An interesting article from a few years ago discussed the future of instruction manuals. The article’s main point was that the nature of how we use manuals has changed. For instance, try finding an owner’s manual for your new iPhone 13. The design of the phone and how it functions reduce the need for a manual. Suppose you run across a feature that you don’t understand. Apple has online user communities to answer the question. Also, there will no doubt be YouTube videos to walk you through the use of the feature. Perhaps the most significant piece of information from the article was that if your user is spending more time reading the manual than using your product, you may have a problem.
With ANB, they do not just hand the new platform off to you and wish you good luck. They are engaged with you in the entire training process. Their approach to training users of the new system includes a Learning Management System (LMS), Inline content help, and user manuals in PDF format. In LMS, a catalog of short lessons demonstrates typical platform capabilities such as to-do list management and data uploads. Inline help content is also embedded into the platform at the page level to assist the users. Finally, traditional manuals in PDF format are provided. However, as ANB’s systems are designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, the need for formal training has been dramatically reduced.
Few people read training manuals anymore but rather search for needed information as necessary and want it to be available on their schedule. The days of having large binders or notebooks containing training materials are probably over. Frankly, most of those are still on a shelf somewhere unused or hopefully have been placed in a recycling bin long ago. They have been replaced by searchable PDFs, inline or online content, or even better, a product that is so intuitive that it makes instruction manuals unnecessary.
Written by – Michael Stockard
Michael Stockard is an independent consultant at Stockard Energy Advising and is a member of the Advisory Panel at ANB Systems. Michael has over 40 years of experience in the design and implementation of demand-side management programs.