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The Essentials of User Documentation

    a technical writer at a desk writing user documentation

    One of the easiest ways for any company to ensure customer satisfaction is with excellent user documentation. Also known as user guides, these enable a consumer to know the ins and outs of a product and assists them with any issues they might encounter. However, numerous factors can cause unintuitive user documentation, from unclear writing, confusing presentation to advancement in technology or updates to a product that causes the documentation to become out of date. Because of this, it is best to hire a technical or documentation writer to ensure that your user documentation does not have any issues.

    How Technical Writers Can Address User Documentation Needs

    The best way to go about updating user documentation is with a professional technical and documentation writer. Hiring such a writer comes with the guarantee of technical expertise along with concise writing to get across the essential information. These two advantages cover the two most important aspects of this type of documentation: clarity and intimate knowledge of a product. Taking this into consideration, there are the important aspects of this kind of documentation for any industry. Whether it is a FAQ section, a support portal, or instructional guides, the key aspects of user documentation must keep these things in mind. 

    • First, keeping in mind the audience of your product will help dictate the overall presentation of your user documentation. By identifying if your audience is primarily for a layperson or more technical, then a technical writer can tailor the language so it is more suitable for which demographic.
    • Next, regardless of the audience, the language should be clear. While a more technical audience, such as engineers, can understand more jargon, it is still best that the writing in user documentation is clear and understandable so that whatever reason the customer is using your user documentation for, they will easily find it. This extends to the titles of a section as well.
    • Next, in a similar vein to clear writing, don’t forget the goal of what each section is trying to convey and how it is doing so. For installation guides, it is important to detail the steps clearly, while a section explaining features should thoroughly and clearly explain them. This can be conveyed with not just written instructions, but also with visual aids such as images and video. This can be done through well-thought-out design, an area technical writers also have experience with. 
    • Another thing to keep in mind is that user documentation should be easily accessible through your website. While handwritten user guides can come with a product, it is important to allow your user documentation to be easily accessible online given the digital age we are living in. If your product is delivered digitally, then user documentation on your website might be the only way it is accessible.
    • Lastly and most importantly, the need for updated user documentation due to software or general updates to a product. While your user documentation might be perfectly crafted at first, any updates to your products in or out of your control, such as a new OS for your software to run on, creates a situation where user documentation needs to be edited by a documentation writer to make sure the instructions comply with any new changes or requirements. 

    If your user documentation is lacking in any of these areas, consider hiring technical and documentation writers to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.

    Conclusion

    User documentation is a key part of making sure that your product succeeds with the general public. Having a difficult time using a product is a sure-fire way to disappoint customers and drive down potential profits. Hiring one of EDC’s technical and documentation writers to craft or update user documentation for you is a way to get ahead of this potential problem. The skillset of documentation writers allows for well-written and well-designed documentation, as well as the technical expertise to convey all of the essential information your customers need.

    How Can EDC Help You?

    Whether you need a team of consultants to produce a complete line of documentation or a single technical writer for a brief project, Essential Data’s Engagement Manager will lead the project from start to finish. At Essential Data Corporation, the quality of our work is guaranteed. Contact us today to get started. (800) 221-0093 or sales@edc.us

    Written by Stanley Chu

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