Take the 2-minute tour ×
User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Almost all online help (OLH) "best practices" and solutions seem designed exclusively for software and assume that the tasks will be performed directly on a computer. Now, what about help for field installers of complex systems built from physical hardware components? These components form the building blocks for several distinct higher-level solutions.

Installation technique can be crucial, and the installers vary widely in terms of expertise. Sometimes, conceptual or engineering knowledge is required to make adjustments in the field. It would be great to include animations but have it integrated with other media types. Installers may have limited English language skills. Search features might need visual matching. Sometimes, the same hardware component has different usages depending on context. And, a subset of users/readers might be looking for engineering details or regulatory information.

My particular application is a patented rooftop mounting system for solar PV arrays, but other examples could include repair for specific high-end automotive brands, or military equipment field guides.

share|improve this question
1  
So what's your question? What solution are you looking for? I see a question, but it's a pretty broad hypothetical. How can we help? –  Dominic Aug 13 '13 at 19:10
    
YouTube seems to be the place where many companies put installation/usage instructions for hardware. Examples: Crutchfield's electronics How-To‌​, Lowes water heater installation, Dewalt mitre saw operation –  user1757436 Aug 20 '13 at 17:20
add comment

closed as unclear what you're asking by Benny Skogberg, Erics, ChrisF, JonW Dec 31 '13 at 10:41

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

3 Answers

Based on your question, I am guessing you are looking for help page/guide examples for unfamiliar or complex hardwares. I haven't looked into many hardware sites or seen many examples of what you described but I'd start digging through hardware company help pages and see if that helps. e.g. Here is the help guide from Nest which is a thermostat.

share|improve this answer
add comment

This is a very nice question!

I think video's might the best solution for your problem. However you could also do a step-by-step photo guide like on the diynetwork.com:

http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-install-an-exterior-solar-panel/index.html

On gamespot there's also a guide on how to install your computer http://www.gamespot.com/forums/pc-mac-discussion-1000004/picture-guide-to-computer-building-and-hardware-in-26986920/

This might be a bit more in the direction of your complex situation, the first example seems kinda simple, where the 2nd one goes more in depth, and also requires a higher level of correctness.

I think you should also keep the following things in mind:

  • For who am I creating this guide?
  • How will the End User use them, and what system are they using now.
  • What will the learning curve be.

If it is for installers(end user), you'd better ask their ideas aswell. They might be able to tell you which system/method they prefer.

share|improve this answer
add comment

My Brother printer has a nice little bit of software, built out of Flash and which installed with the printer drivers, that provides an animated guide to replacing the toner cartridge.

The advantage of this over a youtube video is that you can step it through the stages as you go through the process.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.