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Technical Manuals - What They Are and How to Write Them

March 29, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 155

The need for technical manuals has been increased by the explosion in technology. The problem is that most technical manuals are either too boring or too difficult to read, that users don't find them useful. There is a few which lack the basics and even end up being poor in grammar or sentence structure. A good technical manual needs to be one which is easily read and understood. When a person reads this manual, he or she should be able to easily understand what it is that is being talked about without having to call the tech support centre of the concerned company.

So what are technical manuals? These simply are documents that are required by companies that manufacture products to provide customers with understandable information on the setup, maintenance, operation and continual use of the products manufactured. These manuals may cover anything from electrical gifts, children's toys, industrial goods to watches and cooking equipment. If they are poorly written, or not at all provided, there will be an increase in the number of calls to the company from users who want to find out how the products are used. There is also a likelihood of complaints being high. It then pays to give a technical manual which is well written for every product.

When writing technical manuals, start by interviewing the SMEs (subject matter experts) to get the real picture behind their products. As they explain technically how the product functions, let them explain what specific features mean to the consumer. Every consumer buys a technical item to enable them do something more easily. Through your manual, they should be helped to use their equipment to meet that need. They are not so concerned about the advanced details behind the creation of the equipment.

Explain the problem that is getting solved. Many technical manuals have pages and pages of information explaining about each technical product feature. They end up neglecting to explain the need for consumers to use those features. Clearly spell out why consumers should care about specific features.

Make sure your writing helps consumers to accomplish an activity. The explanations should be short and simple. Include illustrations in the technical manual. Remember that at the end of the day, the most important thing for people is not to read manuals but to be able to use the products as a means to an end.

Edit your manual. Remove any overly technical or verbose solutions. Ensure your writing is simple, clear and easy to understand. Let a colleague or a friend who has not experienced the product run through your manual. Let him do the steps required and ask if they are easy to follow.

Visit our website for more information on Technical manuals

Source: EzineArticles
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