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Points for creating operation manuals

Points for creating easy-to-understand operation manuals

Points for creating easy-to-understand operation manuals

In recent years, the working environment surrounding us has undergone significant changes, such as work style reform and remote work.
As more efficient ways of working are being sought after, operation manuals offer many benefits, such as stable work quality and reduced training time.
You may understand the importance of manuals, but are you not struggling with the following issues?

"How do you create easy-to-understand operation manuals?"
"Is there an efficient way to create operation manuals?"

Here, we will introduce the key points for creating an easy-to-understand operation manual.
What is an operation manual? We will explain from the basic content to the main point of creating an easy-to-understand operation manual.

The society will continue to move towards a more efficient way of working in the future.
In this trend, operation manuals with many benefits are expected to become even more important. We hope this article will serve as a reference for creating easy-to-understand operation manuals.

Table of Contents

1. What is an Operation Manual?

Before we explain how to create an easy-to-understand operation manual, let's first confirm the purpose of creating an operation manual. By recognizing the purpose of creating an operation manual, we can more clearly focus on making it "easy-to-understand".

An operation manual is a document that literally confirms the method of operating a system or machine. As the name suggests, most operation manuals are created for beginners. In other words, operation manuals should be easy for beginners to understand and the ability to correctly operate after reading is an important point.

Therefore, the creator of the operation manual must be aware of the following points.

  • ・Easy to understand even for beginners, with clear instructions that allow for correct operation after reading
  • - After operating the system or machine, you can determine if the operation was correct or not.
  • ・You can quickly navigate to the corresponding page when you are in trouble

There are other points that creators of operation manuals should be aware of, but if you keep these three points in mind, you should be fine for now.

Among the manuals that are circulating in the world, there are manuals that simply include all the operating procedures. Thick manuals only lower the reader's motivation, so they are rarely read.
In addition, in systems or machines that can be operated intuitively, there are cases where the operating manual is not read even if it is created.
These cases of unread operating manuals can lead to operational errors or unintended accidents, which can be very dangerous.

The creator of the operation manual should create a manual that takes into account the three points mentioned earlier and ensures that it is read through.

2. Points to consider when creating easy-to-understand operation manuals

In this chapter, we will introduce the key points for creating an easy-to-understand operation manual based on the previous chapter.

This time, we will create an operation manual assuming the case of "opening Yahoo! HP from Google search". Now, we will introduce the creation points.

1. Be sure to provide comprehensive instructions.

The first point is to provide comprehensive instructions.
Since it is an operation manual, it is better to provide detailed information about the operation.
However, if the operation manual is too long, it will become difficult to understand.

Therefore, in addition to the operation details, it will be easier to understand if you also include the work order, timing, operator, conditions, etc.
In this case, it will be a clear operation manual if you write it as follows.

Assumption: Google's homepage is displayed on the PC screen.

  • ①PC operator: Type "yahoo" into the Google search bar and press the Enter key.
  • ② Search results will be displayed
  • ③PC Operator: Click on "Yahoo! JAPAN" at the top of the search results.
  • ④Display Yahoo! HP

2. Include any questions or notes to be aware of.

The second point is to include any questions or notes.
As you become more familiar with the operation, you may have questions or curiosity during the process.

In this case, the question is whether there is Yahoo! in Google's input history, and whether it is okay to select it. In response to such questions, it is more user-friendly to pre-specify that "there is no problem with selecting the input history."

It is also recommended to include notes and prohibited operations at the same time.
Depending on the system or machine, incorrect operations may lead to accidents or damages.
Therefore, although the operation itself may be the same, including prohibited operations will lead to increased safety.

However, it would be endless to include every question and caution, so it is better to strike a balance with readability.

3. Use Visual Elements

The third point is to use visual elements.
In other words, in addition to text, include diagrams, images, videos, etc. in the operation manual.

Seeing is believing.
Combining text and images makes for a more beginner-friendly instruction manual.

4. Describe the results of the operation

The fourth point is to document the operation results.
Beginners may feel unsure if their operation was correct.
Therefore, it is important to document both the operation procedure and results.

In this case, let's describe it in combination as follows.
Operation: ①Enter "yahoo" in the Google search bar and press Enter key.
Result: ②Search results will be displayed.

