Simple things can become complex quickly when there’s no guide to explain them.
For example, Imagine purchasing a new product, eagerly opening the box, and discovering that no user manual or handbook is included. The thrill and excitement of buying something new or experiencing a new product quickly become replaced with frustrations after a few unsuccessful attempts and still not knowing where to begin or how to use the product.
The absence of a user guide can make it difficult for users to understand the product's features, troubleshoot problems, and ultimately get the most out of their purchase. And without clear instructions or guidance, users might quickly conclude a negative experience with a product or brand. Today, where word of mouth is vital, this can significantly hurt a business's income and ratings.
In contrast, if a product has a comprehensive user guide, anyone can quickly learn how to use or sell it, increasing the productivity and profitability of the product.
In this article, we will explore the importance of user guides, the key features of a user guide, and some of the top user guide software to try out in 2023.
Top user guide software of 2023
- Scribe — AI-powered process documentation
- HelpJuice — Create & manage knowledge databases
- ClickHelp — User guides & documentation
- MadCapFlare — Technical content development
- ScreenSteps — Guides & walkthroughs
- Paligo — Manage technical documentation
By the end of this article, you will better understand the importance of user guides and how they can help your businesses improve customer experience.
What is a user guide?
A user guide is a document designed to help users understand and operate a product, software, or service. It typically provides step-by-step instructions on using a product or service, troubleshooting issues and performing everyday tasks.
They are an essential need for any business, as they help provide users with a clear understanding of how to get value from a product or service
What is user guide software?
A user guide software is designed to help businesses create, manage, and publish technical documentation, SOPs, FAQs and tutorials. It provides a platform to create detailed guides that walk users through a process or task, helping them understand how to use a product or service.
Importance of user guide software
In 2023, the demand for user guide software is high, with more and more companies recognizing the importance of providing their customers with easy-to-follow informative guides.
User guide software creates interactive tutorials, FAQs and step-by-step demos, which help customers learn how to use a product or service, understand a process, or troubleshoot an issue faster. By providing customers with this kind of guidance, you help them get the most out of your products and services, resulting in higher customer satisfaction.
In addition, user guide software is also great for assisting employees to stay up-to-date with company policies and procedures. By using them to create user guides that include detailed instructions, you can ensure your employees are well informed and up-to-date on any changes or updates that have been made to your organization’s processes or procedures. They are also valuable for onboarding new employees instead of running over company practices tirelessly; new employees can have solid documentation to reference.
Features of a good user guide software
A user guide software should encompass a few of the features listed below to make it easy to work with to create well-thought-out and written documentation:
1. Search functionality
Sometimes valuable time is lost trying to access the information you need at a given time; good user software has provisions that cater to that and enable users quickly find the information they need by entering keywords or phrases related to the query.
2. Step-by-step guides and tutorials
This is an essential feature to look out for in user guide software. Most users would require detailed step-by-step guides that walk them through specific parts and functions within a software providing clear and concise instructions for each step.
3. Visual aids
This will come in very useful for documentation that requires illustrations. So, the ability to add screenshots, diagrams and videos to break down complex processes and procedures for users will make the experience more seamless.
4. Interactive elements
Interactive elements such as quizzes, checklists and progress trackers can be a fun way to help users learn faster, assess their understanding of the software and track their progress as they know.
5. Regular software updates
A good user guide software always makes helpful updates to improve the user's life and experience with the tool. Customers will always drop feedback on their experience, so a thing to look out for is how often new and relevant updates are made to a user guide software before choosing it.
6. Great customer support
User guide softwares are mostly very technical tools, but not all people who need to use the software are technically inclined. A good user guide software caters to every type of user on its platform by providing helpful guides, FAQs and a standby customer support team to assist users who get stuck.
7. Integration & collaboration
A good user guide supports team collaboration with features like in-document editing and commenting, seamless shareability options and integrations with other tools and platforms.
Why you need user guide software
There are so many reasons why user guide softwares are relevant, especially if you are in a managerial role like product management, customer support, or human resources or a technical role like engineering and technical writing. Operating in any of these roles involves creating resources that need to be backed up and updated months or years after they were made. User guide softwares ensure you can do this effectively.
Other reasons why you need this software include:
- To provide and improve user experience.
- To increase productivity levels of employees.
- Reduce the cost of running the customer support team.
- To enhance brand reputation.
If you need help figuring out the best practices for creating a user guide, we've written a straightforward guide here.
Let's look at a few user guide software options to consider in 2023.
1. Scribe — AI-powered process documentation
G2 Rating: 4.8 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.9 out of 5.0
- Free Plan
- The pro plan starts at $23/per month for individuals and $12 per month/per 5 persons for teams
Scribe is a screen capture and process documentation software that turns any process into a step-by-step guide. It is designed to help users of all categories save time, resources and energy by documenting any process seamlessly.
You can create guides, SOPs, wikis, training manuals, and company documentation for free on Scribe.
The software offers a range of customizable features to help you effectively create and manage your knowledge database. You can edit and add multiple scribes in one place and create rich-text documents with images, videos, and other multimedia content with Scribe pages.
You can also share or embed a Scribe on other existing tools and platforms,
The tool has an easy-to-use interface, and you don't require technical knowledge or know-how to create a Scribe. Once you've installed the extension to your browser, all you need to do is click “record,” It instantly captures the content on your screen.
Ever wanted to customize your Chrome Web Page Home Background to feel more like your vibe? Well, you can, and here's a scribe that shows you how to. This Scribe was created in 55 seconds
How to customize your Chrome Browser Webpage
The software is a great place to start for individuals and businesses who want great value on a budget while maintaining excellent documentation culture.
