How to Write a Service Manual Like a Pro
Normally engineers or technicians use a service manual whenever there is a routine management or there are breakdowns that need to be fixed. In a latest USA Today survey, the readers were asked about which technological things often confuse them more and the answer was user manuals. Necessarily a service manual should be easy to handle so that it should not be too big or too small. It should give a good impression and give the user an easy time in using it. Design your service manual in a way that will improve its usability by the public.
Here is the systematic order of how you can go about producing a faultless service manual:
- Identify the goal of the manual
Most of the equipment described in the service manual always has complex terms used to describe the whole process and this a reason you should know exactly what you need to cover in the manual. Starting from point zero where you assume the intended audience has no idea and no knowledge of the topic in consideration will help. In the beginning, it might help including a quick start guide that will inform the user of the things that need to be covered so they can be mentally prepared.
Enlist the functions by describing what they are and including the information about what they are and how they can be applied to avoid confusing the user. To identify the objective of the manual, you must have a thorough knowledge of the processes involved. This will make sure that you give clear instructions that will satisfy your clients and avoid complaint cases and negative feedback to your company.
- Make it comprehensible
When writing a manual use simple language to make the instructions easy to read and understandable. Provide a physical manual in a sense that you include the product under description and not just a text; pictures will improve clarity and empathy. Including lists and a table of content gives the clients a notion that the instructions actually are in line with the product and every detail is included.
Do not rush in completing the service manual; take your time to write it in sync with the product’s development timeline, in case there are modifications then you should include the details in the manual. Make your manual an up-to-date one. As you write your manual, keep in mind that your audience might include people with special needs, there might be those that are colour blind or have a low vision, blind, therefore, alternative manuals that will take care of such people should also be available.
Provide an audio or a braille manual for the blind, including videos if necessary and use the right font size. Consider using the present tense and write in the active voice rather than the passive voice.
- Make it brief
Do not overdo it by explaining everything too much just because you have the knowledge of everything concerning the product. Just write what the client needs to know and avoid lengthy paragraphs.
- Carry out a usability test of the manual
At the end of the day, a service manual has to fulfil its objective of helping the user; you can ensure this by giving it to someone who does not have any idea of the processes described so that they can go through the manual and give you the feedback. This will determine whether the manual is ready to be used or needs some modifications.
- Enhance its readability
The service manual has to be designed in a way that it can be used under whatever circumstances. Ensure that the font size is adequate and the font colour. Avoid using multiple font styles and just stick to one or two. The high text-to-background should be right and black and white is the recommended one. Avoid frustrating the users and use the right colour, shading and emboldening. Make it easy for the users to find what they are looking for in the manual. Explain the codes and symbols or icons included in the manual and most importantly, make sure the instructions exactly match the product.
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