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Advice when creating a User Guide

Question asked by captaincripps on Jun 28, 2018
Latest reply on Jun 28, 2018 by philmodjunk

Hi Folks!


Just a quick one, as part of my role I am to create a user guide for the solution I have to generate a user guide, so the organisation I work for have a reference document after I move on and go to Uni. I am also generating a maintenance manual alongside this, so that the colleague who inherits the database after me has an easier time understanding and maintaining this (which is far more than what I was given - I'm hoping this removes a lot of the frustration, time spent researching and hair ripped out of the scalp which I have endured).


I have a list of items from my colleagues which they would like me to cover, but I know this list is not extensive and there is a lot of things I have added which I know will be asked but hasn't been thought of yet (How do I generate the reports/how do I view documents?/etc).


I also have on my list to write in detail about how the features work on a surface level and why they work in the way they work like this (and the maintenance manual will go into whats 'under the hood' to make it work) which consists of each main tab and then the features such as saving the containers, the filter systems and linked record selections, as well as button based progress bars, etc, etc.


I wanted to drop by here while I'm writing the document and ask some of you guys whether you have had to write user guides (and maintenance guides) for your solutions. What do you always make sure you have included in your guides?Do you guys have any tips on the best way to approach this? I have never written a user guide in my life so am a little stuck as to what I need to put in, in order to reduce questions and ensure the greatest understanding of the system of all users. Many thanks!


- Cripps


(Also please note, I am aware many companies don't need to write a maintenance guide if you are in charge of maintenance. I am not a separate entity to my users, the organisation deals in pharmaceuticals but has always done the database solutions on their own as one of our directors is pretty tech savvy and will inherit the maintenance.


The reason for the generation of this is that I have at this point eclipsed his knowledge on the FileMaker software package, as I have been using it every day for about a year now as it was passed off to me during my apprenticeship, and I was kept on afterwards to carry out further extensive upgrades. He has not had to look at is since we upgraded from FileMaker 12 to 16 (in September 2016, although I am aware he had not looked at it for quite a lot longer).


When I go to University in September maintenance will go back to him, and as it is almost finished they may not be looking to update/upgrade once all my upgrades are complete, as the purpose was to integrate the 3 systems they were using into 1 package and then to upgrade them making them easier to use and efficient. They may call me back in if I can fit it in and they get desperate, but the maintenance and upgrades have always been and will remain internal)