PRC - user-friendly manuals, writing and translations

Peter Ring Consultants

About PRC
Technical communication/authoring/writing
Multimedia manuals
The User-friendly manuals website
Software from PRC
Peter Ring's CV
Contact PRC

In Danish / På Dansk

Manuals and User Guides

Animation: Hvad man bør gøre med dårlige manualer!

Do you need "somebody" to write one or more good internal/external manuals, user guides (or whatever it is called) – from scratch or based on a translation? ...or do you have a feeling, that your manuals could be better?

Then contact PRC – one of the World-leaders in user-friendly manuals!

Peter Ring was for example asked by TEKOM (the German association of technical communicators) to write the chapter about Denmark for their book published 2004 "Technical Communication – international, today and in the future". For further information about this book see .

Image of book
Even not a member, Peter Ring was also judge in STC Europe 's " Trans European Technical Communication Competition 2003".
PRC offers the following services within technical communication:
Peter Ring, PRC, don't mind travelling.

Why use PRC?

I cannot use free-lancers because our products are too special !

Text and graphics: Total projects – Subprojects – Translation

PRC can handle the whole process from writing to print and/or on-line help – or any part of it. By means of the systematic PQM 3.0 programme (Planned Quality of Manuals) developed by PRC, the project and the manual will from the start of get a good structure, and we ensure, that the manual is well adapted to the actual target group(s).

The clients of PRC are typically small, medium-sized or large companies within
  • Electronics and IT
  • Software
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Heating and plumbing
The reason for looking for external assistance is typically:
  • They don't need a full time employee for writing and/or translating manuals.  On the other hand they know that manuals are to be written/translated by an expert in manuals !
  • They need a model for their manuals which their own people can use: PRC makes the first manual, and their own employees make the updates and/or future manuals.
  • They have a temporary need for extra capacity in the documentation department on floor- or management level.
Languages, handled by Peter Ring, PRC:
  • Writes Danish and English.
  • Translates...
    • from Danish, English, German, Swedish and Norwegian.
    • to Danish and English.
Other languages are handled through external partners.

When a manual is translated, it often needs to be adapted to local rules for e.g. electric power connections. PRC knows where the critical points typically are and makes the localization as a natural part of the translation.

"Improved translation"
If needed and agreed upon, PRC can offer you to improve the manual during the translation so that it follows the generally accepted "best practice" rules for how to write a user-friendly manual.

Click here to read about  PRC's special qualifications.

Short-form manuals
Very often a short-form manual with hard-to remember facts is needed, too. PRC has made many of them.

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Video/screencam and interactive multimedia manuals

Multimedia manuals and tutorials are used when
  • You want fast learning of for example basic skills or very complex processes.
  • The users have reading problems (15-20% of the adult population can't even read a tabloid newspaper).
Click here for more information about multimedia manuals, and what PRC can do for you within this area.

Winhelp, HTMLhelp and AcosHelp

PRC can create Winhelp, HTMLhelp and AcosHelp files (inkl.dynamic HTMLhelp) based on Microsoft Word files. Examples can be found in software from PRC . AcosHelp is developed by PRC. It creates context sensitive help with PDF-files.

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Total management of the manuals of your organization

For example: PRC keeps a copy of your originals and manages printing on demand.

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about how your manuals can be more user-friendly. PRC's clients are here typically large or medium sized companies with own documentation department or employee, who want to improve the quality of their manuals.  The experiences from this consultancy are extremely good. The normal procedure is:
  1. The client sends a typical manual to PRC.
  2. PRC reads the manual and runs a PQM analysis (Planned Quality of Manuals) on it. Based on that PRC creates a report over the problems found.
  3. Peter Ring, PRC, visits the client and teaches the writer how to write their manuals with focus on the problems found. The course material is delivered on paper and/or on CD-ROM upon agreement with the client.
  4. Approximately half a year later we make a short follow-up, most often per mail and telephone in order to correct the last problems. Here I have often been very happy to hear about the very positive reactions from the customers of the client on the improved manuals.
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Quality control of manuals

for use with tenders or ISO 9000. Here we use the PQM 3.0 Planned Quality of Manuals programme developed by PRC plus our large experience.

Courses – internal or external

The internal courses are tailor-made to your company from the external courses. A special version has been made for internal procedure authors.

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Why use PRC?

  • The basic idea of PRC is that manuals are to be written with the users in mind! This means that a manual for a product to engineers or programmers is to be written in a style VERY different from a manual for a product to normal consumers. PRC has developed a set of tools  (PQM 3.0 Planned Quality of Manuals) to determine how to write for different kinds of users, including how cartoon-like the manual needs to be. In some cases different sections of a manual can be written in different styles for different kinds of users (multi-level manuals).

