Jonathan DeVore

By: Jonathan DeVore on January 25th, 2023

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3 Principles For Creating Clear and Concise Digital Guides

Can your end-users follow your guides without getting stuck?

If your end-users are getting lost and making mistakes when they use your digital guides, then your guides aren't doing their jobs.

The purpose of digital guides, job aids, call flows, and other process documentation is to help end-users handle tasks independently.

Employees shouldn't need to ask a supervisor for additional help. Customers shouldn't have to reach out to customer support.

In my past near decade with ScreenSteps — a knowledge base software and training solution company — I've coached dozens of companies on how to create digital guides that support end-users.

From that, I've come up with a list of three key principles to writing digital guides that your end-users can (and will) rely on. Watch this 3-minute video for a detailed explanation of each principle.

1. Findable

Are your guides easy to find? Or does it take end-users a long time to find the guides they need?

If your end-users have to click through multiple folders or try to guess the right keywords to pull up an article, it is taking too long for them to find the article they need.

This principle helps you narrow in on the scope of the guide.

2. Followable

Once end-users find your guide, are the guides easy to follow?

If your end-users are pulling up a guide and still getting lost or making mistakes, then your guides aren't followable. 

To make your digital guides easier to follow, you need to focus on the structure. Consider how you design your guides and what type of article you use.

3. Scannable

Can your end-users skim your guides and have a good idea of what they need to do?

You can't create digital guides that are a wall of text and expect your end-users to read every word. Use design elements — like bulleted lists, headings, highlights, and more — to make it easier for end-users to know what to do at a glance.

With this principle, you are focused on getting the title and scope of your guide right. It helps you zero in on the purpose of the guide (aka what the guide is helping your end-users do).

Digital Guide Checklist

Download a free Digital Guide Checklist. The checklist helps you quickly review your digital guides and job aids for an optimal end-user experience.

Increase performance with clear digital guides

Ultimately, following these three digital guide design principles comes down to one thing — putting your end-users first.

As you write guides that are more findable, followable, and scannable, you'll see fewer mistakes, less stressed employees, and increased guide usage.

Want more help refining your digital guides?

Dive deeper into the three principles for creating digital guides with our on-demand webinar. In this webinar, we discuss the three principles and show examples of how you can improve your digital guides to follow these principles.

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About Jonathan DeVore

Customer Success