Advice and best practices for writing SOPs, training for product launch, outsourcing technical documentation, and more.

6 Tips for Creating Product Documentation That Talks to Your Customer

The days of pushing pages and pages of product information on your customers are over. Today’s end users are smart, tech savvy, and connected. Instead of static PDFs, they want searchable data that they can access on-demand via their laptop, iPad, tablet or mobile device.


Today’s end-user typically exhibits these characteristics and behaviors:

  • Uses mobile devices
  • Hates long manuals
  • In a hurry
  • Frustrated and impatient
  • Skims to locate information
  • Wants quick results

Learn to Speak Your Customer’s Language

The most-used product documentation talks to customers in their own language. Don’t use jargon that would be unfamiliar to your audience; confirm the appropriate terminology to be used up front. Keep writing clear and concise.

Present documentation in a format or formats that are most easily consumed by your audience. For example, if you know that the majority of your end users are visual learners, develop a 2-3 minute video tutorial that demonstrates how to use the product or perform a task.

Designing for the end user allows you to work smarter. By working smarter, you’ll be able to reduce documentation costs, thereby increasing product value.

Equip Your Sales and Marketing Teams with Documentation

Product documentation can also serve as an important sales and marketing tool. Medical equipment companies often market their products directly to the physicians who use them. If the materials provided by the sales rep aid and enhance the physician’s experience using the product, the physician will be more likely to recommend your product to other physicians as well as to the hospital that makes the ultimate purchase decision. Making sure your salespeople have access to and are using your documentation therefore maximizes your ROI.

6 Tips for Creating Meaningful Product Documentation

The following tips can help you optimize your product documentation for your end user.

  1. Identify your audience before you start writing. Know who you’re writing for and how he or she will be using your product documentation.
  2. Choose a delivery method that best meets the needs of the end user. Present documentation in a way that is easy to use, enhances the user’s product experience, and reduces the need for service calls.
  3. Use a visually-appealing format. Well designed, easy-to-use learning and reference materials will make your product and company stand out. When designing text, include informative headings to draw the user’s attention to specific topics. Break up the information into short segments for easy understanding. Use graphics and tables to support the text.
  4. Write the way you speak, and use personal pronouns.When users feel that you are talking to them, they tend to learn quicker.
  5. Keep sentences short and to the point. Cover only one subject in each paragraph. Keep paragraphs under 12 lines with an average sentence length of 20 words.
  6. Test your documentation. As part of the review and approval process, make sure all product documentation adheres to relevant regulations and standards.

To learn more about creating a useful documentation strategy…

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Managing Technical Documentation

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If your customers require product knowledge on demand, consider outsourcing your documentation development to a technical writing services firm that specializes in your industry. Novatek uses its unique strategy to reduce risk and cost, and to improve the quality of your product and process documentation.

Topics: outsourcing, technical writing services, documentation, product documentation