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PQM 3.0 Planned Quality of Manuals

– your tool kit for making user-friendly manuals!


The PQM 3.0 main window.

In the programme, clicking a blue underscored GUI text opens the help function for that item, from where help to the individual functions (e.g. "Tools - Testing mode") is available.

Click here for a short guided tour to selected PQM 3.0 windows.

PQM 3.0 is a very useful tool kit for writing printed manuals and on-line help by

  • Techwriter beginners:
  • Highly experienced professional technical communicators:
    • Increases your efficiency.
    • Useful tool for a good dialogue with your managers and the product development people.
    • Can be used together with Information Mapping .
  • Technical communication managers, editors and reviewers:
    • Analysis of where the potential user-problems are with a current manual.
    • Gives good advices for how to make improvements.
    • Useful tool for a good dialogue with your writers and the product development people.
    • Makes you and your writers more efficient (please observe the licence rules ).
  • Technical communication consultants & freelancers (please observe the licence rules ):
    • Very useful tool for a professional dialogue with your client.
    • Faster set-up of the manual.
    • Useful usability testing tools.
  • Professional usability testers:
    • Make most of your final report by clicking a button.
    • Make a short video with the most important test episodes in a very short time.
  • Schools and universities teaching technical communication:
    • The fast and easy way to learn many of the basic fundamentals of user-friendly technical communication.
    • Gives the students a very useful tool for the exercises.
    • Reduced school and university class set prices .
In fact, to be able to write a user-friendly manual you need...
  • to be able to write a proper and understandable text.
  • a reasonable knowledge to the subject.
  • to be able to put yourself in the situation of the user.
  • the PQM 3.0 programme, and to follow its advises! Click here for a short guided tour to selected PQM 3.0 windows.

How can PQM 3.0 help YOU writing more user-friendly manuals?
If you want to… How to implement it using PQM 3.0:
Write the manual according to the current "best practice" rules. 

The result is a more user-friendly manual from the first draft.

This minimizes the manual's part of the usability test costs. Reason: it’s better to make it (almost) correctly the first time than making a lot of (panic?) corrections afterwards!

PQM 3.0 is equally top relevant if you develop manuals using a user involvement scheme.

Use the PQM 3.0 planning tools for writing a user-friendly manual according to the "best practice" rules:
  • User level(s) analysis – and what it implies. 
  •  PQM 3.0 handles multi-level manuals, too!

  • Basic layout data: Shortform or not? TOC and/or index functions? Basic graphical data.
  • Detailed contents checklist.
  • Print a list of the best practice rules and place it next to your desk.
Make efficient usability tests with …
  • a maximum utilization of the information collected during the usability tests.
  • a maximum efficiency in the improvement procedures.
Use the PQM 3.0 testing tools for…
  • checking the manual for possible violations of the best practice rules.
  • performing usability tests with or without video recordings. With PQM 3.0 you can easily find the relevant video sequences afterwards!
  • making fast and easy relevant reports and videos from the usability tests.
  • making user-friendly amendments according to the usability test findings.
Analyse an existing manual in order to…
  • improve the next version/manuals.
  • check the quality.

With PQM 3.0 you can make the best possible manual with the lowest possible resource consumption .

PQM 3.0 in more details
If you are a professional technical communicator, you most likely already know how you would like to work – and you know at least some of the "best practice" rules. But you have always wished you had the tools for using the best practice rules efficiently and systematically. Here they are:

Before you write the manual you should use PQM 3.0 in "Planning mode" (see page 1) to:

