8 min read
Writing technical documentation articles that are beautifully designed, educational, and easy to find is a tough nut to crack. But some companies nail it every time.
In this blog, we are going to analyze some different examples of consumer product and electronics companies with great knowledge bases and technical documentation. We will look at the different ways they are styled, the content they include, and the overall knowledge base structure so you can learn how to build knowledge content that’s just as amazing, or even better!
First, let’s talk about what technical documentation is. It’s a form of content that educates customers on how to be successful with a product from the purchase and setting up stage to advanced feature education and any troubleshooting.
For companies that offer a physical product, not a service, technical documentation can be both physical paperwork that is in the product box or online resources that customers can find surrounding their purchase.
In this blog, we will be exploring great examples of the online resources, whether it be from the company’s help center, support knowledge base, customer communities, or FAQs. All of these items are considered technical documentation and can be crafted in tons of different ways, so let’s explore below!
The most common type of technical documentation are knowledge base (kb) articles. These are often found within the help center or knowledge base. Below, we will look at examples of companies whose kb articles are super easy to read and offer great knowledge.
Apple is a leader in self-service experiences. They could easily fall into all of our example categories, however, there is something particularly special about their kb articles.
Below, you’ll notice how they use actual product images to display exactly what is going on with your product. Then, they use simpler images with callouts (arrows) pointing the reader to exact buttons they should press and actions they should take. Rather than explaining complicated processes over text, they use helpful and engaging visuals
What can we learn from Apple? Show, don’t tell. Of course, this is not always the case, but if you can, always opt to include real product images to help readers follow along. And, help them even more with arrow or circles depicting actions they should take.
Control4 takes kb articles to the next level by adding an interactive flare. Rather than just writing a standard guide with some different sections, paragraphs, and images, they guide their customers through the reading experience. Basically, you no longer need to skim to find answers. Instead, just answer their simple questions and the info you need will be presented automatically.
Take a look at the images below to see how they walk readers through any problem that might occur.
Notice how they also feature exact screen images that a user might see on their device to make the process more recognizable.
What can we learn from Control4? Making articles interactive improves the overall educational experience. If you can, implement a similar system using an interactive guide template to insert your content in. There are a few different services that offer a feature like this, including ServiceTarget’s content Flows.
A big aspect of crafting great technical documentation is how exactly the content is styled. This is often overlooked, but when done well, can really elevate your customer’s experience with your brand. By choosing the write colors, tone, voice, images, and overall style, you can bring boring technical writing to life.
Below, we will look at companies who have crafted successful and beautiful technical documentation style guides.
Peloton’s support content features a consistent style that is recognizable and pleasing to read. In the images below, you’ll notice the set of iconography they chose is easy to understand, simple, and clean which perfectly matches their brand as a whole.
Notice above how even the small arrows in the lists beneath the product names are the same color as the red/orange found on the bike itself.
What can we learn from Peloton? Implement a style guide and stick to it. This includes everything from your color scheme to your fonts, icons, and images.
Microsoft support, particularly for Xbox, also does a wonderful job of bringing their actual product to life in their help content. What makes their technical documentation memorable is how it mirrors the visual design of the Xbox in subtle ways.
In the images below, you’ll notice how they feature their iconic green throughout. And, they style their links to appear more like buttons.
What can we learn from Xbox? A little goes a long way. By making simple styling adjustments, you can really bring your technical articles to life. And, you can create a more memorable brand experience that customers are likely to recognize and recommend.
The final pillar of creating incredible technical documentation is placing it in a portal that is engaging, interactive, personalized, and frankly, fun to navigate through.
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to how they like to search and navigate through a site. Maybe you want to search keywords, or sort through product documentation, find helpful tools, or just explore resources. Samsung’s technical documentation covers all of these bases and more.
In the images below, you’ll notice that within just the support home page they offer loads of different ways you can find content, pleasing everyone’s needs. You can use their search that conveniently prompts ideas on what to look for or quick search buttons, explore based by product, select resources, and more.
And once you do make a selection, your query will bring you to a list information broken up by content type so you can choose exactly how you’d like to learn. Essentially, even if you didn’t choose the “resource” path in the beginning, you can still view the resources related to your search.
What can we learn from Samsung? Finding a balance between offering multiple navigational paths without overwhelming the user with too many options is key. Since every navigational choice begins on one simple landing page, their customers aren’t confused on how to find product support. Now, if all of these different navigational paths started on different website pages that led to entirely different lists of technical documentation, the experience would feel fragmented and confusing.
This may sound difficult to successfully build on your own, but luckily, there are tons of services out there that can get you started with a similar navigational experience. ServiceTarget’s knowledge base template aggregates content in a help center just like the one we analyzed above with all different convenient navigational paths that lead customer through a single, unified journey.
Another great technical documentation portal example is Kwikset. They follow a similar strategy to Samsung, offering multiple navigational starting points on their help center landing page. But, what sets them apart is how you have the option to scroll through the main page to find these options or you can simply click one of the buttons at the top above their search bar to be instantly directed to any path.
What can we learn from Kwikset? The easer you make the experience, the better. By simply adding extra links, you are removing another step your customers would have to take to find answers. And the more steps you can remove, the more likely a customer is to continue reading through your product knowledge to finding what they need.
There’s a lot to learn from these leading technical documentation examples. Everything from the kb article itself to the way it is designed and organized can impact your readers. When building your own knowledge-centered support experience, keep in mind the following:
That's not all! Our blog has tons to offer. Explore more posts below to keep learning!
As the world increasingly moves online, businesses are looking for ways to improve their customer experience (CX). Building digital customer experiences does not have to be complicated or time-consuming. With the right tools and approach, you can create amazing customer experiences without a single line of code. In this blog post, we'll discuss different approaches to creating managing, and optimizing the customer experience.continue reading →
Customer self-service portals provide an efficient way for customers to access content, perform convenient transactions and resolve common issues on their own, without having to call or email customer support. But not all self-service portals are created equal. In order to be effective, they need to have certain key features. Read on to find out what top features you should be looking for when building your customer portal.continue reading →
There is a lot to consider when evaluating and selecting the best system for your needs. In this blog, we will cover where to search for solutions and what to include on your shopping checklist.continue reading →
Customer knowledge is rooted in self-service and is fundamental for any successful business. It strengthens product success, which ultimately, creates a successful customer experience as a whole. And this is so crucial today.continue reading →
Are you looking for ways to create a customer-centric vision and culture in your business? If so, we're here to help. In this post, we'll outline four steps you can take to create a customer-centric culture in your business. Let's get started!continue reading →