When do you need a mandatory manual?
A mandatory manual should be more than an… obligation
It could very well be that adding a manual to a product is a legal requirement. In that case, it may feel as if a manual is forced upon the manufacturer. After all, a mandatory manual brings with it all kinds of provisions. It should contain specific chapters in a specific order, and so on. This lack of freedom may be cumbersome, but also creates chances. In this article, we mention a few.
Writing a mandatory product user manual deprives a manufacturer of its own freedom. For example, a manufacturer may consider a specific chapter on safety not be to necessary. Maybe the manufacturer want to publish safety instructions on the first page instead.
However, setting up a mandatory manual also creates opportunities. Here are a few.
When a manufacturer meets all its legal requirements in a manual, a company builds trust. “We know the rules and we follow them professionally.”
Also, a mandatory manual tends to be a good manual. After all, the requirements are there for a good reason. They make a manual more complete and more understandable. For example, when characters are of a certain size, users can read them better.
Mandatory manuals are also consistent manuals. Because of the regulations, they all should look alike. When a template preserves the corporate identity of the manufacturer, users perceive the level of professionalism as (very) high indeed.
A mandatory manual leaves enough freedom for creating one’s own style. Even in the European Union, where the requirements are the most strict, there is enough room for individual input. Does the manufacturer want to use illustrations rather than words? As long as the information is complete and understandable, there will be no legal hurdles.
Freeing up manpower
When the framework of is a manual is mandatory, it is no longer necessary to discuss the major characteristics of a manual. These characteristics ‘come with the package’, so to speak. This means a manufacturer can free up manpower for use elsewhere.
Talking more easily to the experts
When talking to technical writers, it is much easier to find common ground if a foundation is already there. Experts can help quite easily when questions arise. After all, a framework is already present. Put simply: a legal framework saves time.