How user manuals can create a great first impression
Often, when people are using a new product, there is a temptation to ‘just get on with it’ and set about trying the product without consulting any accompanying instruction manual or user guide.
Some users may consider the user guide as either unnecessary or simply just too difficult to follow!
In order to encourage new users of your product to consult the user guide, you need to ensure that your instruction manual is attractive and enticing – it must make a positive first impression!
When undertaking your manual printing here are some useful guidelines:
General guidelines for user manuals
First and foremost, here are some generic points to consider and follow when creating user guides or instruction manuals:
- Ensure what you produce is a ‘real’, physical instruction manual to accompany your product – people want something tangible and separate – do not make people read a PDF!
- Ensure the instructions are complete and are relevant to the product in every aspect.
- Provide your customers with a simple, single page “quick start” guide.
- Ensure all your instructions are brief, orderly and delivered in a step-by-step procedure.
- Be concise – avoid issuing just instruction on how to use each function – inform the users what functions there are and what they are for.
- Construct your user guides in conjunction with the development of the product – not as an ‘addition’ written after the event.
- In keeping with the previous point, ensure that the writers of the instruction manuals are also part of the product design team.
- Test out the product and the accompanying user guide with genuine end-users.
- Consider potential disabled users – provide alternative, more appropriate manuals where relevant.
Creating A Great First Impression
- Try not to make it look like a textbook – a landscape format can appear less daunting.
- Use quality paper – the paper your instruction manuals are printed on should reflect he quality of your product – ensure you use high quality materials.
- Colour always helps highlight detail and is attractive to the reader – use colour effectively and make it meaningful.
- Consider the size of your user guide – do not make it too heavy or big – that can appear daunting to a user and discourage them from exploring its’ content. Similarly, do not make the instruction manual too small or insubstantial – it must carry some importance and gravitas to appear of high quality and use.
- Use visuals – effective use of pictures and diagrams always offer simpler guidance and understanding for your users to follow.
- Provide white space – this gives the pages a more attractive and readable appearance.
- Use an attractive font – some ‘fancy’ fonts can be a distraction and more difficult to read – use a clean, easy-to-read san-serif font.
- Include support option – providing a help-line number is always useful and gives the user a sense of safety and comfort if they are to encounter difficulties in using the product.
We are an all round UK book manufacturing and printing service. We work closely with publishers, self publishers and authors. We have a state of the art factory, complemented by our sales and marketing office in Westoning, Bedfordshire. We have invested in the very latest digital and litho printing technology, to integrate with a fully equipped craftsman bindery. The conclusion of which means we are offering both softback and hardback books, to a very high standard of quality.
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