2. Helpjuice — Create & manage knowledge databases
G2 Rating 4.3 out 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0
- 14-day free trial plan available
- Starter plan: $120.00/month per 4 user
- Premium plan: $289/month for 60 users
Helpjuice is a cloud-based knowledge management software that provides businesses with an intuitive and easy-to-use interface to create and manage their knowledge database, including user guides, FAQs and tutorials. Helpjuice has a powerful search engine feature to enable you quickly find the documentation you need and offers customized branding for users and analytics.
The analytics and reports feature is helpful because businesses can visualize data to tell if customers find value in the content they are putting together.
One of the critical advantages of Helpjuice is its multiple language options. The software is also designed to be simple and user-friendly, making it easy for non-technical users to create and manage their knowledge base.
The tool encourages sharing and collaboration. You can set documents to private or public view, an excellent feature for creating user guides for external use (customers) or internal use (employees).
Helpjuice also offers a range of integrations with other tools like Slack, Salesforce, Zendesk, Zapier, Google Drive, Microsoft Teams, and WordPress, making it a versatile tool for businesses of all sizes.
It's suitable for Large Enterprises, Mid Size Businesses, No-Profit, Small Business
3. ClickHelp — User guides & documentation
G2 Rating: 4.8 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0
- Starter Plan: $179 per month
- Growth Plan: $285 per month
- Professional Plan: $580 per month
ClickHelp is a powerful user guide and documentation software designed to help businesses and technical writers create and manage their online documentation in one place.
The software includes various features, including a built-in editor, customizable templates and collaboration tools. One of the standout features of ClickHelp is its customer service and support. Users mention it's very hands-on and present.
Although the software is unavailable on mobile devices, it's optimized for mobile devices, ensuring user guides look great on any screen size. ClickHelp also offers a range of integrations, including JIRA, Zendesk, and GitHub, so you can easily import or migrate existing documents.
There's no free plan, and a con might be the restrictive template options available on the platform. It's also slightly technical, and non-technical users might need to learn HTML and CSS to enjoy using the tool fully.
4. MadCap Flare — Technical content development
G2 Rating: 4.4 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.1 out of 5.0
MadCap Flare Pricing
- 30-day Free Trial
- $182 per user per month
MadCap Flare Overview
MadCap Flare is another user guide software designed for technical writers and content developers to create various types of content, such as online helps, SOPs, user manuals and software documentation.
The software is designed to handle large and complex documentation projects, making it an excellent choice for businesses that require detailed technical documentation
Users can choose from many flexible and customizable feature options to fit any documentation need or requirement, such as content management, multi-channel publishing, and localization support.
Note that it's a highly technical tool requiring technical knowledge for optimal use. It is also not the easiest tool to use; users might need to spend time learning how to use the software.
5. ScreenSteps — Guides & walkthroughs
G2 Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 4.8 out of 5.0
- Standard: $239 per month per 25 users
- Advanced: $479 per month per 25 users
- Reach out to the team for custom options.
ScreenSteps is a knowledge-based management software designed for businesses and organizations to create and manage instructional content, knowledge articles, checklists, workflows, tutorials and guides.
Its intuitive interface enables users to create guides with images, videos and text. It also features a collaborative platform allowing teams to collaborate on documentation projects.
One of the standout features of ScreenSteps is its ability to create walkthroughs. With the software's step-by-step instructions, users can create comprehensive guides that walk users through a process, making it ideal for software training or complex tasks. It gives businesses detailed insights into how customers use their user guides, allowing them to optimize their content and improve their customer experience.
Additionally, ScreenSteps offers integrations with various applications such as Salesforce, Zendesk, and WordPress, providing a seamless experience for users.
ScreenSteps is an excellent tool for businesses that want to empower and improve employee performance by cutting off repetitive processes.
However, the tool has no free plan and might be expensive for companies on slim budgets.
6. Paligo — Manage technical documentation
G2 Rating: 4.7 out of 5.0
Capterra Rating: 3.0 out of 5.0
- Reach out to the team for Pricing details.
Paligo is an all-in-one solution for businesses to create, manage and publish technical documentation.
Paligo's software is a game-changer for managing both topics and publications. It also allows publishing in multiple formats, including Word, PDF, and HTML. The product also has excellent documentation, making it easy for users to understand and use the software.
It features a collaborative platform that allows teams to work together on documentation projects, and its editor enables users to create text-based documents with images and videos.
One of the standout features of Paligo is its ability to break down large documentation projects into smaller components, making it easier to manage and update content. Paligo also offers integrations with various tools, including Salesforce and Zendesk, providing a seamless experience for users.
Although many users agree with its ease of use, some have expressed difficulty with the API documentation
Conclusion: Finding the right user guide software
In summary, to ensure that your users can quickly access the necessary information and effectively use your products or services without seeking external help, you must equip them with appropriate information to use.
And with technologies like all we've listed above now readily available, it is now easier to achieve this and provide a comprehensive knowledge base for users or employees to search, locate, and implement any process at any given time. Doing so can minimize user queries, reduce training duration, enhance performance metrics and increase user satisfaction.
We have curated this list to help you make the right choice and choose the one best suited to your needs. Whether you need to create simple user guides or complex technical documentation, there's a user guide software for your goals.
However, if you'd like to try out a budget-friendly user guide and process documentation tool requiring low- effort or technical skill, get started with Scribe here— Try Scribe for free now!