I would have needed a user guide, wrote Marita Saarinen in Aamulehti newspaper on 18th January 2017.
In a user guide, the consumer finds information about the features of a product and how the product should be used. A very good user guide also explains how to achieve the best possible user experience with the product. According to the Finnish consumer laws (e.g. consumer protection law (38/1978), law on consumer safety (920/2011), certain products must be accompanied with a user guide. These products include machines, personal protection equipment, toys, and electronic devices.
A user guide is one aspect in the consumer experience of a product and also a part of customer support. A good user guide promotes the brand and image of your product and company. You can also save costs with a good user guide: if the end users find the needed information and support in the user guide, they don’t have to contact your customer support.
A good user guide gets the user’s attention. Make sure that the sales package contains instructions that help the user get started with the product quickly and easily. You can provide further information online, and if the product has a display, even integrate instructions in the product itself. Make it easy for the user to find the user guide. This way you ensure that the user reads or at least glances at the user guide when unsure how to use or service the product.
A user guide works also as marketing material: those considering purchasing a product often read the user guide first before making the purchase decision.
If the user guide needs to be translated, make sure that it is translated properly. Poor translation may provide wrong information, spreads quickly around as an internet meme, and may harm the image of your company.