Technical manuals for each specific audience

Foxiz processes technical documents in all shapes and sizes, ranging from hard copies to digital manuals. All of these document sneed to cater to various users and audiences. More often than not, you’ll find that all of them are embodied in one, big book. Sometimes they will have been split into user-specific, smaller bundles.

For whom am I writing my instructions?

In the past, we’ve touched base on the diversity of target audiences. For whom do we write manuals or operating instructions? At the time, we focused on the specific writing style and the appropriate vernacular. In order to determine which information suits our audiences best we need to know for whom we’re writing. Naturally, at Foxiz we know everything there is to know about this.

Foxiz, specialised in technical documentation

Our specialists create technical manuals for a wide range of products on a daily basis. We could be writing an instruction manual for air fryers. In that case, the user is probably also ‘the maintenance man’ – make sure to clean the air fryer after use, dispose of residual fat etc. These steps are only natural behaviour for any culinary prince or princess. Therefore we wouldn’t expect any user of a different level to use this product. Although we can never be sure who’s using the product in a household.

The right manual for those who need it

The air fryer’s easy enough, but what if we’re writing a user manual and maintenance guide for a gummi bear production line? Quite often, you’ll find both of these documents combined in one massive guidebook that nobody ever reads. It’s not even present in the appropriate workspace. You might think the solution to this problem might be quite high-tech, but this need not be the case: just create two separate booklets and store them in a space where the appropriate user can access them quickly and easily. It also helps if you only share the information the specific user actually needs. Keeping it simple, piece of cake.

Digital operating instructions

In previous blogs, we wrote about digitization. What would be an efficient way to share instructions via a tablet or laptop? What do these instructions look like? The answer to these questions differs per product and target audience. Let’s circle back to the gummi bear production line: we may face varied solutions there. Maintenance or cleaning personnel may indulge themselves in some instructions or be briefed by the company about possible risks before carrying out their tasks. Operators, on the other hand, may be briefed but they profit from a different medium: the HMI. This Human Machine Interface is not suited for maintenance work (at least, not that we can think of here in Tiel). But it is a great means for guiding them through their tasks.

Many HMIs can be home to the larger part of your instructions, and in the right order, too: setting up a machine, switching it on, stopping it and switching it off again. There’s a correct way of handling instructions for everyone.

Differences between a user manual and a technical maintenance instruction

Your choice may become ever so much easier when you know the differences between several kinds of documentation. The CE (Conformité Européenne; declaration of conformity) is the corner stone of a user manual. It also needs to be available in the user’s native language. Technical maintenance instructions are not as heavily subjected to rules and if they’re only available in English, that’s just fine. They do not need to be client or user specific, but it is okay if they are. These differences could help you decide what kind of document you’d need, because the former is ultimately more expensive due to the additional translation costs.

Would you like some help determining the right documents for your products or projects? Give us a call or drop us an email. We’re happy to help you make the best choice.

Knowledge is power!

We can imagine you’d like to expand your knowledge as a (freelance) technical writer. Foxiz has their own Foxiz Academy, where you can learn the ins and outs of technical writing, how to establish your target audience and how to properly provide great technical documentation. We may just have the tools you’re looking for!

Curious as to what Foxiz can do for you? Please contact us via or call +31 344 84 88 00.