  • PRC has written manuals for:
    • general consumers
    • unskilled workers
    • skilled craftsmen
    • the office sector
    • ...
    • technical specialists, for example programmers, medical doctors and dentists.
    for external or internal use.

    The subjects has so far primarily been consumer- and professional electronics, IT, software, aerospace, off-shore oil-drilling, machines, electrical power, heating and plumbing, hospital equipment and administrative procedures.

  • PRC's work is "state-of-the-art" within "user-friendly manuals". PRC follows tightly the international trends, and has contributed significantly to this development.
  • PRC uses the most modern principles and technology when writing a manual. PRC uses for instance often a digital video-camera to record interviews and process instructions, and we can use screencam (video from PC-monitor) to record software procedures. Single frames from the recorded videos can often be used for illustrations in the manual. For an example of the modern methods, please download the demo AlarmClock (3.7 MB zip-file) from and install it.
  • PRC is running one of the leading Internet portals within technical communication:
"The User-Friendly Manuals' Website"
    which is highly acknowledged by technical writers/authors/communications and their managers all over the World. The main contents are:
    • "Tips for technical writers".
    • Literature lists from two of the leading scientists in the World within technical communication (both USA).
    • World-wide list of national and international organizations for technical communicators, etc.
    • List of mailing lists for technical communicators, etc.
    • Useful www-links for technical communicators, etc.
    • News.
    • Information about Peter Ring's book about how to write user-friendly manuals.
    • Information about the pc-programme PQM 3.0 (Planned Quality of Manuals), which is a very useful tool for improving the quality of manuals.

  • Peter Ring, PRC, participates actively on the internationally leading Internet mailing lists within the area of "technical writing".
  • Peter Ring, PRC has developed a quality improvement and control system for manuals which works. This system is today nested in a Windows programme, PQM 3.0 Planned Quality of Manuals, which makes it a lot easier to write user-friendly manuals.
  • Peter Ring, PRC, has written a book about how to write user-friendly manuals: "The PQM system – How to write better instruction manuals, and control their quality yourself." The price of the book is Danish kroner (DKK) 200 + moms (VAT) and postage, (in Denmark total DKK 269), and it can be ordered from PRC.
  • Peter Ring, PRC, has been course manager and main teacher on DiEU 's and later on Dansk Markedsføringsforbund's (The Danish Marketing Association) courses "Brugervenlige brugsanvisninger" ("User-friendly manuals"), and has taught technical writing on "Handelshøjskolen i København" (Copenhagen Business School).
  • Peter Ring, PRC, has participated in a working group for Dansk Standard (Danish Standard) about manuals for chemicals.
  • Peter Ring, PRC, participates in a SIG (Special Interest Group) about user-friendly EDP-documentation, in particular on-line documentation.
  • Peter Ring, PRC, has an engineering as well as a marketing degree, and he has been programming since 1961 (DASK!). He can consequently also – if needed – enter a qualified and fruitful debate about any problems with the product's user interface. His writing style is short, clear and precise! He can also write text-free and almost text-free manuals. And he has more than 15 years of experience with writing user-friendly manuals.
  • If the product cannot be put on the desk at the office of PRC, Peter Ring can work on your premises and/or record the explanations and/or processes with a video camera or "screencam" and then write the manual based on the video or .avi file. Peter Ring doesn't mind working in the other end of Denmark or outside Denmark (so far he has worked on long projects in Paris and Hamburg).
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I cannot use free-lancers because our products are too special !

All experiences without exceptions show, that in practice it is no problem. On the contrary!

When an external author writes about the use of a product, then (s)he has just been through the process of understanding the product. That makes it a lot easier to put yourself in the situation of the user.

The information transfer is made orally, by means of R&D reports, software source code lists, etc. and by "playing with" the product, and we use video and screencam when reasonable. This learning process equals the "play and read" process used by approx. 85% of the typical users. You start trying to solve the problem yourself, and you use the manual when stuck!

Alternatively, PRC creates the structure and the "less technical", your engineers/programmers fill in marked text fields with technical details, and PRC makes the editing.

BUT if you ask the technical specialist to write the manual, it will most often (but of course not always) become a "specialist-to-specialist"-manual, which most users don't understand. Don't you hate those manuals yourself, when you get them? Have you also met instructions like "Enter your TTX..." where you don't know what "your TTX" is? –  or how about programming your video recorder at home?

The relevant expertise is how to write understandable manuals  – and PRC has got that!

Contact PRC
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