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Using your profile is as easy as 1, 2, 3

October 25, 2010

How detailed a “tutorial” should be?

Before going through all those steps to create my profile I just wanted to see how difficult it would be. And then I clickled in the link “My Profile tour…” to understand the extension of the forms I had to fill up.

The first two tutorial steps

The first screen promoted an “easy as 1, 2, 3” way to use my profile. I was happy with this propaganda, so I clicked “next”.  I was not really in a mood to read all those texts, so I keep clicking “next”, and “next”,and “next”. All steps showed screen pictures along with instructions texts to manage the profile.  I was not really in the mood to read all th0se instructions, so I finished all 13 steps without getting any information about “Using my Profile”.

And then I thought. How detailed a “tutorial” should be to get the user’s attention and to allow a good information retention? What will be the user’s mood at the time he or she starts to read a “tutorial”.

I did a quick analysis about that scenario, the tutorial steps and the user (me) and I found out that a tutorial like this should foresee a user with short time (or patient) to go through the instructions.

Description and analysis of the scenario:

1) The user was not patient enough to scan more than 3 or 4 pages. But she went throughout the 13 pages without gain or retain any information.

2) Even after going through all 13 pages the user was willing to return to the whole tutorial to see if there was a easy way to get all that information.

3) There was not enough information in the titles to understand the process or the situation.

4) The screen images were ‘complex’ to interpret in a quick view and it needed some extra time to read and understand their meanings.

5) Some steps showed a short and easy to read text above the image, but those small texts were to far from the title and could be missed.

Some solutions for this scenario:

Solution 1) To offer a real state of the tutorial’s length instead tricking the user with this “as easy as 1, 2, 3” title/subtitle. Easiest solution to implement because all it has to be done is to add a sentence saying the truth next to the “next + arrow” link or near to the title/subtitle.

Solution 2)  To offer o real “easy 1, 2, 3” steps tutorial. It is not difficult and you can keep the longest tutorial. Offer to the user a possibility to chose

  • I don’t want to read much” which goes to a 3 easy steps to use the profile; and
  • I have time to read a detailed information in a longer tutorial (13 easy steps)” which leads the user to the actual tutorial the most important information.

Solution 3) To keep the 13 steps tutorial but offer understandable titles and subtitles. Offering an easy way to scan and gain/retain information during the process (even if it is long) would give a better understand about the profile management.

Conclusion: I believe I would have gain some information if there was, at least, better and noticeable titles and subtitles for each one of those 13 steps. Although, I think, an opportunity to chose between a fast or longer tutorial could be, also, something to be considered.

It’s a classic principle about books—the title and subtitle are among the most important words any author can write.” (link)


Finally, in order to write this post I remembered all I have learned about webwriting. I also remembered some posts and articles giving tips about how to increase traffic in your posts by writing good and interesting titles. Sure I did a small web research about “great titles and compelling subtitles” while writing this post and I learned a little bit more about this subject and acquired more interesting information. My research lead me to this interesting, short and direct saying:

Title and subtitle must work together. Your title is your noun and your subtitle is your verb. Let them agree. In agreeing, they are uniting the head and heart of your readers. Your title must appeal to your readers’ intellect and your subtitle to their emotions. Strive to capture the head and heart of your readers.” (link)

Of course a tutorial is not an article, but its function is to inform. Thus, it should be created with similar article/books rules: great titles and compelling subtitles.

Final 11 tutorial steps
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