Get to the point quickly and concisely.
As the complexity of products continually increases, customers are placing the burden to explain how to use, maintain, and service products at the feet of manufacturers. Nevertheless, the way in which that information is communicated is becoming paramount. According to Aberdeen benchmarks, the top business pressure, in fact, is customers’ demand for concise and customized documentation. Providing instructions or manuals to Joe Q. Public written in “engineer-speak” will most likely result in a frustrated customer.
Recognize documentation development is a crucial part of the product development lifecycle.
Interestingly, this is a marked departure from past practices in which documentation was addressed at the tail end of product development. As a general rule, it seems that product development schedules are seldom met. Therefore, if documentation is being addressed at the end of the development cycle, the need to introduce the product to market as quickly as possible can result in sacrifices in the planning and execution of the instructions. The best in class companies are incorporating documentation as another piece of the product development process allowing time for proper evaluation and analysis of the best manner to communicate to the end-user.
Visually communicate critical product information instead of forcing customers to read lengthy text.
Yes, it’s true. A picture is worth a thousand words. Data from our research confirmed more people understand concise, image based instructional or educational material than text-heavy collateral materials and engineering based images. Best in class companies recognize that visually based communication tools can decrease technical support and customer service calls as well as reduce product return rates. In addition, companies are realizing a reduction in the time and cost of localization because communicating with graphics instead of words reduces the amount of text there is to localize.
Are you ready to join the “best in class” companies when it comes to your product instructions and documentation?