User Manual Writing and Design
Whether you’re assembling an Ikea tray table, setting up a franchise outlet of a major chain, or using a new software program, manuals and user guides are an important part of the brand experience of any product or service. Lime’s writing and design service for guides and manuals delivers comprehensive, professional, and easy-to-follow manuals that impress your customers and users, turning them into brand advocates.
What makes for a great user manual?
People depend on user manuals to solve problems and fulfil objectives that go beyond the product or service they’re trying to use. A person referring to a doorbell intercom user manual isn’t just attempting to set a camera up; they’re trying to protect their home and family. Someone going through a handbook on how to train employees isn’t just looking to onboard new recruits; they’re aiming to manage a business.
Great user manuals are designed to make it as effortless and hassle-free as possible for the user to achieve their end goal. Here are some important factors that make for great user manuals:
- Deep insights into the reader, the product / service, and the relationship between the two. This includes understanding who the users are, what they know, what they may not know, what they may find confusing, and how they may use the product, including in unintended ways.
- A logical sequence of information, with categories and hierarchies that make sense from the user’s point of view.
- The use of simple language wherever possible, while ensuring that helpful explanations or definitions are available for all technical terms.
- Photographs, illustrations, or diagrams that are clear and easy to understand.
- Visual layout and typography that guides the reader’s eye, making important information on each page instantaneously noticeable.
- Safety warnings wherever relevant.
- User-friendly navigation, such as tabs, contents pages, index pages, and, in digital manuals, search features and helpful hyperlinks.
- Troubleshooting, maintenance, and repair information for users to diagnose and resolve foreseeable issues with the product.
- Real-world testing with users, to detect any areas of confusion and gain feedback and insights for improvements.
Can Lime help me create / recreate manuals for products with little or no original documentation?
Yes! Lime has often created guides and manuals for products that have little or no manufacturer-supplied information.
Common issues with many types of imported products, such as electronics, consumer appliances, toys, recreational items, and DIY kits, (to name a few) include:
- inadequate documentation
- product literature lacking the level of information expected by Australian consumers, or required by Australian safety and regulatory standards
- hard-to-comprehend instructions and illustrations, making for a frustrating post-purchase customer experience
- poor language, spelling, and grammar, or flimsy, low-quality paper, printing, and production, making your brand feel unprofessional
Lime’s team of writers, researchers, designers and UX experts can help you craft comprehensive and easy-to-use manuals that avoid all of these pitfalls, ensuring that your customers have a great experience with your products and brand.
Why should I choose Lime to craft user manuals for my products or services?
Over the years, we’ve worked with businesses of all sizes, in practically every industry. From preparing manuals for the International Cricket Council, Mazda, and Ford, to writing and designing documentation for internet startups, our breadth of experience allows us to understand and serve the unique needs of your brand and category. Here are a few key benefits to having Lime on your team:
Being a one-stop shop for all marketing communication needs – from logos, ads, and design audits, to websites and store signage – lets us stitch everything together, to provide multiplicative benefits. Our team’s hands-on experience with everything from web UX and UIs, to print production, allows us to deliver user manuals that elevate the brand experience for your customers.
Ever since Lime was founded in 2000, we’ve been based in Melbourne. Unlike many competitors, we don’t outsource work to low-quality overseas contractors, as we’d much rather keep things in Australia. For you, this means professional, reliable, on-time delivery.