Do you ever get requests from people wanting to know how to do something on your website, or do you spend lots of time on HELP documentation? This article could be invaluable to you!
When responding to HELP requests, you need excellent written communication skills to ensure that your instructions will be easily understood. Unfortunately this is a dying art and we have experienced this ourselves many times, especially when opening up flat-pack furniture! (The Chinese are an inscrutable people and excellent at producing goods cheaply but they have yet to master written English).
A part of my responsibility when I worked in IT was to write procedures for the various tasks we performed. The main problem I found was, where do you draw the line before you start to patronise the reader, or do the opposite and go above their heads. It was often quite a challenge.
As Village Friend involves people adding their own content onto the site, we often get requests on how to do stuff. Either through their inexperience, or pure fear of using the internet. It’s quite surprising that there are quite a few people out there that are so scared but these people are often unfamiliar with computers or they expect to be ‘caught’ somehow in the ever expanding World Wide Web. (Web: an intricate trap that entangles or ensnares its victim!)
So how can you get your information across quickly, easily and also put “the fearful” at ease?
We found a FREE PC program that allows you to record whatever you do on screen and then upload it as a video onto YouTube! So all of our written HELP topics have been superseded by video. It’s great; no more pages and pages of text to worry about.
When people see how to do something it makes them much more confident to attempt it themselves. So we’ve managed to create NINE ‘How-To’ videos for all the different action aspects of the Village Friend website. Its saved us a lot of headaches being able to create our own on-line ‘TV channel’ instead of spending the onerous time spent on documentation. So when we get a HELP request from a visitor or member, we simply send them the appropriate YouTube link. Simples!
You can take a look at some examples that we’ve done and see if it could be used on your website…
The software is called CamStudio and the website can be found HERE.
For people who are new to YouTube and need information on how to set up your ‘Channel’, this is a good instruction video. (YouTube has revamped its display in Jan 2012 so the video doesn’t quite match the new layout but its good enough for you to use)….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kORJgR6jp9c