Better Instructions make Happier Customers
The best products can be crippled without good Manual writing. If customers can’t understand your user guide they won’t understand how to get the best from what you’re selling. If they don’t get the best from what you’re selling you may not sell them anything again.
The TIKS team members are experts in user manual writing and illustration. Whether hardware or software, business to business or mass consumer, our team knows how to translate engineer-speak into plain English (or plain Spanish, Mandarin, French or any language our clients need).
As the name implies, user guides are written to help people understand a software application or IT system. They are also called User Manuals. When writing a user guide we use simple language with short sentences. This writing style helps the user understand the application.
Don’t describe ‘what’, explain ‘how’.
Too much user guide writing and product manual authoring focuses on boring and oftentimes irrelevant descriptions detailing the obvious basics of software or hardware. Users want to know how to get the tasks done quickly and effectively, not a list of menu item descriptions. We put that in the index.
Well-Written User Guides make it easy for readers to find the procedures they’re interested in, then follow the step-by-step instructions for getting practical jobs done successfully the first time.
TIKS’ graphic design specialists help information to flow off the page.
Instant access for all stakeholders
Instant dissemination of new information
Procedural consistency across all locations
Lower costs for support
Improved productivity through better informed workforce
Seeing a page for the first time, whether on-screen or print, the human eye doesn’t read, it scans. Careful placement of key elements helps the reader to anchor their focus, and start to absorb information faster and in the correct order.
Graphics should illustrate, not just decorate
If a picture speaks a thousand words then pictures are the best way to communicate some ideas. TIKS’ team includes technical illustrators able to depict product design features and usage procedures more clearly than words alone.
Far from being cold, labeled blueprints, technical illustrations can help users engage with a product’s brand values as well as unlock its performance potential.
Research and Writing Styles
Our research gives us better understanding. Our writing gives users better understanding.
First, we do our homework.
Technical Authoring starts with research. A lot of research. We gather information from all available sources so that we understand your products and services inside out. Only then can we work out the best way to help users understand. Our research includes:
Full onsite induction to your products and services
Working copy of your product for us to learn from directly
Copies of any existing technical materials
Ongoing discussions with a designated Subject Matter Expert (SME) from your staff
Profiling target user audience and level of expertise
Writing technical guides is a matter of skill, judgment and the application of proven techniques. Writing style may vary depending on target audience and subject matter, but some core principles stay the same:
Be brief, because shorter sentences are easier to follow.
Break the task down into small, easy steps.
Be practical, as well as theoretical. Back up easy to follow instructions with high-level explanations to build user insight.