Three key principles for mobile-ready product documentation

February 20, 2018

One day, Greg’s printer stopped working and the only signal it was showing him was a red blinking light. He didn’t know what that meant. He could’ve just let it be, but he needed to print a document that same day and the nearest internet café was miles away from him. Being that consumer who typically don’t read and eventually loses device manuals, he started googling, “(printer brand name) (printer model) red blinking light” on his mobile. He clicked on the first search result.

Greg had his doubts, it was after all an old model, released seven to eight years ago. Plus, printer troubleshooting is almost always a tedious task from his previous experience. But to his surprise, the printer company had clear and intuitive step-by-step guide for his old printer’s model. It had spot-on questions that reflect what he was presently experiencing, as well as explanations for the different colors and behaviors of the blinking lights. Apart from those, he also noticed the customer support’s contact information and a comment box throughout his ordeal, all in very accessible view.

Examining the prospects of mobile user experience

There are many people like Greg around the world. In fact, Google sees more than half of its 100 billion monthly searches are occurring on mobile devices in the United States. In particular, according to iPerceptions, 38% of users accessing a website on their mobiles primarily do so to research.

The dawn of mobile has created another battleground for companies. From merely a tool to make calls and send text messages, mobile has become a powerful means to connect to the digital world, creating another space for customers and companies to interact with each other. However, it’s more than just a platform, the real value comes in (companies) delivering and (customers) receiving truly relevant and useful mobile user experience. Just like Greg’s.

For companies with products and services that range from simple to complex, documentation plays a key role in enhancing mobile user experience. On top of being a source of troubleshooting manuals, product documentation provides credible information for people searching about related matters. It also serves as a source of ideas to increase productivity, enhance communication, streamline processes, and encourage innovation. The bottom line: Product documentation helps people find the answers they need, resulting to satisfied and loyal users.

Optimizing product documentation for success

To successfully deliver results for customers and companies, product documentation needs to be integrated within the overall mobile user experience. Regardless of the type of products and services, or who the users are, following these three overarching principles are going to make product documentation reach its full potential.

Speed. According to Jason Spero, Google’s VP of Global Performance Solutions, 53% of mobile visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes more than three seconds to load. In addition to increasing mobile app or site performance, companies can implement an intelligent (dynamic) product documentation portal, that prevents amazing content from “breaking” before it reaches users. Easily tagging and indexing content, supporting rapid one-click publication, and giving users the option of an automated and faceted search can provide the content users need in no time.

Ease. Along the same lines of speed, product documentation delivery must be flawless. Complex, unintelligible content turns users away. In fact, Forrester VP and Principal Analyst Shar VanBoskirk, mentioned about people craving for “a simpler set of experiences, a simpler life” today and that companies must provide a “concierge-like experience, a smooth representation of the brand.” For product documentation, this can be achieved by pushing highly relevant content, enabling effortless search across all content, and putting up elements like live filtering and search result previews.

Access. Mobile usage is growing because users access it faster, anytime, and anywhere, so making product documentation available in mobile web search is vital. In fact, Google found that 29% of mobile users “immediately switch to another site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (that is, they can’t find information or it’s too slow).” To prevent this from happening, ensure that product documentation automatically indexes to search engines, so users can find the authorized information they want via Google, on web and mobile, and not just through the company website.

Mobile-friendly product documentation guarantees it doesn’t stay dormant and miss the opportunities to engage customers and provide exceptional mobile user experiences. Understanding that speed, ease, and access are essentials to provide truly relevant, mobile-optimized, and personalized experiences moves companies one step closer to generating deeper and more meaningful engagement with mobile users. And what comes out of all this? More than growth and revenue, satisfied and loyal users.


At Zoomin, our mission is to leverage your product content to ensure success throughout the customer journey. From your documentation portal to your social community, from web search to connected devices, with Zoomin your content will always be there for the people who need it: your customers.


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Zoomin Software