Summary: How to replace traditional user manuals with intranet Tutorial Builder. Improve the education of new and changed features, onboarding of new employees and streamlining workflows.
With the rapid change of technology and devices in today’s IT world, it begs the question; is it worth the effort to maintain and update user manuals to explain how to use the technology? Often, when people try out new software, they turn to the user manual or help files before determining if they can figure it out for themselves. We’d argue that most ‘help’ documentation isn’t very ‘helpful’, but rather they simply state the obvious.
Traditional User Manuals Are Flawed By Design
Once we ask the questions of effort to maintain vs. value of information we begin to realize that the traditional practice of writing software user manuals is flawed. User interfaces are rapidly changing as features are developed or reworked, terms and domain language change over time, screen shots don’t necessarily reflect how the product looks in a client environment, and the list goes on.
Say Goodbye to Software Manuals
We’ve made a conscious effort on two fronts to make user manuals unnecessary using your intranet software.
Building Simplicity Into Your Intranet
First and foremost, our primary goal with designing our user interfaces and flow of information is to make sure we keep things as simple and intuitive as possible. In fact, one of our core values is Simplicity! At the heart of it, we ensure that we actively listen to any client complaints about usability and engage our customers up front when designing new features. If you end up having to explain basic intranet concepts to your end users using help files, your intranet may require a boost in collaborative and engaging tools that make problem-solving easy.
Interactive Training with Tutorial Builder
We’re eliminating the need for static help manuals using a built-in tool called Tutorial Builder. At the heart of it, Tutorial Builder allows us, and our customers, to build dynamic help files and product walk-through’s within the software itself. The tool can be used for a number of purposes, such as:
- Highlighting new and changed features added in upgrades
- Building contextual help on more advanced interfaces or concepts
- Onboarding new employees on workflows that are important to you, such as how to fill out forms, publish content, or find relevant information
The Power of Tutorial Builder
So, how does it work? Some tutorials are built, and deployed, by us for our client environments, but the real power comes in opening the tool up to our clients. Administrators can record tutorials and build contextual help for their end users that work on top of their content, theme, and architecture! They can attach tool tips to any element on a page and walk an end user through an interface, a workflow, etc.
The system will store their navigation and help tips and present them to the end user in the way they were recorded. One of the real benefits of this solution is that the end user is actually learning by doing as the help tips are just layered on top of the interface as you view and interact with it. Set-up your own tutorials using Tutorial Builder – learn how using our Tutorial Builder Support Knowledge Base Article.
Tutorial Builder for the Self-Directed
If your tendency is to avoid user help manuals because you’d prefer the trial-and-error approach, the Tutorial Builder is a great tool for you. Gone are the static and outdated PDF documents of the past. Intranet clients now have an engaging and interactive solution to help educate their users on how to effectively use their intranets.
Editors Note: This post was originally posted on May 30th, 2013 and has been edited for updates and accuracy.