Whatever your product (even one very simple!), it should come with an instruction manual. Not everyone knows the ins-and-outs of your product like you and your team, so clear and concise instructions will help the customer make the most out of their new gadget!
How, exactly, do you create a great instruction manual? It may seem an easy task, but there are a lot of elements to make sure it lives up to the success of the product itself. A well-structured instruction manual is an integral part of your products’ continued success. Everything counts – from the design and layout to the print and quality.
Below are a few tips to get you started…
Plan, plan, plan!
Start planning as early as possible to make sure your manual is successful. Note down every step and record every problem, no matter how minor, that could possibly crop up for your customers in the future. Ask yourself questions about the end user – what describes them? What is their age? What tasks will they need to perform with your product? What language do/could they speak? Is the product used professionally, privately, or commercially? With these in mind, you will be able to create a manual that is tailored to your audience.
Keep it simple
You and your colleagues may talk about the product, the set up and the potential problems in what could be seen as jargon and slang that only your company is familiar with. It can be easy to transfer this to the instruction manual, and your customers may not be able to fully comprehend it.
Imagine your customer has absolutely zero knowledge of the product and you are describing it to them from scratch… Keep the language plain, include step-by-step instructions and make sure you have a table of contents so customers can find what they’re looking for easily and efficiently.
It’s all about the visuals
Everyone engages more with content when there is an image or a visual available. If a customer is in a rush or doesn’t want to read through the instructions, they should be able to look at an image or visual and get a good idea of what their next step should be. According to Shift eLearning, we can get the sense of a visual scene in less than 1/10 of a second. Don’t underestimate the value of visuals, as they could make your manual go from good, to great!
Have an online and a printed version
Nowadays, people expect to at least have the option to read an instruction manual online – but this shouldn’t replace a printed version. Instead, once you have your instruction manual finalised and ready to go, upload it onto your website as a PDF and approach quality booklet makers to take care of the physical version.
No matter how simple or explanatory you think your product might be, it’s pointless without an instruction manual. Appeal to different ways of learning and give your audience the options necessary to make the best choice for them.