It seems as though writers of technical and end user content have often bolted on additional duties to the more traditional “I write the manuals.” As a consumer of various products, I’m used to reading labels, assembly instructions, user guides, FAQs, etc. either in a physical form or online. And even though I hail from the end of the Boomer generation, os I have a more print-comfy learning style, I’ll even watch DIY shows and videos. Over the years, I’ve found myself writing content variously categorized as tech support, customer support, training, learning, help systems, and others. Sometimes delivered as a script or storyboard, more often as topics, documents or books. Dealing with delivery of new media outputs doesn’t come up nearly as often as how to produce good html or PDFs. This points me to a need to find out about how other content pros view the use of video to support customers… hence this month’s poll question. If video has a role to play in corporate content delivery, how much, how often, and how to know if it’s a good investment?
Producing good video content seems inherently more challenging since it involves so much more than writing and layout. Tools available today do ease that process in much the same way as old DTP tools did back at the turn of the century. But how often are those tools part of the technical communications or content team’s environment? I haven’t seen anyone put “technical videographer” on a resume or LinkedIn. And while the technology evolves continuously, it’s still challenging to make video content as searchable, and therefore findable, as text-based content.
Many technical content folks are adding video to their skill sets, which we find very cool and promising. On the other hand, how often does the content planning for their companies include the tasks involved to leverage video fully? Do the product managers holler about making sure those changes are incorporated into the video feeds before the general release? And will the target audience actually use it if they can get to it?
Whether you currently handle video content as part of your duties, or think the task may be thrust upon you at some point, do take a moment to vote in the poll and provide your thoughts about effectiveness, usability, ROI or anything else that can improve our understanding of video’s role in technical content.