Is Your Product Documentation a Liability?

April 3, 2023
Maili Neverosky

New standards for electronic safety warnings highlight the need for up-to-date, easily accessible product information. 

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is poised to approve new standards for electronic safety warnings, creating the first clear framework for the use of websites, smartphone apps, QR codes, and even virtual reality tools to deliver critical product safety information. 

That’s a powerful reminder that digitized documentation now plays a critical role in determining manufacturers’ legal liability relating to accidents or other problems relating to their products. Giving users frictionless access to accurate and up-to-date product information isn’t just the key to ensuring a positive user experience — it’s also the best way to protect your business against costly lawsuits, regulatory actions, and reputational harm. 

What makes digital documentation so effective when it comes to keeping your customers safe, while also shielding your organization from legal liability? Below are four key imperatives to well-managed digital documentation. 

👉🏾 1. Put information at users’ fingertips.

Product manuals get stuffed in drawers and ignored — but with a mobile-friendly digital platform, you can seamlessly inject critical information and safety warnings into the user’s workflow. With affixed QR codes instantly directing users to authoritative information, auto-generated model-specific FAQs, and manufacturer-approved how-to guides, using your products becomes easier, safer, and far more rewarding. 

🔄 2. Deliver over-the-air updates.

A product manual reflects the best information available in the moment that it’s published — but what if regulatory requirements change, errors are discovered, or new use-cases emerge? Digitized documentation empowers you to push out updates at the click of a button, ensuring users and field technicians always have access to the most current information — without the expense of issuing updates to printed manuals, or the risk of users relying on outdated instructions or safety warnings. 

📊 3. Leverage data to elevate your product.

Instructions explain how a product should be used, but it can be hard to anticipate how consumers will engage with your product in the real world. Digital documentation turns every customer interaction into a data point, surfacing pain points or areas of uncertainty, and enabling your team to close the loop by delivering clear instructions or refreshed safety warnings based on challenges faced by real-world users.   

ℹ️ 4. Verify engagement with your manual.

Liability litigation and regulatory actions often hinge on whether product users were presented with sufficiently clear and accessible information. Going digital makes manuals easier to access, but also removes the guesswork: you can keep track of precisely when users accessed your documentation, which version they saw, and even which specific passages of your documentation were displayed to them.

Rapid and Accurate Digitization Powered by AI

Of course, going digital can bring challenges. Your product folks, technical writers, and legal team likely invested significant time and energy producing and vetting your product manual, and ensuring that it provides fully accurate information and meets all relevant regulatory requirements. As you digitize that documentation, you need to ensure that no details are lost or distorted along the way. 

That’s why Conveyer uses proprietary AI technologies and natural language processing to rapidly turn paper or PDF manuals into a dynamic digital solution without compromising the integrity of the source documentation. We preserve and accurately convey all your existing documentation — while making it seamlessly discoverable via QR codes and a customized, customer-centric digital platform. 

Product-related liability can be a serious business risk, so check in with your legal team to ensure you’re making your product documentation and safety warnings easily accessible to all your users. Then reach out to Conveyer — and learn how we can reduce your risk exposure by turning manuals and other mission-critical documentation into a dynamic, up-to-date, and data-driven digital resource.