Online manual creator is a must for your business!
Finalizing a new product after so much effort and many trials is an amazing success that brings excitement. You can’t wait to unveil your new design, go to market and make a go of it. But we understand how challenging this “unveiling” would be. It can decide the following two steps, “whether you go to market and make a go of it”. Moreover, this first presentation will be the base for your future updating presentations. So a loose, unstable base wouldn’t do the job, would it? Stay with to show you why an online manual creator is a must for your business.
You want or need to include many things to thoroughly introduce your product to the world outside and the next step; to increase your users’ satisfaction. You want to make your users aware of how cool your product is. And as well, you’re required to officially present it and let the users know how to make use of this product.
The following are probably some of your concerns you will need to address to make an excellent first presentation (unveiling):
You Need …
To give your users a proper introduction to your product
- What is it all about? What are its main characteristics? What problems it concerns and what solutions it offers?
- What features and functions make it different from other similar products or its predecessors?
To let your users know how to use it correctly
- How to get started with it? Is it assembled, or does it need a one-time installation?
- What are the requirements to get it started?
- Is there any potential danger they should be aware of before using it?
To help your users when something goes wrong
- How to fix some common errors?
- What might your users’ frequently asked questions be?
To briefly tell your users how to maintain the product
- How to hold the product when using it?
- How to keep the product when not used for a long time?
- Does it need regular attention and service?
To consider your product marketing
- How to give a good introduction?
- How to apply marketing strategies to this introduction?
To provide some official notices.
- You need to make official announcements to reassure the regulatory agencies that your product fully complies with the relevant requirements.
- You might want to declare some intellectual properties
So what is the solution to all of that?
A user manual is the only place you can address those concerns altogether and officially present your product to the world outside, including the regulatory agencies, your users, your future customers, and even your new employees like salespeople.
Product documentation or writing a user manual is the first step to go to market.
No matter how simple it may seem, any product, be it a physical one, a service, software, or SaaS, needs its own documentation.
While there are many places to gradually introduce and advertise different features of your product, a thorough yet brief presentation can only take place in your product manual, where you can include all those concerns in one place. You will never get a chance like this, moreover, in many cases having a user manual is legally required.
So why not get the best out of it?
Let your users learn all about your product, teach them how to use the it, and troubleshoot. So not only does it help you stay out of legal troubles, but it is practically beneficial to your users and your business and marketing.
This is how you save your business a lot of time by avoiding answering too many repetitive questions while getting a chance to use this comprehensive documentation to apply your marketing strategies.
Not having a good manual or creating a poor one could seriously damage your business. In contrast, a professional user manual brings you and your users a win-win situation that promises a more prosperous business with happier users.
Everything you ever wanted to create an online manual.
Making sure your user manual is accessible to your users is the next step.
The accessibility of a user manual is crucial. Well, that’s simple; it loses the whole point if the users can’t access the manual written for them.
You need to make sure that your product manual will reach out to the biggest circle of your audience; we can mainly categorize them as the (present) buyers, potential customers, and the existing users.
Or else you won’t get neither the user satisfaction you expect nor the proper introduction, no matter how hard you try to create a perfect user manual.
What makes user manuals not accessible?
User manuals are usually delivered to the buyers of a product when they make a purchase.
But they won’t be easily accessible to all this way. So it doesn’t exactly unveil your product to a big audience and fulfill all manual’s potential. Let’s see why?
Potential customers usually don’t have access to user manuals
Besides the product users, many potential customers would be happy to know about your product to make their final decision about buying it.
A brief introduction to the technical points of your new product and the highlight of its advanced features can help a lot with deciding to choose a product over another.
But user manuals are not always accessible to the potential customers (not before they buy the product).
Existing users rarely have access to the updated versions of the user manuals
Writing a user manual is a continuous process. Improvements and updates always occur with the product documentation.
However, your former customers, who already purchased and received a manual, would find it hard to access the updated versions of your manuals.
