Writing and Designing Manuals and Warnings 4e / Edition 4

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781420069846
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 6/15/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Who Needs a Manual?


Why All These Manuals?

The Customer

The Company


Who Reads a Manual?


Is Anybody Out There?

What Do They Want?

How Do They Use Manuals? Designing for Content and Context


Checklist: Knowing Your User


What’s In and What’s Out

Content and Organization


Focus on the Need-to-Know

Cookbooks, Not Novels

Are You Smarter than a Fifth-Grader?

Writing Strategies That Work

How Do I Find…?


Checklist: Content and Organization


What You See Is What You Read…Or Not


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


Checklist: Make It Easy for Your Readers


A Picture Is Worth…It Depends


When to Use Graphics

What Kind of Graphics Should I Use?

Making Graphics Work

Integrating Graphics and Text


Checklist: Effective Graphic Design


Thinking Outside the Books


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


Checklist: Alternatives and Specialty Manuals


Who Writes a Manual?


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


Checklist: Writers and Documentation Projects


Manuals in the Global Marketplace


The Challenge of a Global Economy

The User Spectrum Expands…Again

Managing Translation

International Regulations and Standards


Checklist: Manuals for Global Markets


Product Safety and Liability Prevention


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


Checklist: Managing Product Safety


Warnings That Work


What Should a Warning Do?

The Anatomy of a Warning Label

Meeting Standards

Testing Your Warnings


Checklist: Make Your Warnings Work


Integrated Product Safety


Designing Safety into the Product

Delivering a Consistent Safety Message

Product Safety in the Real World: Case Study


Checklist: Integrating Product Safety




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