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15 March, 2021

An introduction to user documentation

By: Lana Bawa'neh

In this modern time, people always look to the latest technological devices and solutions that can make their lives easier. When purchasing any piece of technology, people will immediately look for any kind of instructions that shall guide them through their installation, set-up, and even how to use the device. Whether it is a new mobile phone or a new washing machine, people will always seek fast and immediate support, training, and assistance.

The need for guidance is not limited to hardware but also includes software. User documentation is very important to be included in any software system. It is like a bank of knowledge that people can refer to in order to gain information at any time. There are many factors that contribute to the success of a software product; user documentation is one of them. A well-written guide improves the quality of the system and makes it easier for users to utilize without having to contact support all the time.

Organizations put so much effort into developing and producing products and services, so it is important to provide proper documentation that will let people make the best out of the product and ensure that they will have a smooth journey through all phases of usage.

User documentation can be found in different formats/ways based on the device or system, and based on the customers’ requests; some of the most common types include:

Quick start guide

This type of documentation usually describes the main features of the system and its main components. It aims to give the user a glimpse of the system and how to get started on it. This type of documentation can be presented in a video or written as a part of the user manual/guide.

User manual

Moving to the next type, the user manual guides the user throughout the entire system, including all its modules as per the UI of the system. In these guides, users can find all the required steps that enable them to use and run the system efficiently.

Online help

It is very similar to the user manual, but it is synced to the system. Online help files should be included in the system based on the context of where the user is, so when using the system and one faces issues while using it, they can just open the relevant help file and see what steps should be performed.

How to’s

This type of documentation focuses more on the processes and main cycles of a system. Unlike the user manual, they do not go into every feature or step in the system. They rather show the steps of the main processes and activities that can be performed by the system. They should be used to provide answers for users at the moment of need, which can be done by providing a link to the relevant How-To in places where it would be needed.

Video tutorial

Video tutorials are a way of explaining the system using visuals and illustrations. Sometimes people prefer to see steps and actions rather than read them. This type of documentation can be created in detailed or high-level approaches. In the videos, users will be able to see the visuals, recorded actions, text, as well as hearing descriptive voices just like they are having an actual training session.


The creation

Creating a user documentation is not an easy thing. It requires collaboration between the technical writers and the product and technical teams. The challenge that the technical writers face is that they have to translate the technical language into simple instructions that can be understood by both technical and non-technical people. When creating and developing user documentation, the below features should be taken into consideration to make a successful material to read:

User documentation key features


Why it is important to have user documentation?


Saving time and effort

The primary goal of user documentation is to reduce the amount of time required for a user to understand and use the product.

Enhanced Customer experience

Good system documentation can ensure that customers are having a good experience using and exploring the system being offered. Providing rich user documentation can improve user-system interaction and overall customer experience.

Customer satisfaction

Providing full documentation for the product you are offering is a good step towards having satisfied customers. This will help them feel more comfortable and confident when using the system and they will always have a reference that they can refer to at any time should they get stuck.

Improving support productivity

Support teams in organizations spend a lot of time answering and solving the customers’ inquiries and problems. One major factor that organizations will benefit from when offering user documentation with their products and services is to reduce the needed effort and time of technical support. It can also make the support process easier and faster.


Closing up

User documentation can provide ultimate assistance for even the most complicated procedures. Software guides come in various types to help users better utilize systems’ capabilities. Software providers need to make sure they provide their customers with the type of documentation they need when offering a software system or service. Creating effective user guides is an involved process, but the benefits to your customers are well worth it. They can help in keeping customers satisfied, enhance the user experience, lower support tickets, and save time and effort.

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About ESKADENIA Software

ESKADENIA® Software is a three-time MENA Award Winner & CMMI® level 3 certified company that is active in the design, development and deployment of a range of software products in the Telecom, Insurance, Enterprise, Education, Healthcare, and Internet application areas. The company is based in Jordan and has sales activities in Europe, the Middle East and Africa; more than 85% of its sales are exported to the global market. For more information, visit www.eskadenia.com, or contact us at pr@eskadenia.com.