Many organizations use their Internet or intranet site as the primary way of communicating information to their employees, clients, and the public.
Online manuals let readers find essential information fast, reducing mistakes and improving your organization’s operational efficiency while significantly reducing document printing and maintenance costs. We can convert your old print manual into a full-featured online manual accessible from your intranet or Internet site.
On this page:
- Advantages of Online Documents
- Print or Online or Both?
- Information That Doesn’t Belong Online
- What Kind of Manuals?
- Benefits of Online Manuals
- What We Do
Advantages of Online Documents
The best type of information to go online is quick-reference information—anything that the user will browse or search rather than systematically read. Internal documents, such as policy and procedure or reference manuals, work well online because few people read them for extended periods—they are reference publications.
Here are some advantages that online documents have over print documents:
- They can be updated rapidly, so readers get up-to-date information fast.
- They can be searched and browsed quickly using the search engine, table of contents, index, or internal cross-references.
- Many documents can be linked together—clicking on a cross-reference in one can take the reader directly into another. There is no limit to the number of documents or amount of information that can be published online.
- Printing and distribution costs are reduced or eliminated.
Print or Online or Both?
For many organizations, the question is not whether to produce a print document or an online document, but whether to produce a print document and an online document. Publishing them online doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t need print copies. In many cases, you’ll need both.
Here’s why you may want both print and online documents:
- Not all staff use a computer, have easy access to one, or use it often enough to feel comfortable. As a guideline, online documents are only useful for people who regularly use a computer as part of their job.
- It will cost too much to get everyone linked together, particularly the cost of upgrading hardware and software and the cost of retraining.
Information That Doesn’t Belong Online
Not all information belongs online. Some information is better off in print form. Here are some examples of information that shouldn’t be online:
- Large amounts of text, such as a textbook, that must be read thoroughly (the monitor is too hard to read for extended periods)
- Any information intended for people who aren’t regular users of computers
- Procedural information that will be used away from the desk (such as anything in a field guide)
- Emergency recovery procedures for recovering from a power failure
What Kinds of Manuals?
- Policies and procedures
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs)
- Human resources manuals and employee handbooks
- Business process documentation
- Computer hardware/software documentation (systems and end-user)
- Equipment operations and maintenance documentation
- Training courses and materials
Benefits of Online Manuals
- Easy to use. Readers can find information fast using the expandable table of contents, alphabetical index, or search—no more wading through oversized print documents.
- Cheap. You don’t need to buy (or worse, develop) an expensive application for your online text. Online manuals are ready to use now, and priced to fit within most budgets. Use the contact form and we’ll show you how little it costs.
- Fast to create. When your text is ready to go, we’re ready to go. Setup time depends on the size of the document and amount of customization.
- Say goodbye to printing and mailing costs. Online manuals are far easier and cheaper to maintain than print manuals. For many organizations, the savings in printing costs alone during the first year can more than offset the initial conversion cost.
- Fully customizable. We’ll adapt the look and feel of your existing web or document sharing platform to house your online manual.
- Related information is only a click away. Readers can link to related information such as forms, legislation, websites, and other online resources.
- Easy to maintain. Comes with a complete set of instructions so that your staff can maintain your online manual, and a detailed style guide to help authors write and produce better content. Or we can maintain it for you—that’s even easier.
- Supports multimedia. Go ahead, add graphics, animation, photos, video, audio—or whatever you want to enhance the text.
- Scalable. There’s virtually no limit to the size or number of online manuals you can have—create a library of information.
- Archive old content. Sometimes readers need to see an old section. Online manuals let them go back to any point in time and see what policy or process was in place. (optional)
What We Do
- Adapt the look and feel of your web or document sharing platform to house your online manual.
- Convert your existing print manual to an online manual.
- Create the index and table of contents.
- Upload to your server so you can test it.
- Help you design and write your online manual.
- Edit or revise existing content.
- Train your staff to maintain the online manual.
- Provide ongoing email and telephone support.
- Maintain the online manual for you.