Instructions for your service should be the last thing to worry about
Lately we have been working a lot with tutorials for both the web interface that psychologists (among others) use and the smartphone app their clients use. We want to make it as easy for both parties to start using Viary. A few people have during our open educations asked for instructions and videos on how to use our tool. Something I read in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs made me think of the perfect answer for these types of questions: Just start using it!
The following passage is from the beginning of the book, and concerns Job’s work for Atari:
In addition, he intuitively appreciated the simplicity of Atari’s games. They came with no manual and needed to be uncomplicated enough that a stoned freshman could figure them out. The only instructions for Atari’s Start Trek game were ”1. Insert quarter. 2. Avoid Klingons.”
Two instructions! You could argue that most services now days are way more complicated than an arcade game from the 70s, but take a look at how games are designed today. Few of them come with manuals. Even fewer manuals are read. And not to mention some of the most used web services or apps. Did you read the manual for Gmail or Facebook before you started using them? Probably not!
The key is to design a service that has such a rewarding user experience that the user wants to keep exploring the service. I believe that we sometimes pay too much attention on explaining and guiding our potential customers instead of just letting them find out for themselves. The real problem is of course to get people to try your service and, once they are there, give them a great experience — they will figure out the rest!
One thing we’re doing to solve this problem is to invite users and potential users to our office for a free course in how to use Viary. We have these seminars once a month, so just send an email to niklas(@)hoastoolshop.com if you want to come.