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ClickHelp Software Documentation Glossary

What Is Tutorial?

Tutorials are a special type of documentation whose primary purpose is to provide help at the very beginning of a working process with any software, program, functionality, or other sorts of digital and non-digital product.

Tutorials can be presented in many forms and formats (printed, created as digital documents, or recorded as videos or audios). Hence, everyone had an opportunity to work with them, no matter the circumstances.

Talking about the documentation, a tutorial is represented by step-by-step instruction created to help the user master the product's first level.

What Is the Purpose of a Tutorial?

As can be understood from the previous description, the first purpose of the tutorial is to provide some ‘guide’ for the user on how to use the main functionality of the digital or any other product. It is performed by providing step-by-step instructions describing those steps and explaining functionality’s work.

Businesses widely use the tutorial for the end-users of their product or service and the working teams. Such instructions allow us to understand the mechanisms and software the development team will work with. They are also good for further development of the product as the team members can be easily reminded about the functionality, and new members can quickly master the basics of work.

Because of such an importance for the working process, companies tend to have technical writers, people who are responsible for writing all the documentation, including tutorials and instructions. Therefore, this piece of documentation has its own specific rules of writing.

Characteristics of Right Tutorial

As it was said, technical writers are the people who are responsible for creating tutorials, and their work requires allegiance to some standards. These standards can be described in so-called documentation guides specially created for technical writers to avoid making mistakes while writing any documentation. Here are some of the tips that are necessary to be held in mind while writing:

  • A good tutorial should be structured. It is rather obvious that every instruction implies a strict sequence of steps as if it doesn’t, it is not an instruction anymore. This sequence should not be mixed or broken in any kind.
  • A good tutorial should be provided by short explanations of the steps performed. It is always better not only to give the information but also to explain why it is so. This is the main side of any teaching, especially when we are talking about mastering any complicated software or product and especially by the people who need to work within on an everyday basis.
  • A good tutorial should not be too large. A writer should always remember that they have to provide instruction on how to perform the basics. There is no need to dive into very specific peculiarities that a user will hardly need during the first period but can do nothing but confuse.

How to Create a Tutorial?

With everything mentioned above considered, there are some tips that will help to create a really good tutorial:

  1. Always remember that you create an instruction for the people who have hardly ever faced the product before, so try to use as simple language as possible, without diving into the technical terms, if circumstances allow.
  2. Your tutorial should be universal and repeatable so that the user could revise everything he/she has found out.
  3. Make sure that every step that you described works the way you said. Otherwise, the user will be confused and will never find the solution to his problem.

Other tips will be dedicated to specification according to the purpose of the tutorial, but these points are the basis of any documentation of such a kind.

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