Great Technical Writing: Make Your Product Fit

| Total Words: 850

OVERVIEW

Most product documentation sounds like their product is the only thing in the User’s life. Such thinking results in User confusion and dissatisfaction. This article presents three real-life examples of this attitude, and what should be done to remedy these unfortunate situations. The article concludes with some techniques for the writer.

BACKGROUND

There are two important facts that User Documentation ignores:

1. Your product is a only minor item in your User’s life

2. Your User Documentation must help fit your product into the User’s life

User Documentation that is written with awareness of these facts results in a better user experience. Here are three examples of where the writers (always incorrectly) thought that their product was the only thing in the User’s life.

EXAMPLE 1: Shoe Cleaner/Protector

Most people know about polishing and perhaps cleaning their leather shoes. This cleaner/protector product is meant to clean, protect and shine shoes. The instructions simply tell the User how to apply the product.

What the User is Used to: I polish my shoes with regular wax (or liquid)...

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