We spend so much time on our product interface, website user experience, A/B testing colors on landing pages, aligning the products guys with the design and usability folks – so it might come as a shock to hear you still aren’t doing enough when it comes to UX. So what else is there? Product manuals.
Think about it, when was the last time you put your product manuals through a usability test? It’s a no-brainer why UX is so important, so why aren’t we giving our product manuals more thought? Just as your website needs love, so do your product manuals. Those little manuals can have a profound effect on your bottom line. Maybe it’s hard to convince your design or product marketing team or maybe you just had no idea how important your product manuals (Aaron Fulkerson talks more about that in Forbes) are to your company’s success. Whatever the reason, it’s time to take your product manuals through a UX overhaul. Still not convinced? Here are 5 reasons why you need to stop everything and launch a UX strategy for your product manuals today.
One of the awesome parts of my job is talking to our repeat customers. Customer loyalty is critical to any company’s growth, and something that MindTouch is lucky enough to enjoy, thanks to our innovative products and amazing customer service. This week I got a chance to catch up with the Datacard Group, a $400 million company based in Minnetonka, Minnesota.
Like MindTouch, DataCard considers collaboration a critical part of their business. Datacard collaborates with their customers to create secure financial card programs and government ID initiatives. A globally distributed company, the Datacard Group has been a MindTouch customer for quite a while. In fact, the first MindTouch product they deployed was the MindTouch DekiBox, a hardware appliance we sold very early on in our company’s history. Today, they use our virtual machine installation, a low-touch, high performance software virtual appliance.
Enterprise technology buyers are some of the most educated buyer types in the marketplace today. I don’t necessarily mean well-educated in terms of schooling, but more so in terms of how much they educate themselves when researching the technology they’re asked to buy on behalf of their company.
When I look at our sales wins here at MindTouch, I check out the individual opportunity records to see what our prospects “consumed” from MindTouch on their way to becoming a customer. 2 years ago, downloading a trial version of the product and reading a case study might have been good enough to move forward with a purchase – today, that’s barely the tip of the iceberg.
Thanks to Jack Molisani and the entire LavaCon team for an amazing conference this year. A quick scan of the #lavacon hashtag will give you an idea of how well the conference was received.
If you weren’t able to attend, you missed some great presentations by the leading content strategists and marketers in the industry today. You also missed MindTouch naming the 25 Most Influential Content Strategists, an impartial ranking and recognition of the people who are leading the way in content strategy.
So many times we are surprised at the creative ways that customers are building value with MindTouch. As a robust flexible application platform, MindTouch lends itself to extensive customization easily, allowing users to quickly and easy create powerful applications.
As you may have seen in previous posts, a survey of our users revealed that the majority of MindTouch customers are using MindTouch to create the next generation of collaborative tech support documentation. This phenomenon arose organically, with users naturally gravitating towards the flexibility of MindTouch in creating and editing technical communications.
The key in all of these use cases is the flexibility of the MindTouch platform.
Today’s solutions require flexible platforms that enable structure to emerge, rather than forcing structure on your customers and employees. It is an important distinction that can make or break a successful deployment.
Our latest release, MindTouch Technical Communications Suite focuses on delivering the features most requested by technical communicators. When we looked at how technical communicators are using MindTouch, we saw some great developments in the areas of Authoring, Discovering, and Curating information. It is in these areas that we have focused many of our new features in MindTouch TCS. From our new search engine to powerful curation tools, we’ve added in the features that technical communicators need to quickly create and manage quality documentation sourced from internal and external sources.
As engineers, we are often reluctant communicators. I remember my first job out of college, working in the electrical engineering R&D dept at a now-defunct Fortune 500 company. It is safe to say that “writing the manuals” was usually the last item on the list of tasks for almost every project; nobody wanted to do it, but being the newest person there, it was a task that usually fell to me. A decade ago, technical communication was done with very rudimentary tools, using Word or Robohelp, and distributing documentation updates via CD-ROM.
The growth of technical communication industry is testament to the fact that technical writing is an art all to itself. An outgrowth of what was once only thought of as “manual writing”, technical communication has evolved over the past few years into a much more social, collaborative process. The advent, and staggering growth, of social collaborative technology has changed the world of technical communication forever. Whereas before technical writing was thought of as more of an afterthought, it now sits front and center in the interface between a company and their customers; talk about a crucial positioning!
MindTouch has been selected as a finalist in the 2009 Open World Forum Innovation Summit and Award in Paris France on October 2nd, 2009. Why is this a big deal? Well mostly because we were selected from a large pool of applicants by our peers, a panel of open source experts and luminaries elected MindTouch as a one of the most innovative companies in the open source world. I think everyone would agree that it is awesome to get recognition by ones own peers, especailly in a space where there is consistently new and exciting technology coming out.
MindTouch was selected on the strength of its business, including the innovative nature of its product, the strength of its management team, and the incredible job it has done in such a short time to build such a great (and large) user community and market share. I think this bodes well for all the people out there who have made the investment in MindTouch, as well as all others who are considering how to make their leap into collaboration (the answer of course is MindTouch.) This validates MindTouch’s position as a leader in the Enterprise Collaboration segment, per the Forrester Wave Report on Collaboration.