarchical structure
Have you ever tried to find information in a user manual and gotten lost in a sea of irrelevant topics? Yeah, it's pretty frustrating.
That's exactly why it's important to have a logical hierarchical structure in place when it comes to your content. Think of it as a roadmap for your users to navigate through your information with ease. By providing a clear structure, you're enabling them to quickly find what they're looking for without the headache of sifting through a bunch of irrelevant information. So, next time you're putting together a user manual, take some time to make sure your contents are laid out in a logical and easy-to-follow way.
It's essential to have a searchable knowledge base that can help your users find the information they're looking for in no time. But that's not all. Your search bar should also be predictive, meaning it should suggest the terms your users are typing in. This way, they can easily find the content they need without the frustration of typing in keywords that don't get them anywhere.
So, if you want to keep your users engaged and satisfied, make sure you have searchable content with a user-friendly search bar.
Clear topics and relevant articles
The key to making your content easily digestible for readers is to organize it with clear topics that are relevant to the articles themselves. Having too many topics can be off-putting for users, while too many levels of subtopics can make the documentation challenging to navigate.
So, keep things concise and user-friendly by structuring your content with just the right amount of topics and subtopics. Your readers will thank you for making it effortless to find and understand the information they need!
Feedback and reviews
It's not always easy to put your work out there and have others critique it, but seeking feedback from your users can be incredibly valuable in improving your manual. After all, who knows better what works and what doesn't than the people who are actually using it? Take their suggestions into account and see if there are any changes you can make to better enable them to solve their problems.
Remember, the whole point of a user manual is to help your users succeed. So, make sure you're doing everything you can to make that happen.
It's no secret that user manuals are important. They can make or break a user's experience with your product or service. But did you know that creating one takes time and effort? Yeah, it's not just a matter of slapping some instructions down on paper and calling it a day. Lucky for you, there are tools out there to help make the process a little easier. One of them is KnowledgeBase, a simple knowledge base software.
But, the key is to take your time and test out a few different options to find which one suits your organization's needs best. Trust me, your customers (and your customer service team) will thank you for it.