5. Describe the purpose of the operation

The fifth point is to describe the purpose of the operation.
Describing the purpose of the operation leads to an understanding of the overall picture.
Understanding the overall picture leads to increased efficiency and understanding of the importance of the work.

Furthermore, if the table of contents is organized by purpose, the searchability will greatly improve.
By instantly linking the desired operation with the corresponding page, work can progress smoothly.


By following these five points, you can create an easy-to-understand operation manual by formatting it. The manual is not finished after it is created.
When adding or revising work, it is necessary to update the operation manual as well.
Therefore, by creating a format beforehand, the efficiency of updates will greatly increase.

3. Utilizing tools and templates is convenient for creating manuals.

Finally, we will introduce the benefits of using commercial manual creation tools and accompanying templates when creating operation manuals. We will also introduce our manual creation outsourcing service.

First, we will introduce the benefits of tools and templates.

Benefits ①: Layout and design are predetermined

In manual creation, layout and design are time-consuming tasks.
In that regard, the tool has pre-prepared templates for layout and design.
Therefore, you can focus on enriching the content of the manual itself.

Benefits ②: Easy insertion of images and videos

One of the features of our tools and templates is that it is easy to place videos and images.
It can be difficult to place images and videos in Word or Excel files, but with our tools, you don't have to worry about that. With features such as capture, placing videos and images is a piece of cake.

Benefits ③: Multi-device compatibility

One of the benefits of our tools and templates is that they are compatible with various devices.
When using files created in Word or Excel, there may be issues with viewing them on certain devices. However, with a multi-device compatible tool, this is not a problem. You can view manuals from your smartphone or PC, making it possible to streamline your work.

4. Benefits of Manual Creation Outsourcing

Next, we will introduce outsourcing for manual creation.
If you were asked, "What is the most difficult part of manual creation?"
How would you answer?
There may be various answers such as "writing the text", "document management", "creating content such as videos", but the most important part is not "organizing the content"?

Operation manuals cannot fulfill their role properly if there are any omissions or mistakes in the instructions. Therefore, it is necessary to create them carefully.
However, it can be difficult to create accurate manuals while performing regular tasks.
That's why we recommend outsourcing manual creation.

By entrusting the creation of manuals to professionals, there are the following benefits:

Benefits ①: Manual creation by specialized consultants

Our team of specialized consultants will handle everything from conducting research for manual creation to actually creating the manual.
Our experienced consultants will create a manual that is well-versed in all the key points.
Even if there are no existing materials to work with, we will conduct interviews and create the manual from scratch.
Our team of specialized consultants also handles manual improvements. They will propose improvement plans for your current manual, always striving for the best possible version.

Benefits 2: Also Compatible with the Latest Technology

Manual creation using the latest technology is also possible.
In addition to common tools such as Word and PowerPoint, we also support manual creation using the latest technology such as GitHub, WordPress (CMS), wikiworks, and Confluence.

Benefits 3: Creating Video Content

We can handle everything from planning to shooting and content creation for video content.
In today's world, where YouTube is a representative, there is a high affinity with videos.
Many people may also want to use videos for manual creation.
However, creating videos can be both complicated and time-consuming.
In such cases, we highly recommend our services.

Benefits ④: Multilingual Support

Specialized services that support multiple languages will provide translation and localization.
With the support of translation consultants, even industry-specific terminology will be smoothly localized.

Benefits ⑤: Document Management and Operation

They will handle the management and operation of existing manuals.
Some existing manuals may have issues such as poor readability or inconsistent expressions. There are also cases where it takes time for revisions or updates. They provide services such as document management and updates to address these issues.

5. Summary

How was it?
This time, we introduced the key points for creating easy-to-understand manuals.
As we mentioned before, considering the flow of society, the importance of operation manuals will undoubtedly increase.
We hope you will refer to this article and create easy-to-understand operation manuals.



Author Information

Andy ParkMultilingual Translation Group
Japanese-English Translation Reviewer

  • ・In my previous job, I worked as an IT engineer for about 4 years, and then I worked as an English conversation instructor for 8 years, where I was involved in developing educational programs and training instructors.
  • ・Translation experience of 11 years, specializing in IT and business fields.
  • ・Currently engaged in translation work and translation quality management, primarily focusing on FA-related products such as product manuals, help documents, and operation manuals.
  • - Responsible for evaluating and verifying the translation quality of machine translation engines.

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