User Documentation Outline

Computer Applications Practicum

Spring 2011

This outline specifies the minimum content elements for user documentation. Document formatting is not defined; all formats are acceptable, if the content elements are complete.

Cover Page

Provide a cover page with the necessary content, such as the name of the document, date, and Author.

Revision History

Provide a revision history table with column titles: Revision Number, Date of Release, Owner, and Summary of Changes.

Table of Contents

Provide a table of contents with a list of the document sections and the pages on which they begin.


Provide a detailed introduction regarding system of the user documentation.


Describe the purpose of the document concisely and in terms specific to the system.


Define the boundaries of the subject of the User Document

Document Overview

Provide information on how the document is to be used. Discuss any conceptual background information on the system, such as process, workflows, or operational usage.

Instructional Manual

The instructional manual section provides directions for the user on functions and operational procedures for the subject of the document.

Functions and Operating Procedures

Provide instructions for performing functions and operating procedures. Provide a brief overview of the purpose of each procedure, with step-by-step instructions for execution. Specify any user inputs or administrative activities that must be performed before starting the task. Define the expected results and any procedures for examining these results. Describe any related functions.

Reference Manual

The reference manual section should provide explanations of error messages and related recovery procedures.

Error Messages and Resolution

Provide information on error messages and their resolution. The document should address all known error triggers in detail; each error message with an identification of the problem, probable cause, and corrective actions should also be defined. Problem resolution should include contact information for reporting issues.

Installation Information

Provide a detailed explanation of installation procedures for installing any required system elements, such as equipment or software.


Provide any references used in the creation of the User Document.


Provide an alphabetized list of definitions for special terms and acronyms used in the document.


The appendices should contain material that is too detailed or large to be included in the main body of the document. Refer to each appendix in the main body of the text where the information applies.

-- JimSkon - 2011-05-10

Topic revision: r2 - 2011-05-15 - DerrickMeyer
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