Writing and Designing Manuals and Warnings 4e

Writing and Designing Manuals and Warnings 4e

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Features

  • Addresses product safety and liability prevention
  • Explores industrial and technical products as well as consumer products
  • Covers the new ANSI Z535.6 standard for safety material in manuals
  • Discusses the design of on-product warning labels
  • Examines the integral role of manuals in safe product design

Summary

Twenty-five years ago, how many people were thinking about the internet on a daily basis? Now you can find everything, including technical and instruction manuals, online. But some things never change. Users still need instructions and warnings to guide them in the safe and proper use of products. Good design, clear instructions and warnings, placement of graphics, all the traditional elements hold true whether designing for print or online materials. And technical writers still need those two most valuable commodities—time and information—to do their jobs well. Another constant, Writing and Designing Manuals and Warnings, now in its fourth edition, offers real-world guidance based on real-world know-how for the development of product documentation.

See What’s New in the Fourth Edition:

  • New organization to clarify the principles of manual and warning development
  • Coverage of the digital revolution and the global marketplace
  • Expanded section on product safety and warnings
  • Information on international standards for warnings

Backed by Research and Collective Experience

Drawn from the collective experience of hundreds of technical writers, graphic artists, and product safety engineers, along with the author’s nearly 30 years of experience helping companies improve instructions and warnings, this how-to book covers every aspect of developing state-of-the-art product manuals and safety warnings. Filled with examples that show how good manuals and effective warnings can add value to your company’s products and build repeat business, while at the same time reducing liability exposure, the text demonstrates how to create manuals that give products a competitive edge and improve customer satisfaction. Solidly grounded in research, but not a stuffy academic treatise, this down-to-earth, practical book is a survival guide for writers in the real world of short deadlines and tight budgets.

Table of Contents

Who Needs a Manual?

Overview

Why All These Manuals?

The Customer

The Company

Summary

Who Reads a Manual?

Overview

Is Anybody Out There?

What Do They Want?

How Do They Use Manuals? Designing for Content and Context

Summary

Checklist: Knowing Your User

Notes

What’s In and What’s Out

Content and Organization

Overview

Focus on the Need-to-Know

Cookbooks, Not Novels

Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?

Writing Strategies That Work

How Do I Find…?

Summary

Checklist: Content and Organization

Notes

What You See Is What You Read…Or Not

Overview

Make the Manual Look Easy to Read

Headings: A Map for Your Reader

Other Signposts for Your Reader

Paving the Road for Your Readers

Making the Manual Physically Easy to Use

Summary

Checklist: Make It Easy for Your Readers

Notes

A Picture Is Worth…It Depends

Overview

When to Use Graphics

What Kind of Graphics Should I Use?

Making Graphics Work

Integrating Graphics and Text

Summary

Checklist: Effective Graphic Design

Notes

Thinking Outside the Books

Overview

Putting It on the Internet

Instructional Videos and DVDs

Picture This: The No-Words Manual

Is One Enough? When You Need Multiple Manuals

Installation, Service, and Maintenance Manuals

Manuals for Custom Machinery

Summary

Checklist: Alternatives and Specialty Manuals

Notes

Who Writes a Manual?

Overview

Technical Writers—Rodney Dangerfield No More

Writing Manuals Is a Team Sport

Playing Well with Others: Marketing, Legal, Design, Manufacturing

How Well Can You Juggle? Managing Documentation Projects

Summary

Checklist: Writers and Documentation Projects

Notes

Manuals in the Global Marketplace

Overview

The Challenge of a Global Economy

The User Spectrum Expands…Again

Managing Translation

International Regulations and Standards

Summary

Checklist: Manuals for Global Markets

Notes

Product Safety and Liability Prevention

Overview

Products Liability Law: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Warnings—They’re Not All Wacky (But Some Sure Are!)

Hazard Analysis: The First Step in Product Safety

Responding to Hazards

Other Safety Resources

Managing the Postsale Duty to Warn

Summary

Checklist: Managing Product Safety

Notes

Warnings That Work

Overview

What Should a Warning Do?

The Anatomy of a Warning Label

Meeting Standards

Testing Your Warnings

Summary

Checklist: Make Your Warnings Work

Notes

Integrated Product Safety

Overview

Designing Safety into the Product

Delivering a Consistent Safety Message

Product Safety in the Real World: Case Study

Summary

Checklist: Integrating Product Safety

Notes

Bibliography

Index

 
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