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Visualizing Product Use: Infographics and Videos for Documentation

Introduction

Traditional dense text documentation creates friction for users trying to understand products and features. Visually engaging formats like videos and infographics better demonstrate tools in action while simplifying complex details.

This guide will explore strategies and best practices for incorporating videos and infographics into your software, app, and digital product documentation to maximize comprehension.

We’ll cover identifying documentation needs, planning demonstrative footage, producing step-by-step infographics, and structuring visual content into existing support channels. Let’s transform sterile instructions into memorable and consumable training.

Conduct Documentation Gap Analysis

Before creating visual assets, systematically determine current pain points and opportunities by:

Analyzing Customer Service Tickets

Identify most frequent questions, issues, and topics to prioritize documentation improvements that proactively answer them.

Conducting User Surveys

Ask customers directly where existing support documentation falls short or lacks clarity to reveal gaps.

Reviewing Public Q&A Discussions

Search public forums like Reddit to find commonly asked questions that warrant proactive self-help documentation.

Studying Analytics for User Behavior

Assess metrics like help articles views, in-app walkthrough enrollments etc. to uncover overlooked or confusing features needing supplemental demo materials.

Heatmapping Product Use

Observe actual new user onboarding sessions and note points of friction, missteps, and confusion that visual content could pre-empt.

Thoroughly diagnosing high-opportunity areas ensures you invest documentation efforts into fixes with maximum user impact.

Map Out Visual Documentation Strategy

With needs validated, assess options and structure a multimedia plan:

Videos, Infographics, or Both?

Determine which visual formats best demonstrate each identified gap – tutorials, motion graphics etc. Consider production timeline and budget.

Structure of Support Library

Decide whether to integrate visuals into existing text articles or link out to separate visual assets like a knowledge base video gallery.

Distribution Channels

Evaluate embedding visuals directly into product interfaces vs hosting externally and linking for various use cases.

Creation Priorities

Order documentation needs based on user impact and effort required into high/medium/low priorities for systematic development.

Responsibilities

Determine if existing team can tackle creation or external specialists should handle for quality and bandwidth reasons.

Having an actionable game plan focused on high-impact fixes guides efficient production.

Plan Your Demo Videos

For instructional videos, planning scripts and shot lists ensures you demonstrate key moments:

Outline the Exact Step-By-Step Workflow

Write a detailed walkthrough of the exact tap-by-tap process users should mimic from start to finish.

Note Special Callouts

Mark points within the task flow requiring you to highlight or explain key interface elements, notifications, or tips.

Identify Insert Opportunities

Call out logical spots to embed supplemental motion graphics, animations, or text captions to reinforce concepts.

Specify Required Shots

Catalog needed camera perspectives, screen recordings, device views etc. for smooth scene transitions that follow the user journey.

Time and Budget Targets

Set goals for video length and production schedule based on complexity and resources available. Strive for brevity.

Thorough pre-production prevents gaps or repetitiveness during video shoots. Identify required shots meticulously.

Produce Infographics Visually Communicating Processes

For static visuals, best practices for informative infographic development include:

Limit Text

Infographics should rely more on visual flow and iconography than dense paragraphs. Use text sparingly to label, annotate, and reinforce key points only.

Map Process Stages

Visually plot the natural sequence of key tasks, decisions points, or system interactions users move through in a left-to-right workflow.

Emphasize Pain Points

Call out steps users struggle with using highlights, icons, labels etc. so graphics serve as memory aids.

Maintain Brand Consistency

Use brand fonts, colors, mascots, logos etc. so graphics feel like natural extensions of product interfaces users are accustomed to.

Include Supplementary Details

Work contextual stats, definitions, notes etc. into graphic layouts in sidebars or annotations without cluttering key flow.

Streamlined infographics distill complex ideas users can reference at a glance. Leave nothing important out.

Structure Documentation Navigation Intuitively

Integrate visuals seamlessly into existing support navigation through:

Contextual Embedding

Insert relevant videos and graphics directly into related help articles, feature descriptions etc. for in-context viewing.

Media Libraries

Compile organized media galleries containing all instructional videos, infographics, etc. searchable by learners.

Playlists

Curate themed playlists like “Getting Started” or “Advanced Workflows” containing clusters of related videos users frequent.

Link Cross Referencing

Hyperlink text support articles to relevant graphics and vice versa for easy related asset discovery.

Intuitive Titling and Tagging

Give visuals filenames/titles using popular user terminology for easy searchability. Tag thoroughly.

Make sure users actually find and view your hard work by integrating it into existing flows.

Promote Documentation Proactively

Getting eyeballs on new visuals involves active promotion through:

In-App Messaging

Use banners, modal windows etc. to announce availability of new video tutorials and graphics as helpful resources.

Social Media Spotlights

Share video clips and infographic snapshots promoting their availability through product social accounts.

Release Notes

List documentation updates and links in product release notes and change logs users reference.

Support Emails

Proactively notify users who previously requested help on topics covered in new visuals to redirect them.

Product Tours

Late highlight new instructional materials in context during in-app walkthroughs for new users.

Raising awareness of added support materials ensures their utilization and impact on self-service.

Track Documentation Performance

Analyze metrics to determine if visual content actually improves comprehension:

  • Monitor support ticket categories for volume drop correlated to added videos, infographics etc. covering those issues.
  • Review view counts and consumption on documentation media galleries and playlists to confirm utilization.
  • Survey users exposed to new visuals on perceived clarity improvements versus old text instructions.
  • Assess key product task completion rates before/after visuals released to gauge lifts.
  • Note product store reviews mentioning improved documentation quality.

Quantifying gains makes the case for further instructional media investments and identifies areas still needing work.

Conclusion

While essential, dense text documentation often leaves users more confused than aided. Incorporating intuitive media like brief explanatory videos, annotated process graphics, and visually focused instructions bridges comprehension gaps better for today’s consumers.

But ensuring instructional visuals provide high value requires planning based on strategic gap analysis, assembling navigable infrastructure, and active promotion to drive awareness around added libraries.

With visual documentation done right, products become self-teaching as users easily reference videos and eye-catching guides demonstrating each facet on-demand. Visuals convert confusion into clarity.

By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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