Interactive Video Makes User Guides A Waste of Paper

A manual may seem intimidating at times. Often you find yourself struggling to read a big leaflet or what may feel like an entire book series in which you carefully have to find out what the writer is trying to say. Many people don’t even bother anymore and try it themselves first, at the risk of screwing everything up.

So I’ve got a question for everyone who makes us read manuals: why not make it easier for your customer?

When you’re selling something that needs an instruction, instead of wasting all that paper, just send your customer a URL to a video that shows how it’s done.

The adult version of a LEGO puzzle

Imagine you’ve just bought a drawer from IKEA. You’ve probably already done that at some point in your life and wondered which screw is supposed to go with what shelf. Are you looking at the right illustration or does it mean something else? And why don’t the parts fit the way you want? Grr!

OK, maybe you’re great at building drawers and you’ve never needed a manual, but hey, I need you to go along with this thought experiment for a second.

People are visual learners

Imagine you suck at building drawers and have a hard time understanding the illustrations; wouldn’t it then be great if you had a video where somebody shows you exactly how it’s done?

In the video you can see precisely what the parts look like, which screws you’ll need and how everything is supposed to fit. Whether you’re building a drawer, installing your TV for the first time, or repairing the headlights of your car, a video is much easier to understand than a written manual.

Make it easy to navigate

Once you’ve started sharing videos with your customers, making it an interactive video would be a great addition. That way, you can insert chapters and make it possible for the user to navigate throughout the video.

Generally, the customer doesn’t need to know the whole instruction, there are only certain parts he needs to fill the gaps in his knowledge, or his IKEA drawer.

Have you ever read a manual from beginning to end? Have you? Of course you haven’t, often you just need a small section of the manual to explain you the thing you just did wrong or don’t understand.

To show you what I have in mind, I added the video about the IKEA drawer I keep talking about. At the start, the viewer can choose which part of the process they want to see: constructing the bottom? The top? Or the drawers?

This way, your customer can find the information they need in the shortest amount of time possible. Your service will be seen as user-friendly, modern and… different from your competitor’s!

And it wouldn’t hurt to try, now would it?

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Kirsten Ronda

Online Learning Consultant



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