I am aware this has already been asked at https://english.stackexchange.com/questions/59224/what-are-the-differences-between-manual-guide-and-instruction however from a user experience point of view, what is the most straightforward name which we could use for the section which will contain our software documentation in our website and in our software under the help section?

So far we made a mess of different naming conventions for the same thing and went as far as making smaller subguides called "pills of". Of course this made a huge confusion so we wanted to make a final naming convention for all our products.

Moreover, should these documents/manuals or whatever we will call them, be filed under "support" or "documentation" or is there some more obvious way to group all the documents of different softwares?

Any suggestions?

  • 1
    Depends on your field/niche and users. Could you provide more information about it? What are the existing sections, are they overlapping, should they be consolidated, are they currently used? About how many pages of documentation are we talking about?
    – msp
    Jul 4, 2014 at 13:11
  • We are talking about accounting software, we have different products (5 right now) each with its manual consisting of over 200 pages. There's no overlap as each manual has its own life however some users might buy two or more of our products and they expect the naming conventions for the manuals to be similar.
    – dendini
    Jul 4, 2014 at 16:21
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    I would worry less about the naming, and more about the content. I've often had bad experiences where (usually open source) software has a bunch of guides, faqs, manuals etc., each of which is incomplete and duplicates parts of the others. I've never had a problem where the documentation was good but I couldn't find it because of how it was named.
    – bobtato
    Jul 5, 2014 at 22:22
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    re. close vote: why should this question be 'too broad'? Jul 7, 2014 at 9:16
  • We want to exactly avoid having multiple guides, faqs and manuals but we need to find a term which people will recognize as the most common term. We also need to make this the only term used when colloquially talking at the phone, at meetings and in several places on the website.
    – dendini
    Jul 7, 2014 at 9:20

1 Answer 1


User Experience is a lot about meeting the expectation of users. In terms of providing help and documentation the name of the document is crucial and should give users a very good idea what to expect.

I think there is no general answer to this question. It seems that it's an established product with lots of users. The best way to find out is to ask your users.

Some user research methods come to mind:

  • Survey
    Sent to a bigger number of users (some hundreds if you can), describing what the document is about and what they would be looking for in a website if they looked for this particular type of document.
  • Card sorting
    Might be appropriate if a number of documents need to be provided different having different terms. Very helpful specifically for finding out where to link the docs in your site/navigation.

There might be more or even more appropriate user research methods but I would say asking your users using user research methodologies is the way to go.

  • 2
    We could ask our current users but those are already accustomed to the current terminology so they would be biased from the beginning. We are more interested in prospective future users.
    – dendini
    Jul 7, 2014 at 9:21
  • @dendini - Of course you can use Google in several countries and see which term will get you most results. But I can't think of a better alternative than asking real users. Maybe you can find new users that are just about to start using the product? Jul 7, 2014 at 14:07
  • @greenforest, What exactly do you mean by asking your users using "user research methodologies"?
    – Pacerier
    Aug 4, 2015 at 4:49
  • @Pacerier Engaging with users is the right thing to do is the case of the original question, using user research methodologies such as Card Sorting. There might be more appropriate methodologies (may A/B testing different wordibgs could help but only in specific cases). Aug 8, 2015 at 8:01

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