  • Analyse who your readers are – on several levels if relevant. Depending on who your readers are, which writing style and illustration/cartoon level should you apply to the manual (or to which sections/chapters if it covers several user levels)? Tool: PQM 3.0 – "User map". You can even define the user levels yourself.
  • Find out if a short-form manual is needed, and how many search facilities (TOC, index, etc.) to include in this manual. Tool: PQM 3.0 – "Layout data ".
  • Make a detailed list of contents + other standard points to be included in this manual (or template) based on a suitable standard checklist. Include your own standard points, too. Then transfer this list to (the template for) the document you are about to write in order to make sure nothing is forgotten. Tool: PQM 3.0 – "Checklist".
  • Remind yourself of the best practice rules. Even knowing them by heart, all of us tend to forget them now and then when we are concentrated on the subject: the details of the topic of the manual. Tool: PQM 3.0 – "List of best practice rules". Print the list of the best practice rules and place it where you can see it when writing.
When the manual is written, you should test it according to a test programme (PQM 3.0 in "Testing mode"):
  • Check if the best practice rules were followed and amend accordingly. Tool: PQM 3.0 – "Test of best practice rules" + some other PQM points. The "Final evaluation reports" function of the PQM 3.0 programme then gives you good advises for how to solve the problems found. If you have tried to follow the rules when writing, most amendments will be small – but most likely there will be some, especially the first times.
  • Check for readability. Tool: PQM 3.0 – "Readability", or your word processor.
  • Make a preliminary linguistic and a technical proof-reading. PQM 3.0 offers useful advises.
  • Make one or more series of usability tests with subsequent amendments. Tool: PQM 3.0 – "Usability test".
  • Make the final linguistic proof-reading. (Not supported by PQM 3.0.)
If (and only if)…
  • the quality of a manual is to be checked after delivery,
  • the quality of the work of a technical communicator is to be checked,
then PQM 3.0 includes tools with build-in "acceptable levels". You can…
  • test for best practice.
  • check the quality level of the linguistic and technical quality.
  • use the "Final evaluation reports" for an overall survey of the quality level with a quality score.
Click here for a short guided tour to selected PQM 3.0 windows.

User support

The build-in on-line manual gives you the basic background for understanding the rules. If you want more information and training, try a PQM course.

As a licensed user you are entitled to free help desk service by e-mail.

Are you using Information Mapping?

PQM 3.0 is a very valuable supplement to Information Mapping. They are fully compatible, and there are to our knowledge no contradictions between the two systems except a few terminology differences.
Information MappingTM is a trademark of Information Mapping, Inc., USA.

Platform, PC and harddisk requirements

PQM 3.0 will run on any PC using 32-bit Windows, i.e. Windows 95+ and Windows NT 3+. A Pentium or higher is preferable. PQM 3.0 itself takes up approx. 1 MB on the harddisk. Some general .dll etc. files may use up further 4 MB, if they are not already installed on your PC.

Price and delivery

Personal license
DKK 1450 (approx. Euro 195 or US$ 185). For more than 3 licenses in the same order, please see the order form . For complete license rules, see below .

School/university class sets
1st licence: DKK 740 (approx. Euro 99 or US$ 95); further licences in the same order: DKK 370 (approx. Euro 49.50 or US$ 47.50).
For complete license rules, see below .

Inside the European Union , please add 25% Danish "moms" (VAT) if not ordered with your stated VAT number.

Sending costs are added if delivered on a CD-ROM and your country's customs may apply. No sending costs applies if delivered by e-mail or by downloading (password protected). Please state, what you want, and where to send it to.

PQM 3.0 is delivered including all files needed + installation instructions. It can also be delivered by e-mail (no sending costs).

Upgrades: Upgrades on 3rd digit level (e.g. PQM 3.0.4 to 3.0.5) which may include bugfixes and minor improvements are free if delivered by e-mail (otherwise charged for sending costs). Major upgrades will be sold at a reasonable upgrade price.

Licence rules
A personal license is valid for one user, incl. his/her portable and home computer. To be moved to a new user, it must be registered. The PQM 3.0 programme must only be used by the license holder personally. This includes using the "Good practice rules" document: consultants, managers and reviewers may let their clients/writers read this document, but not copy it for lasting use by non-license holders. A consultant, manager, colleague or reviewer owning a PQM 3.0 license must only make a contents list from PQM 3.0 once for each writer; for further use, the writer must obtain his/her own license.

A school/university license is valid for registered teacher(s) + the number of students licensed. A school/university licence must not be used for any other purpose than education related to the school/university owning the licence. The teacher is free to make her/his own teaching materials based on the PQM programme as long as each document from the programme is marked
    "Source: the PQM 3.0 programme copyright (c) PRC, Denmark 1994 to 2000 ( All rights reserved."
in English or in a legally valid translation to the language of the material.

Further information and orders

For further information, please contact PRC .
To order PQM 3.0, click here to fill in the order form.