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 elements of any online documentation. A visually-appealing documentation such as a user guide that contains relevant images and have appropriate videos embedded in it alongside with fonts and theme that aligns with the website design is always visually appealing to users and more user-friendly!
Here are 5 easy tips for creating visually appealing online documentations that are user-friendly.
Online user guides and manuals are absolutely convenient for users because they can be accessed easily and almost anywhere. As such, online user guides and manuals must be written appropriately to make them effective and user-friendly. Unlike the print user guides and manuals, online manuals are often accessed via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Although they aren’t restricted to such devices: learn more about the best formats to publish your help files. So what should you consider when writing online user guides and manuals? Let’s get back to the basics.
A user-friendly documentation is a winning documentation for any technical writer. But creating one can be tricky, especially if you’re writing for a diverse audience that cuts across locations and languages. Here are great technical writing principles that can guide you whenever you’re looking to write user-friendly help materials.
An effective software documentation helps the end users working with the software understand its features, functions, and how to perform specific tasks. For technical writers, the question is, how exactly can you achieve all these while writing for end users with very little or no technical knowledge? Let’s find out!
Would you love your website to look great with a stunning and richer user experience across all devices, platforms, and screen sizes? It’s easy to conclude that you need such a website because of smartphones and tablets users. Period. But you should look beyond the current devices and imagine future devices such as smartwatches, Google glass, virtual and augmented reality, or any other new devices tech experts may throw at us. Responsive websites and development will work for them too. Let’s see how important responsive HTML websites are.
You’ve designed a near perfect product or built a great software. And then you hired some of the best technical writers to write a user-friendly help manual to solve usability problems. You want your product users to start enjoying the product from the first minute. The technical writers did a great a job, and your user experience team confirmed that. But after launching your product or releasing an update, you seem to be spending a lot more on customer support. In many cases, the answers users are looking for are right inside the user manual. So now you’re asking the same question many manufacturers and developers have been asking. Do product users ever read help manuals?
Picking the right format to publish your help files can be tricky, especially if you’re creating your first help manual and you want to avoid the biggest mistakes first time help manual authors make. The right format determines if your users have access to your help files exactly how and when they need it. If you’re using a help authoring tool (and you should because they make it easier to write better help documents in half the time), publishing in multiple formats should be no trouble at all. The big question we’re answering today is, should you publish a print manual (hard copy), or a screen manual (PDF, CHM, Web based HTML, eBook format…).
What’s the worst mistake you can make as a first time help manual author?
A good help manual is user-friendly, and contains clear instructions that users can find and use easily. But if you’re a first time help manual author, creating a good one can be a tough task, especially if it’s your first technical writing project. Interestingly, every great help manual writer had their first moment too, and made several mistakes on their first attempt. We’ve compiled these mistakes, so you wouldn’t repeat any of them. Thankfully, you can learn from these mistakes and create a top-notch help manual on your first attempt.
Let’s face it, help documentation today has a terrible image. Almost everyone you talk to about it has a bad impression of help manuals. There are lots of different reasons for this, some of the most common are:
It doesn’t answer the questions you have
You can’t find the answer even though you know it’s in there somewhere
Many authors of help manuals have discovered that help authoring tools or HAT software programs are a great way to quickly and easily write manuals, and other help documents. Not so many people stop and think about the way using HAT software programs actually benefits everyone else, including the product manufacturer paying for the manual, and the end user of the product.