How to create a digital instructions manual in 2022Opinion ·
In the age of digital transformation, the only thing standing between your company and a successful future is your customers' ability to effectively use your product and get all the benefits from the usage. Instruction manuals represent an effective medium for your customers to understand your products. In particular, digital instruction manuals have proven way more effective and convenient for companies to produce compared to the traditional paper ones.
In this article, you will discover how to easily create a digital in-depth user manual for your customers — many even consider it an essential step to creating a truly outstanding user experience.
What Is A Digital Instruction Manual?
A digital instruction manual is a series of digital content that walks customers through the steps needed to operate your product.
A digital instruction manual can come in many forms, including videos, ebooks, podcasts, and much more! It's all about finding out what works best for your audience based on the type of products or services that you offer.
Why Should You Move to Digital Instruction Manuals?
There are several reasons why you should abandon paper instruction manuals. Although both digital and paper manuals cover the same purpose, digital manuals provide a unique experience.
First of all, instructions on paper manuals can be frustratingly long-winded and hard to follow especially when the product is complex to set up and operate. With digital instruction manuals, you can make the user experience a thousand times better by using images, video tutorials, and all these different types of content that can facilitate the consumer’s understanding of the product and its operation. Check the virtual assistant by Layerise to get an idea of how digital instruction manuals look like.
In addition to that, paper manuals usually contain different sections in different languages to make them readable by more customers. This means that there is a physical limit to the number of languages that the manual can contain and therefore there is the possibility that some customers will not be able to read the instructions. With digital instruction manuals, text can be quickly translated in any language. With Layerise, the language changes based on the localization of the customer. You can just select additional languages you want to support, at any time.
Paper instruction manuals are not that easy to access if we consider that to get the instructions on how to use the product we need to physically find the paper manual. After having set up the product, most people store the instruction manuals somewhere in their houses but it is not rare that when they need the instructions they cannot find the manual.
Digital instruction manuals are easily accessible on mobile phones, making it possible for customers to consult them from anywhere at any time. For this reason, digital manuals are an efficient way for people to get instructions on using your product. This can be incredibly useful if you want to improve your customer experience while saving resources.
Digital instruction manuals are not only the right choice to improve customer experience but they are also economically and environmentally convenient for your company. Transitioning to digital instructions manuals allows you to reduce ink and paper consumption which leads to a decrease in both costs and environmental impact.
Finally, updating content is easier and faster with a digital solution: all it takes is pushing out a new version of the document with any recent updates (or removing obsolete content).
How to Create a Digital Instruction Manual
Before you start creating your digital instructions manual, there are some things to take into consideration. Building a digital manual is not just about putting a bunch of information online, it is more about designing a guide that is both comprehensive and easy to follow for the customers.
These days, creating a digital manual requires a team of experts in various fields: an expert writer, a subject matter expert (SME), and a web page designer for FAQ pages and support team pages.
If you want to create a digital instructions manual for your product, it is important to follow a step-by-step process, from the definition of goals to the publication of your new awesome digital instruction manuals. Keep reading to learn more about these steps.
1. Define your goals and what you want users to learn from the manual
First, you need to define your goals. What do you want your instructional manual to achieving? What is the problem that you want to solve? What do you want users to learn from the manual?
To answer these questions it could be helpful to gather more data about the user experience of your customers. Are they having specific problems with the setup of the product? Do they struggle with the maintenance of specific components? Make sure you gather this information before creating your digital instructions manual.
Once you have identified your goals, define what kind of information your instructions manual should contain to make sure you are meeting customers’ needs.
2. Decide how to make your customers access the digital manual
The first step in deciding which channels will be the best fit for your digital instruction manual is to consider who you want to reach and the type of content. For example, if you create a video training course, it makes sense to distribute it on YouTube. Whereas if you are just using text and images to show customers how to set up the product, this content could be accessed through your website.
With Layerise customers access the instruction manual through a QR code. This means that your customers can always easily access the support resources just by scanning the QR code they can find on the product.
3. Write a script to help outline your digital manual
The next step is to write your script. This is where you outline the steps of what you want to teach in your digital manual. You can use bullet points and numbered lists or a more traditional script format. We recommend choosing one that flows well for easy reading and understanding.
