Excellent Technical Writing: Make Your Product Fit

Most product documentation sounds like their item is the only factor in the User’s life. Such considering outcomes in User confusion and dissatisfaction. This report presents 3 true-life examples of this attitude, and what ought to be accomplished to remedy these unfortunate conditions. The post concludes with some methods for the writer.

BACKGROUND

There are two essential details that User Documentation ignores:

1. Your product is a only minor item in your …

OVERVIEW

Most product documentation sounds like their item is the only factor in the User’s life. Such considering final results in User confusion and dissatisfaction. This write-up presents three real-life examples of this attitude, and what should be done to remedy these unfortunate scenarios. The report concludes with some strategies for the writer.

BACKGROUND

There are two critical facts that User Documentation ignores:

1. Your item is a only minor item in your User’s life

2. Your User Documentation should support fit your product into the User’s life

User Documentation that is written with awareness of these facts final results in a greater user expertise. Right here are three examples of where the writers (often incorrectly) believed that their product was the only thing in the User’s life.

Example 1: Shoe Cleaner/Protector

Most individuals know about polishing and probably cleaning their leather shoes. This cleaner/protector item is meant to clean, safeguard and shine shoes. The instructions simply inform the User how to apply the item.

What the User is Employed to: I polish my shoes with typical wax (or liquid) shoe polish.

The Difficulty: If a User desires to polish his/her shoes as effectively as use your cleaner/protector, then what order ought to the polish and the cleaner/protector be used? The directions merely inform the User how to apply the cleaner/protector. It’s like the cleaner/protector is the only shoe item in existence.

Attainable Solutions: The the cleaner/protector directions could say (as proper):

* Use the cleaner/protector as an alternative of your standard shoe polish.

* Use the cleaner/protector right after you polish the shoes with your standard shoe polish.

* For a deluxe shoe treatment, use the cleaner/protector 1st on the shoes. Wait a few minutes, then wipe off any excess with a clean cloth. Then polish the shoes employing your typical shoe polish, in the usual way. Lastly, use the cleaner/protector once again, but do not wipe it off.

These would make for considerably a lot more productive instructions, and they could easily fit on the package.

Instance 2: DVD Player did not realize that I had a VCR

People buying a DVD player a couple of years ago had been in the following predicament. They had a VCR connected to the single video input of their Tv. DVD players’ directions described how to connect the player to a Tv making use of a video input. The instructions ignored the scenario of how to connect the player if there currently was a VCR connected to the Television ‘s only video input.

What the User is Employed to: The VCR is connected to the only video input of my old tv.

The Difficulty: My new DVD player wants to be connected to the TV’s only video input. Do I have to buy a switch or manually switch the DVD player and VCR?

Solution: The writer really should give some suggestions or directions how to set up the DVD player in the customer’s true-life predicament. These instructions may contain how to connect the DVD video by means of the VCR. Or connecting the DVD to the TV’s video input, and connecting the antenna of the VCR to the antenna input of the Television. Both devices can be connected with no want to buy extra parts. The guidelines should mention how. It would enhance the User’s knowledge in setting up the new device. (The directions must also mention that these techniques of connecting the devices would yield a less than optimal image.)

Example 3: A two in 1 Shampoo and Conditioner Product

A User normally shampoos his/her hair and then could use a separate conditioner item. He/she just purchased your item, a 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner. It has no directions.

What the User is Employed to: A shampoo is used on the hair and quickly rinsed. A conditioner gets left in the hair for a few minutes, then rinsed.

The Problem: Does this two in 1 item get left in the hair, or does it get rinsed out instantly?

The Remedy: Supply appropriate guidelines on the package. Or, if it does not matter how long the 2 in 1 product gets left in the hair, then say so. Do not leave the User guessing. If the User wanted to guess about one thing, then they would be reading a novel, not your User Documentation.

BOTTOM LINE: What to Do for Your Documentation

Examine your item in the light of how it will modify the way that the User at present does things. How will it fit into the User’s life? How does the product fit with other merchandise your User employs?

Make confident that your User Documentation aids the User to properly fit the item into his/her life. By ignoring the reality of your User’s situation, you are forcing him/her to resolve problems that you could easily resolve. If you provide the options, then you will generate a greater item knowledge for your User.

Fitting the product into the User’s life presents the writer with a duty and an chance:

* The duty to ease the User from what he/she previously did to the new product’s circumstance

* The opportunity to explain your item by utilizing the User’s encounter as a background.

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