7 Reason Why Creating Software Video Manuals Is Always a Good Idea (Although some people hate them)

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Just recently on my Instagram I came across a person complaining of being sick of having to watch another software video manual instead of alternatives like

  • Step-by-step click guide throughout the software
  • Just plain ol’ fashioned written guides
  • No need for guides (if only we all lived in a perfect world…)

Now although I personally totally get where she is coming from as I’m no fan of having to watch videos to know how to use a software and the fact she got a TON of reposts, likes and comments BUT I’m here to tell you 7 reasons why you should DEFINITELY keep or start creating as many video manuals as you can for your (SaaS) software.

  1. Although some people dislike the videos like in my previous example there are just as many, if not more, people who do prefer the video manuals.
  2. People process visual information much faster then plain old boring text manuals.
    (Thought text manuals are way easier to scan)
  3. Creating these video manuals is a GREAT extra layer of testing to uncover hidden bugs. In fact I’ve implemented this as a bug finding strategy… more on this below.
  4. Creating the video user manuals means you need to put yourself in the position of your users and follow the appropriate user flows in your software. Doing this for all possible situations while making these videos often uncovers user flow annoyances, discrepancies and just complete flat out errors in the user flows.
  5. While creating the videos you are also creating content which you can use in your (prelaunch) promotions
  6. You can use the videos to kick-start your social media presence by uploading them to Youtube, Facebook etc.
  7. After the videos are done, for cheap you can have them transcribed (e.g. fiverr.com). These transcriptions can then be used to upload as subtitles on Youtube (increases your video’s SEO!), and along with screenshots from that same video quickly create written manuals for those who hate the video manuals. Then those documents you can further be distributed on sites like SlideShare for more additional SEO power.


Using the ‘video manuals’ as a strategy to find bugs

So from my own experience managing a team of programmers and creating various SaaS softwares I’ve found that when you ask programmers to test functionality they (subconsciously ) take a very programmatic approach also often referred to as unit testing.

This type of testing is the exact reason why these software meme’s are so popular:

Programmer Meme

Its not like programmers do this on purpose, its just their wiring. And a LOT of non-technical managers just don’t understand this and go on tirades on the programming team as to why they didn’t found that one super obvious bug…

Well news-flash Mr Manager.. its not their fault is YOUR fault because your testing procedures SUCK

At first here at FlechaMobile we added a layer of testing using ‘user scenario testing’ which was a huge improvement. Basically what you do is make up user stories in situations in where they are using the software you created and then going through the scenario step-by-step.

Now after almost completing SERPLease version 1.0 we’re starting to add yet another layer of our testing processes; by creating video manuals for every possible situation.

The extra benefit is this way helps to fight ‘test slacking‘..

I see test slacking happen often when various smaller updates happen, due the fast pace and the fact they are ‘just small updates’ the testing gets skipped or forgotten.

The creation of video user manuals helps in such a way that when enough smaller updates have been pushed live you will likely also need to update one or more video manuals to make sure they are still up-to-date.

It’s not a fix-all solution but it works as hitting multiple birds with one stone.. you update the video manual and do testing at the same time.

Ok so in another post I’ll plan for later I’ll discuss ways to make video user manuals better and less annoying for your users. One of the most seen complaints against the use of video manuals is that they are often also created by programmers and they don’t make for the best presenters / talkers…..

Talk soon!

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