Once you have written your script in its entirety, it's time to start organizing all of this information into an easily digestible format for users of your digital instruction manual (DIY).
4. Plan out your visuals
With the right visual format, you can make your content more engaging and enjoyable for your audience. At the same time, visual content also allows for a faster understanding of the information by the customers. Your goal is to get them through the information quickly and easily, and you achieve that by choosing a visual format that supports this goal and clarifies what they should do next.
There are lots of different ways to use visuals in an instructional manual:
Diagrams or flowcharts can help readers understand concepts from start to finish by mapping out relationships between pieces of information and showing how things work together.
A table or graph might be most appropriate if you have a lot of data points that need to be quickly digested at once (like when comparing two sets of results). You might also use graphics if there is too much text on one page; this will keep people engaged without overloading them with information!
Infographics are an excellent way to visually illustrate abstract ideas, so they're easier for readers to comprehend. Infographics send the message better than a wall of text could ever convey!
5. Create the best instructional video
Did you know that 83% of people prefer watching videos to accessing instructional or informational content via text or audio? That is why you should create a video tutorial for your customers to understand how to use your product.
One important thing to consider when creating video content is the length. Try to keep the video tutorial as short as possible while, at the same time, communicating all the important information needed by customers to use the product. A good length for an instructional video could be around 5 minutes.
When recording the video, it is not necessary to have professional tools and equipment. If you do have a professional video maker, excellent! But if you do not, you can still record successful videos. Audio is usually more important than visual content, so make sure you have a good microphone to record the voice. People can look away if the video is not good quality, but they cannot close their ears if the audio is low quality.
Make sure your videos are engaging, the instructions are clear and the content is not too long for the customer to get to the end. Prioritize audio quality over video quality, if needed. In the end, you do not need to be a pro video maker to create amazing video tutorials!
6. Publish your manual
Once you have completed your digital manual, it is time to publish it. Before doing that, it could be useful to share it with colleagues and friends for feedback. If anyone has any suggestions on making the manual better or more helpful, incorporate those changes into your draft.
Once the final version is complete, you can finally publish your digital instruction manual! This could be done with an announcement on social media or your website.
With Layerise, once you create the digital instruction manual, all the new customers will receive the product with a QR code that will allow them to access the virtual assistant. On the other hand, the existing ones could access the digital instructions manual through your website in the support section.
7. Learn from feedback
You can use feedback to improve your guide. Feedback is a great way to make sure that your digital instruction manual is helping people, and it is the best way to improve the guide in the future.
By getting feedback from surveys, comments, and other analytics tools, you will find out exactly how many people are using your digital instruction manual and what they are looking for in it. Use this information to make changes if necessary—and even better: create updated versions of the guide with new content or an improved format!
With Layerise you can collect critical data about the performance of your digital instructions manual in terms of the satisfaction of the customers using it. In particular, the Editor feature helps you see the big picture by informing you about content performance and consumption. Improve your content over time with the help of performance insights and customer satisfaction.
There are many benefits to creating a digital instruction manual, but keep in mind that it will involve a considerable commitment of time and other resources to prepare. Layerise makes the creation of digital instructions manual easy and intuitive. By using the templates, you can easily create a brand-safe product-specific Assistant for your products. With Layerise, you can create simple, advanced, and powerful guides to educate your customers about the product features, and inform them about changes or maintenance activities.
Layerise is the perfect solution for you!
Layerise is a state-of-the-art, new-age product assistance tool. By integrating your business on the Layerise platform, you will be able to provide an exceptional post-sales experience that conventional hard copy user manuals cannot provide.
Through product onboarding, assembly guides, or troubleshooting assistance, businesses can educate their customers about product characteristics, update them about modifications and maintenance tasks, and obtain warranties. Layerise also allows you to communicate successfully with your consumers by utilizing enriched customer data such as client ownership details, product serial information, product service history, customer language preferences, etc.
If you want to learn more about how Layerise can help your business grow, book a demo with us now!
If you want to dive deeper into the legal aspects of creating a digital instruction manual, read this article.
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