Technical Writing Examples: Create Engaging User-Centered Manuals

User manuals play a crucial role in supporting customers to understand products and processes effectively. Whether it’s a complex machinery or a simple consumer electronic, a user-centered manual is essential for every business sector. In this article, we will explore various technical writing examples that can help you create clear and engaging user manuals. So, let’s dive in!

How technical writing examples can help

Technical writing is all about sharing technical information with those who need to learn about a specific subject. It’s often used in fields like robotics, chemistry, electronics, and engineering to provide instructions on operating machines, technology, or conducting experiments. To assist writers in creating manuals or textbooks, technical writing examples are a valuable resource.

These examples help users establish a good flow, tone, and structure for their documents. They also provide guidance on the information that should be included in a manual. By learning from these examples, writers can enhance their technical writing skills and create impressive user manuals.

What are good technical writing examples?

Good technical writing is tailored to achieve specific goals. It depends on what the writer wants to accomplish, such as documenting product usage, explaining rules and regulations, or teaching users specific tasks. A good technical writing example considers the intended purpose, conducts thorough research, and helps users understand and complete tasks effectively.

Technical writing examples for organizing your content

Organizing content in a user-friendly way is a challenge in creating user manuals. To ensure users can easily find the information they need, it’s essential to identify the most important details and structure the manual accordingly. This saves customers’ time and enhances their problem-solving experience.

Examples of questions to ask yourself about the user

Before starting to work on your product manual, it’s crucial to understand your target audience. To gain insight into your users, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What are the age, gender, education, and background of my customers?
  • What languages do they speak?
  • What technical experience, qualifications, knowledge, or skills do they have?
  • Do they work under stress?
  • What tasks do the users of my guide need to complete?
  • Why and how frequently are those tasks being carried out?
  • In what environment will the product be used?
  • Will it be used professionally, commercially, or privately?
  • Does the user have access to the Internet?
  • Do my customers need alternative guides (e.g., for vision disabilities)?

Answering these questions helps you write consistently and better serve your customers’ needs.

Examples of questions to ask yourself about the product

To create an easy-to-follow manual, you must have a comprehensive understanding of the product you are writing about. Testing the product yourself is the best way to gain familiarity. Perform installations, interact with different buttons, and identify signals to build a complete picture of the product.

After gaining hands-on experience with the product, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the purpose of the product?
  • What are the names of the most important parts?
  • What are the transportation and storage requirements?
  • How should the machinery be delivered to the user?
  • How to install the product and make it ready to use?
  • How to use the machinery and change its settings?
  • What are the maintenance requirements and how to repair the machinery?
  • What are the possible issues and how to handle them?
  • How to dismantle and dispose of the machinery?
  • Does the product include any details about spare parts?
  • What are the main technical specifications?

Consulting subject-matter experts and knowledgeable people involved in product development can provide valuable insights into how everything works.

Examples for the table of contents

Once you have a thorough understanding of your product and users, you can create a well-structured table of contents. Breaking down the gathered information into separate chunks helps users navigate the manual effectively. For example, the table of contents for a Roof Washer can include sections like checking delivery contents, preparing the mobile platform, preparing the roof washer, and various adjustments.

The table of contents provides users with an overview of possible problems and helps them find solutions quickly. For more table of contents examples, refer to the images below:

Basic table of contents
Example of a very basic table of contents, according to the IEC/IEEE 82079 standard.

Table of contents of the SpeedComfort
Example of the table of contents of the SpeedComfort, an electronic device.

Table of contents of the Roof Washer
The table of contents of the above-mentioned Roof Washer (machinery).

Table of contents of Vogel's Products
The table of contents of the online user manuals created for Vogel’s Products.

Table of contents of Royal Smeva
The table of contents of the online user manuals created for Royal Smeva.

Technical writing examples for writing clear texts

Writing clear instructions is a key aspect of technical writing. To achieve clarity, you need to organize information into logical sections, use precise language, and provide examples when necessary. Let’s explore some examples of clear instructions and other important aspects of writing clear texts.

An example of the intended user description

Once you have identified your target users, you can introduce them in your manual. For example:

“These instructions are intended for the end-users of [insert machinery name]. The end-users who directly interact with the machinery can be, but are not limited to:

  • An installer
  • Maintenance personnel or technicians
  • Operators
  • Dismantling personnel

The machinery can only be used by authorized individuals with the required skills and qualifications. Users should have:

  • Closely read and clearly understood this manual
  • Some experience operating similar machinery
  • Knowledge about controlling this machinery
  • Awareness of all possible dangers and act accordingly to avoid them
  • Training to work in [insert field name]
  • Necessary licenses, if applicable”

Examples of topic-based authoring

Topic-based authoring is a modular approach to content creation. Each topic has a clear purpose, focuses on one subject, and does not require external context to understand. It helps organize information effectively and allows for the reuse of content across different contexts.

