This is the first article in a four-part series, based on my presentation at the Joomla World Conference.
We've all been there. You deliver that shiny new website to your client; they are excited to have this new outreach on the Internet; and you're ready to get that final payment when they ask you the question: "So, how do I change this word here?” While the wording may differ from client to client, the underlying question remains the same: “How do I keep my site up to date?”
At that point, you probably realize once again that your least favorite task in web design and working with clients is something that once again you have forgotten to finish: documentation.
Through this series of articles, I want to help you develop a system of documenting the websites you build for clients in an easy, helpful way that will not only make you look good, but help with the long term retention of your client.
Here are five reasons I think using video to train your clients makes sense.
We suck at documentation - most of us really do! I’ve built well over one hundred client sites and this is one of the more difficult things that I do because it’s my least favorite task. Over the years I've developed a basic manual for the core of Joomla! and supplemented it with some generic video. While those are somewhat adequate, clients want material that uses their website and their content to help them understand how to maintain their site.
Video is a great way to show and explain the steps necessary to create and maintain content on the website. Depending on the learner, watching a video seeing the mouse actually move, and actions being taken, is far more helpful than the printed manual, even if it includes images. Add a voiceover that explains what you're doing, and the user gets a much more rich experience in learning how to maintain their site.
Its easy to host and link video right into their Joomla site. User manuals can be lost in the shuffle more times than we know. Once a video is created, hosted and tied to their site, it is far less likely to be lost when they can watch the tutorials on their own website.
In a later article I’m going to suggest that it's quite easy to create videos while you're doing your site build. For the sake of this introduction, it's important to remember that by implementing video creation into your workflow, you're eating this documentation elephant one bite at a time. (image here)
Finally, video training allows you to be personal and stay connected with your client. Every time they watch a video, hear your voice and see you on screen, they are making that connection back to you. While giving them this more permanent form of training might seem counterproductive from a maintenance standpoint, providing the tools they need to maintain their own website and the training to back that up, makes you a designer that stands out from the crowd. When transition occurs, as it does in most businesses, you'll be introduced to a whole new group of staff in a more personal way, and you'll most likely be the first person they call when they need help.
I'd like to share just one caveat here that I think is important. Video training is not for everyone. We all learn differently and it's important to remember people's different learning styles. I would always recommend a combination of video and print/pdf materials to help your clients in this training process.
Next month, we’ll cover what you need - from the technology to the “P’s & Q’s”.