Delivering the user manual to the buyers of a product is not the solution
You may think that at least all the buyers of your product have good access to your manuals if you deliver them when they make a purchase. But that’s not necessarily true.
Those who already bought your product may look at your manual to get an idea about their new purchase, which is good. But of course, they won’t memorize everything about it. They usually need to refer to a user manual when they face a problem.
They want to know how to fix an error, use a specific feature, or even get it installed. It’s not like you always assemble and install a new product just the day you buy it. So will all users have access to the manuals when they actually need them? From personal experience, I don’t think so. Take the following cases for instance.
Some users don’t save the user manuals for a rainy day
As all questions regarding a product may not arise on the very first day, many users get rid of your precious manual booklet inadvertently just along with the product’s package.
That’s a pity. You’ve probably put a lot of effort, but they didn’t even get to the good parts. And when the day comes, they desperately look for help.
The help you already included in the manual they threw away. How disappointing; another call to your customer service, the same questions.
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The keepers don’t always have the manuals with them at the right time
Ok, but not all buyers are like that. Some are aware of the value of user manuals and never throw them away. They keep all manuals in a closet to feel safe. But chances are they don’t have the manual with them when they need it.
Imagine you bought a new camping tent, a fishing rod, a portable shower, or something like that. Unless you got a fancy pond in your backyard, or a river flowing right at your door, you’ll need your fishing rod or even other camping tools when you go out, probably to the countryside to enjoy yourself. And to set up your camping stuff you may need a manual.
Well, you’re pretty sure you’ve got them all. But there’s a small problem; they’re just in the closet, at home, safe and sound, together with other manuals. Aww, bummer.
Even the most cautious users may not find what they’re looking for
Your wife may be more cautious. She’s got the manual with her. Still, it’s a little tricky to find what you’re looking for. The titles don’t exactly sound like what you want. Either you can’t find the words you’re looking for, or they’re completely useless.
You probably end up calling the customer service or getting together with your friends and set the tent as you think sound OK. You might end up hiding the two extra sticks that don’t seem to be matching anywhere.
Well, that doesn’t seem quite safe. You wish you could search for a query and, just like that, find what you need.
So even those who pile up everything for a day to come may not simply find what they’re looking for or have it with them.
Online manuals enormously improve accessibility and cut down on paper use.
Yes, an online manual, handy, available to everyone and everywhere, accessible to search for a specific word, probably with the option to feedback and add your questions if they already haven’t been addressed, can do magic. Access it with your phone, tablet, or laptop and save it as a PDF in case the internet connection sounds crazy.
Online manuals may also help cut down on paper use and contribute to saving our environment.
But what does it take to deliver a perfect user manual online?
Creating a user manual is neither a one-step nor a one-person job. It must meet numerous standards, including technical correctness, readability, writing style, format and structure, user accessibility, marketing goals, etc.
Obviously, experts from different fields need to collaborate to make this happen. The product manager, manufacturer, technical writers, subject-matter experts, the technical team, translators and localizers, marketing managers, and testers are usually engaged in finalizing a user manual. And of course, end-users are the last who interact with the user manual but are the ultimate target and can even contribute to improving it.
Such documentation for sure has to go through many steps such as planning and scheduling, writing a technical brief, drafting, editing, reviewing, publishing, and continuous improvement. Yet each team involved might face some challenges.
What are the challenges of writing a quality user manual?
Technical Writers challenges
Technical writers write the main body of user manuals. They translate complex and technical concepts into plain language. Based on the company size and policy, technical writers may have other responsibilities too, be only in charge of writing, or work as freelancers for different clients.
In either case, they usually need other members collaboration to write a useful guide. As a technical writer you may face the following challenges and needs.
- Close collaboration with the technical team to make sure you understand and learn everything.
- You need a powerful platform to create rich text, edit, and share with other experts. Outdated writing tools are usually a pain in the neck..
