Writing a user manual is not easy, given that it is technical writing. But more than that, it takes a good writer to be able to construct a user manual that is informative and easy to read all at the same time.
Let’s say you are about to write one of those TP-Link manuals, here are the tips on how to write a good one.
Put yourself in the shoes of the user
First and foremost, think like a user. Put yourself in the position of your reader so you would understand what kind of information they need to know from the manual. Knowing how users think will allow you to get a good grasp of what knowledge they already have and their background on the product. To do so, you can take time to observe users using the product. When you can see firsthand on how they interact with the product, you will know what more they have to learn.
We cannot stress this enough but make sure to write instructions clearly. The main goal of the user manual is to assist the users in completing tasks and figuring out how the whole process or product works. To write clearly, remember the following:
- Use numbered lists and bullets
- Parallel instructions
- Use imperative words
- Do not include system responses
- Omit unnecessary information
Go with the active voice
Last but not the least, always write in the active voice instead of the passive voice. The active voice makes the text easier to understand because it puts emphasis on the user’s perspective. Plus, in the active voice, the sentences are simple and clear. On the other hand, the passive voice makes the instructions complicated and confusing. We definitely do not want the users to just end up even more confused after reading the user manual.