Millions of internet users across the globe are constantly searching for answers and solutions on the web via search engines. Google alone processes 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. These huge figures have not gone unnoticed across several companies and businesses who now do all they can to match their content with search engine queries.
But what about technical content such as helps and documentations? Should companies and technical writers post their online help systems to servers that can be accessed and indexed by search engines? And if they do, are there any benefits over other companies and writers who don’t? Let’s find out.
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.
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.
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, product users have access to several devices, software and digital content including web browsers, PDF, Microsoft Word and smart devices such as smartphones, tablets, Kindle, iPads, Macs… The list is almost endless. This is why writing a quality help manual may be the best investment your business makes. But with such a long list, what’s the best format for publishing your help manual? Let’s review some of them.
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 unintelligible, or a product that has shipped with a manual for entirely the wrong model. Perhaps the story is about one of those manuals that are packed so full of details that there is too much information and it becomes almost impossible to find the answer you need quickly. There are many ways that help manuals can go wrong but in general they can usually be broken down into two main areas:
The manual is out of date or has the wrong information
The manual is poorly written or is difficult to navigate
Writing a help manual can often be an intensely frustrating process. Everyone understands that the ultimate aim is to create a manual that helps your users solve their difficulties with your products and understand all their functions. The difficulty lies in working out how to get there. Most authors will have had the experience of staring at a blank piece of paper or screen, wondering how to start their latest book or article. When writing help documentation the main problem is deciding how to approach the subject.
What are the major product related costs for your business? Everyone knows that creating a new product costs money. There are costs involved in designing, testing, manufacturing the product, and also in getting the product to customers. All of these things need to happen if you are going to create a product which can be sold and produce an income that will allow the business to prosper.