- You constantly need expert opinion and need everyone in one place (tired of sharing and waiting)
- You need great fillers, which can be called templates and samples in this context, to get rid of the writer’s blackness attack.
- You need an advanced tool to easily handle versions and updates
- You need to make your guide engaging using images and videos
- Keeping up with the last-minute changes to the product
- You need information about the target audience to write a practical guide so you probably need to keep in touch with:
- the marketing team to learn about the marketing persona
- the customer service to learn about users’ frequently asked questions and problems
- And ideally with testers and the end-users themselves
- Overcoming inconsistency and disorganized structure in documentation (When a guide is written by several people in different stages)
- Make sure the text is written in plain language with standard readability
Subject matter experts/technical team challenges
As the subject matter expert, you are directly or indirectly involved in the design and developing the product. You have the subject knowledge and are aware of the product’s requirement, its basic and advanced features, probable errors, maintenance, etc.
You may be asked to teach the product to other members of the company, write a brief draft about the product, or even write the whole process and product documentation. You probably want to leave the extensive writing to the technical writers but still have some concerns:
- You need to make sure the product documentation is technically correct and probably need to proofread and comment on some parts.
- You need to make the writers aware of the advanced features they might have missed.
- You need to answer the writers (Users’) questions
- You need translation machine to speed up translation
- Make sure every topic is translated
- You need to keep up with changes and updates
- You need close collaboration with the original writer
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Marketing specialists concerns
As a marketing manager you’re tend to get the best out of every chance to apply the marketing strategies. A user manual is another document of your company where you would like to:
- Reflect the company’s branding and style
- Apply SEO strategies
The product manager/manufacturer’s concerns
As a product manager you need to make sure that writing the manual is overally going well to meet all requirements and be accessible to users. This may include the following challenges:
- Get everyone together, from technical experts to technical writers, editors, marketing specialists, translators, testers, etc.
- Coordinate with the group (staff from different departments) and make sure they’re efficiently collaborating
- Deal with each group’s needs.
- Make sure the manual is appropriately delivered to your users and is easily and widely accessible
- Collect real users’ feedback
- Update your guide based on end-users comments
- Make sure your online manual is published in the correct format and matches the users operating system
End-users challenges when it comes to using a guide
As a user of a product you may have some normal expectations from a user manual but in many caces they have become like a big concern.
A user want to:
- Find the user manual easily accessible
- Find it literally helpful
- Be able to search for different problems they face
- Be able to add and ask a question, feedback on the guide, and contribute to its improvement
Use an online manual creator particularly designed for this purpose!
Using online documentation tools helps you overcome many of your writing challenges. However, tools that are designed to create online manual are particularly developed to address manual-related issues.
Why is Sonat your ultimate Online Manual Creator solution?
Sonat is an online manual creator that has been developed and is constantly improved to help with creating user manuals from A to Z.
Sonat facilitates collaborative writing, and helps with meeting the standards, while also having your end-users in mind to deliver a guide that is of high quality, easily accessible, and continuously updated.
Sonat tries to fix the broken feedback loop on the content by getting users engaged in the creation and improvement of the user guides. While Sonat focuses on accessibility, it also provides methods to restrict access if you are developing internal manuals or knowledge bases or private manuals for a particular group.
Sonat provides you with a powerful yet easy-to-use rich text editor where no technical skill is needed to do the writing job. Moreover, Sonat quality checkers make meeting readability and SEO standards super easy without needing a third-party application and reduce the pressure on the editors.
Sonat facilitates collaboration between writers and translators where its smart translation machine also helps with faster, and less expensive translation and reaching worldwide users.
At Sonat, you’ll be equipped with features to save time and money, reduce the pressure on your team, impress your users, and ensure user satisfaction.
We try to make documentation as easy as possible, addressing all above-mentioned concerns regarding writing a manual and much more. Don’t forget to visit our feature page to see a full list of ways Sonat can help you achieve your goals.
If you’re not sure how Sonat can help you with your business, don’t hesitate to ask us.