Standards for User Documentation

Standards offer guidance to assist technical writers and editors providing requirements for information products and the process for developing useful documents. Conformance to these standards ensure that the information content, structure and format is consistent across a product documentation set. This makes the documentation easier to develop and more usable. Usability is the “extent to which a system, product or service can be used by a specified user to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction in a specified context of use” (ISO/IEC 25064:2013).

IEC 82079-1 is the most important standard for technical communicators “IEC / IEEE 82079-1 Ed. 2 Preparation of information for use (instructions for use) of products – Part 1: Principles and general requirements” states that information for use shall provide the necessary information for the target audiences to make safe, efficient, and effective use of a supported product. The international standard published by IEC and ISO has been adopted at the European and national levels.

This standard state the following requirements related with the purpose of information for use:

  1. Information for use shall be given the same attention and importance as every other part of the product.
  2. Information for use shall be usable and relevant for the target audiences with respect to their expected tasks and goals.
  3. Information for use shall promote the safe use of the product

The standard also has requirements on content, the quality, and efficiency of the documentation as well as possibilities of presentation. Technical documentation cannot entirely ensure legal compliance; however, by complying with the requirements of laws, regulations, directives, and standards it can significantly reduce the risk for the manufacturer and limit liability.

If you are a manufacturer, please contact me to discuss whether you can benefit from my services. I have over 20 years’ experience in the development of user and service manuals for electronic equipment and write procedures for the testing and maintenance of manufacturers’ devices and systems. Manuals I create include information on precautions under which the device can be safely used, including maintenance and service schedules.

Terence Pyle

Technical Writer & Editor

Posted in Main.

I approach my work with a sense of inquiry about how things work and how best to explain it to others. I’ve developed a sense of order that helps me to seek out organization where it does not exist. For most of my life I have had an innate curiosity about technology and learning new things.