Production value isn't as important as you think
Perfect is the enemy of good
I firmly believe it's more important video tutorials are clear, concise, and up to date versus on-brand.
Fancy graphics and upbeat music with on-brand typography and messaging don't matter if the content doesn't demonstrate how to do something quickly and efficiently. While nice, these items are secondary to the actual content and generally slow the content production process.
When product features and updates are pushed to production, accompanying tutorials should be published as well.
Focus on being clear and concise
Avoid what annoys you when following a tutorial.
Tasty recipe videos are great because they concisely provide ingredients and instructions. Recipe websites can be awful when I have to scroll past many stuff endlessly I don't care about to get to the ingredients and instructions. fyiio's 2.5-minute video length cap emphasizes content be short, sweet, and to the point, while our tutorial viewer lets users skip to the point most relevant to them.
As I've mentioned previously, create the written guide first if you don't have a video yet. It'll help organize all your thoughts on a process and break them down into a step-by-step manner.
While you're doing this...
Would your grandma understand your instructions?
It becomes natural to use a product when your full-time job involves designing, building, or supporting it. As time goes on, you might assume new customers will feel the same way. Do not fall into this trap. Your product is not "easy enough anyone can do it." If that were the case, customers wouldn't create tickets asking for help, knowledge bases wouldn't exist, and you (or others) wouldn't be creating tutorials for your products.
Case in point: fyiio publishes tutorials on how to create tutorials on its tutorial platform.
Forks in the road
Hitting unexpected roadblocks halfway through a tutorial — or needing to look up how to do something talked about in a guide — can be extremely frustrating to a viewer. While creating your tutorials, try to think of potential errors or mistakes a user might encounter or make ahead of time. If you're able, use data from your customer success, product, and/or engineering team(s) to provide insight here.
If there's a chance of a fork in the road while following a process: call it out, provide instructions, and include/link additional resources if necessary.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, why is this tutorial different from what I saw?
Tutorials should closely mirror what a user would see in your product as much as possible.
If creating a web app tutorial, consider using a brand new user account and your browser's incognito mode. This can reduce the likelihood you accidentally skip a step in the process due to browser cookies, changed settings, customizations, permissions, or features that apply to one type of user and not the other.
Hardware product? Start by unboxing the product and setting it up completely from scratch. In the box, include a QR code customers can scan to receive the most up-to-date instructions. Remember, future changes to tutorials on fyiio are applied everywhere, even if it's printed on a QR code.
Ask yourself the following:
- Would grandma understand what I'm trying to convey?
- Am I using a lot of jargon and acronyms? Am I providing definitions the first time they're used?
- Are there any forks in the road my viewers might encounter?
- Am I assuming my viewers understand how to do something in my tutorial?
- Did I go through this tutorial myself, or test it with someone else?
Save your raw files and work files.
Buy yourself an external drive — preferably a solid-state drive (SSD) — and use the drive exclusively for storing the raw video, images, voiceovers, and actual project files for your tutorials. You can download the template I use below; copy this template for each tutorial you create.
Saving all the assets and work files makes it incredibly simple to update content since you aren't starting from scratch each time. Super helpful if only minor edits are needed. Make sure you're naming each audio file, photo, video clip, etc. (I know it's a pain, but it's worth it.)
Once a tutorial is complete, consider moving the folder to a cloud-hosted service like Dropbox.
Download the template I use »