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Fundamentals of the user documentation writing

End-user documentation (user documentation) is intended for the end users of your product. It helps users better understand and utilize the product. The main goal is to make the interaction of the end user with the product as comfortable and efficient as possible.

To successfully create user documentation, it is necessary to answer several important questions:

  1. Who is your user?

  2. What are the needs of this user?

  3. What problems of the user are we solving with the documentation?

To answer these questions, various methods can be used. Here are a few of them:

  • Organizing interviews with users.

  • Communicating with the support team.

  • Using analytical tools and collecting feedback through various channels. This includes the analysis of demographic data and behavioral patterns.

When there is a clear understanding of who our users are, we can tailor our documentation to the needs of the users and make it more appealing to them. Knowing the user's level of expertise allows us to optimize the level of detail and technical depth of the instructions, providing an adequate level of complexity for the target audience.

Here are some tips to improve the creation of user documentation:

Write сorrectly

Of course, the text should be written correctly by default. Everyone knows this, but they don't pay enough attention to getting rid of mistakes. Checking the text will not take much time, especially when using specialized tools. Keep in mind that even small misprints can spoil the impression and reduce the user's trust in the product and the company, leading to reputational risks and financial losses.

Provide up-to-date information

Up-to-date documentation provides correct and updated instructions that help users correctly use the functionality of the product. Outdated documentation can lead to incorrect use or non-use of new features.

Write concisely, clearly, and to the point

No matter how much you want to demonstrate your literary skills, there is no need to take the user's time away from the main goal – solving their problem. If they do not find the answer to their question in the documentation, they will start calling the support service and spending the company's resources. Sentences should be short and clear. One large and complex sentence is better to break down into several simple ones.

Write in plain language

Documentation should be written in plain language, understandable to your user. Remember that, to use a mobile phone, the user does not necessarily need to know which microchip is responsible for what. It is enough to write a document with clear instructions. We need to simplify the user's life and promptly address their issues, rather than complicating the path to successful product use with unnecessary details.

Organize content correctly

Writing good user instructions is only half the battle. It is necessary to make this content readable and well-organized so that users can quickly find the information they need. To do this, you can use headings and subheadings, numbered and bulleted lists, add a table of contents, graphical images, etc.

Overall, successful user documentation is a key element of a positive user experience and contributes to maintaining the reputation of the product or brand.

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Dmytro Kozachok
Dmytro Kozachok
Nov 26, 2023

Well done!

Yevhen Vasylchuk
Yevhen Vasylchuk
Nov 28, 2023
Replying to

TY, Dmytro. I am planning to continue writing interesting and useful articles

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