Example of topic-based writing

Examples of clear instructions

Clear instructions are crucial for helping users understand how to use a product. They should be organized into logical sections, use precise language, and provide step-by-step guidance. Here are some examples:

A clear instruction

Technical writing example of clear instructions with an active voice

Technical writing example of clear instructions

Examples of the principles of Minimalism

Minimalism in technical communication is a user-centered approach that focuses on providing better user support. It consists of four principles:

  • Selective content: Only include essential information.
  • Task-based information: Focus on helping users complete specific tasks.
  • Consistency: Maintain consistency in language, style, and organization.
  • Comprehensibility: Use clear and simple language to enhance understanding.

Technical writing example 1 principles of Minimalism

Technical writing example 2 according to the principles of Minimalism

Technical writing example 3 according to the principles of Minimalism

Examples of Simplified Technical English

Simplified Technical English is a controlled language that provides a standardized subset of English. It was initially developed for the aerospace industry and is now used by various industries for their documentation. This language simplifies technical information, making it easier for users to understand.

Examples of approved words in the STE dictionary

How the word 'oil' can be used according to STE

An example of some of the STE writing rules

Technical writing examples of information types

Information for use is typically divided into three types: instructional information, conceptual information, and reference information. Each type serves a specific purpose and should be consistently formatted and presented throughout the manual.

Examples of different information products output and information types

Example of three different information types

Examples of safety messages

Safety messages are crucial for preventing injury, promoting safe product usage, and ensuring legal compliance. These messages should address potential hazards, their sources, consequences of non-compliance, and the best ways to avoid/minimize them.

A well-structured safety message

Examples of directional safety messages

Directional safety messages provide guidance on the direction in which a certain action should be performed. They are essential for ensuring users correctly operate or move a product.

Example retaining information, which is a directional safety message

Examples of general safety messages

General safety messages consist of rules that maintain the safety of individuals using a product. They often include visuals, slogans, and use simple and direct language.

Example of general safety messages

Examples of sectional safety messages

Sectional safety messages are placed at the start of specific sections in a user manual. They address the safety features and considerations related to a particular element or segment of the product.

Example of sectional safety messages

Examples of embedded safety messages

Embedded safety messages are warnings or safety instructions that are placed within specific steps or actions. They ensure users are aware of potential risks before proceeding.

Example of an embedded safety message

Technical writing examples for creating distinct visuals

Visuals are an essential part of user manuals. They break up text passages, provide clear demonstrations, and make the manual more engaging. Let’s explore different types of visuals and how they enhance user manuals.

Examples of visuals

Visuals are an effective way to convey information quickly and clearly. They help users understand the product and its usage without relying solely on text. Visuals can include pictures, illustrations, diagrams, charts, and more.

Technical writing example of a line illustration

Technical writing example of a line illustration

Examples of product photos

Photos can provide users with a real-life representation of the product. They can be professional shots or snapshots, depending on the context.

Example of product photos

Examples of screen captures

Screen captures are especially useful for software products. They visually demonstrate how to navigate and interact with the software.

Technical writing example

Examples of video instructions

Videos are a valuable resource for complex products or tasks. They provide step-by-step visual guidance, making it easier for users to understand and follow instructions.

Example of a video instruction for Quooker

A video that we created for

A video instruction for Vogel's products

Example of video safety instructions by Virgin America

Examples of infographics

Infographics can condense a lot of information into a visually appealing format. They are particularly useful for presenting complex concepts or comparisons.

Example of an infographic

Examples of tables

Tables are a great way to present technical or verbal data concisely. They save readers’ time by replacing text with a structured format.

Technical writing example of use of a table

Examples of charts and graphics

Charts and graphics are useful for showing patterns, creating overviews, and demonstrating relationships between different elements.

Technical writing example of a chart

Examples of symbols and icons

Symbols and icons can enhance user manuals, especially for users who understand visual information better than text. They help convey information in a concise and recognizable way.

Example ISO 7010 symbols

User manuals play a vital role in providing clear instructions and support to customers. By utilizing these technical writing examples, you can create user-centered manuals that effectively serve your audience’s needs. Remember to organize your content, write clear instructions, and enhance the manual with visuals to make it more engaging and user-friendly.

To learn more about creating impressive user manuals, visit Zenith City News.

Now, armed with these technical writing examples, you can confidently create user manuals that will delight your customers and provide them with all the information they need!