I’m working on a little project at the moment which involves converting a face-to-face course into elearning. Rather than convert all of the course content into elearning we decided to keep the elearning duration to a minimum and provide learners with support resources they could refer to on demand via the intranet. One piece of material I came across in the pile of content I was handed was a “quick” reference guide. I say “quick” in inverted commas because there was actually nothing “quick” about it! Remember people, if your quick reference guide needs an index it isn’t a quick reference guide, it’s a user manual! So thanks to my lovely client and the author of that document for giving me the fodder for this little blog post 🙂
A quick reference guide to creating quick reference guides
- Keep to one page or two pages that can be printed off as a double-sided document
- Keep font size reasonable to read without a magnifying glass
- Use visuals wherever possible and keep words to a minimum
- Find out from users what they want on the QRG rather than assuming you know what they want or trying to tell them everything
- Use clear headings and labelling that don’t make the visual too busy
- Think about what people will be doing when they need to use the QRG and structure content in that format so they can easily find what they need
- Try and get an entire system manual onto one page
- Repeat instructions, eg. if two screenshots have a copy button on them only explain it once – people get it!
- Let system developers write quick reference guides 😉
Anybody got anything else to add to our DOs and DON’Ts?