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Quick manual

1 September 2006
A hand holding a card

Part of launching a new Knowledge Management solution (website/community/portal/knowledgebase) is creating instruction products for the users. One of these products is the Quick Manual. The Quick Manual is a summary of the instruction manual or instruction array and is designed to remind the user how to perform important operations commonly used in the knowledge service. Unlike the manual which is designed for instruction, the Quick Manual is based on the assumption that the user has already been instructed regarding the knowledge service and therefore needs merely a reminder of the main operations and not another instruction session. The Quick Manual is therefore short and usually consists of one or two pages.

Content commonly featured in a Quick Manual:

  • The knowledge service's URL address (website/community/portal/knowledgebase)

  • An explanation regarding accessing the system.

  • An explanation regarding sending feedback.

  • An explanation regarding the performance of central/common operations.

Furthermore, the Quick Manual's content includes features which the solution's managers wish to market and highlight (e.g. an exchanging board) and other central operations which are central to the solution (e.g. how to add discussions).

The Quick Manual's primary added value is its briefness and the fact that it is designed for instant response to urgent needs (usually operational). Therefore, the Quick Manual is usually written directly and includes only the most relevant information. It does not include elaborations on the rationale behind certain instructions or any other kind of complementary information. Furthermore, it will include heavy use of pictures and screenshots from the community itself. These pictures are supposed to summarize the various documents. The Quick manual's enhanced use of visual means assists in presenting a full and instant picture of the needs as they actually appear in practice rather than a merely theoretical solution.

In terms of format, The Quick Manual will usually be printed and even laminated. Although usually we in the field of Knowledge management recommend selecting an electronic format, a Quick manual is optimal in physical form since it can be carried or posted in the workplace thus making it immediately available and accessible if needed.

The Quick Manual can also be printed on an A4-sized page (printed on both sides), a business-card sized manual and really can come in any size. In some cases, due to budget considerations, the Quick Manual was printed on a mouse pad. It is also to remember that the Quick Manual has market value and so besides all the immediate operational information we will aspire to use it in order to market the solution and so it will usually not include the marketing messages which are usually featured beside most products designed for this solution.

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