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Is it a Better Idea to Replace User Manuals with How-to Videos?

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“As per a report by Cisco, as of today 30% of total traffic on the internet is video. This figure will reach 90% in the coming years. Do these statistics ring a bell for us in the documentation industry? Is it time now to reach out to your customers with how-to videos instead of lengthy user manuals?”

Sure, user manuals have been traditional and trustworthy, but we cannot ignore the fact that people today have less time, and follow videos more closely than reading a document. So, why do I need to revisit my strategy and go for how-to videos instead?

Let’s take a look at a comparative chart that shows pros and cons with both approaches.

User Manuals How-To videos
More focus on reading content and going through the TOC Go through the videos and try the steps simultaneously
More content means more time spent on reading it Less content to read and more to see
Read at your own pace and search for content Required to finish the video in one go or constantly rewind to revisit
Will always remain important due to traditional approach Statistics show that this is the future

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Though all the advantages bend towards creating videos, user manuals cannot be completely replaced with videos. User manuals are a ready reckoner for complex concepts and information that a video cannot cover. How-to videos can act as a good supplementary documentation or resource to your documentation offerings.

Customers can benefit hugely from complex procedures that have been converted to how-to videos. And, you can cover all the supplementary information and pre requisites in your user manuals. Selecting the right approach depends upon the type of information that needs to be covered, but the user manuals are here to stay.