Why should you create ePub and Kindle versions of your help files?

Kindle device [Featured]

Everyone understands the importance of accurate, up-to-date help documentation. The only way to get the best out of any product is to read the manual and find out how to use every function properly. The difficulty faced by the developers of many products is choosing which formats they should produce their help documentation in. It used to be the case that a printed manual was considered sufficient for most products. In recent years the printed manual has frequently been replaced by either a PDF or on-line version, but are these really the best options available?

Millions of people now own Kindles, and Kindle owners read, a lot.

In today’s digital world how do most of us consume books? It’s true that for a substantial number of people printed books are still their first choice, but for an increasing number of readers, e-books are the medium of choice.
E-books are popular for several reasons, perhaps the most obvious one is their portability. You can fit thousands of books onto your Kindle, tablet or phone and carry them with you wherever you go so that you will always have access to them. This portability is something that is very desirable in help documentation. Not every product can be operated near a computer where you can easily access online help, and carrying a thick manual around with you is not always convenient. In these situations an ePub or Kindle version of your manual could be the perfect solution. Your customers can read the user manual anywhere they want on a Kindle, tablet, or smart-phone which they were probably going to be carrying with them anyway.
Having the manual available so conveniently makes it much easier for your customers to study the manual. They can check any details they are unsure about, and learn how to use the product during any spare moments they may have during the day, even when they can’t get online.

Why doesn’t everyone produce help documents for the Kindle?

One of the major reasons that developers have been slow to produce all of their help documentation in e-book format is the extra work involved. It can be time consuming enough to write the help manual and format it in one format without worrying about formatting it again for multiple versions. Fortunately there is an easy solution to this difficulty: write your help documentation using a help authoring tool with ePub and Kindle eBook creation capabilities. Using a authoring tool not only gives you access to the many useful features including a topic editor, and the media library, but what is particularly useful is the way it allows you to output your completed help documents in multiple formats. You can create Kindle e-books or ePub files with no more effort than it takes to produce a PDF file or an HTML version of your help manual. Using a help authoring tool it only takes a few clicks of your mouse to produce a fully formatted document in as many different versions as you could wish. You just need to concentrate on writing the highest quality manual that you can, with a help authoring tool all of the formatting is done automatically for every version, saving you time and making your customers lives easier as well.

See also...

The 7 Best Formats to Publish Your Help Manuals [Featured]
The 7 Best Formats to Publish Your Help Manuals

There is only one rule for picking the best format for publishing help manuals: pick the format that makes the manual easily accessible for users when they need it and how they need it. Interestingly, …

Read More →
help and manuals go wrong [Featured]
When help and manuals go wrong

Almost everyone has at least one help related horror story to tell. Whether it is about trying to understand a product when the help manual has been written in such poor English that it is …

Read More →
Documents in half the time [Featured]
Write better help documents in half the time

Writing help documentation can be a very long process. If you have a complicated product to explain it’s not unusual for them to be several hundred help pages, and even a fairly simple product may …

Read More →
How To Create An Appealing Online Documentation [Featured]
How To Create An Appealing Online Documentation

It is easy to assume that content is the only element users care about whenever they use a documentation. But such an assumption is absolutely far from reality. Design is one of the most crucial …

Read More →