Why No One is Reading Your Product User Manual

September 22, 2022
Baochi Nguyen

Curious why no one is reading your product user manual? Are customers struggling to self-serve successfully from your online technical information? Is your customer support call volume high? Are you fielding returns and unfounded negative product reviews?

Chances are, your antiquated 1000-word PDF user manual is at the heart of the problem. The reality is that pdf documents are hard to locate online because they’re often not formatted for easy discovery by search algorithms, which prefer HTML pages. What’s more, modern consumers prefer digital mediums for product instructions and troubleshooting.

According to an award-winning study, ”Life Is Too Short to RTFM: How Users Relate to Documentation and Excess Features in Consumer Products,” most people don’t read manuals and find it difficult to read, navigate and find information in the traditional structure and layout of product documentation.

In another study by Allstate Protection Plans, only 50% of appliance customers read manuals to understand or trouble their products. 58% prefer to search the internet instead of user manuals for product tips and instructions.

Top Three Reasons Why Users Aren’t Reading Your User Manual

1. PDF Documents Are Not Easily Discoverable

Today’s savvy users have very little patience for delays and snags. They prefer self-serve options that help them quickly find answers in a frictionless way –– and old-fashioned product documentation comprising hundreds of pdf pages is decidedly not a frictionless experience. For one, pdfs aren’t always discoverable via search engines, which work best with html content. And even when consumers find the relevant pdf manual, they have a difficult time parsing through the content to get the answers they are looking for.

2. Printed Manuals Fall Into a Black Hole

Who reads product manuals anyway? When it comes to unboxing a purchase, consumers are eager to use their new product and tend to ignore the printed manual included in the packaging. These documents wind up in the recycling bin or in a box filled with countless other manuals.

3. PDF Manuals Are Difficult to Navigate

Perhaps your pdf manuals are available online, but are they formatted in a way that is searchable and readable? If not, your customers won’t be able to easily search the pdf document to find the information they seek. Or, they will have difficulty reading the text on their mobile devices.

Forward-Thinking Companies Beef Up on Digital, User-Friendly Content

Many forward-thinking companies are moving towards dynamic and intuitive online self-serve customer experience options via QR code access, allowing for instant solutions, flawless customer experiences and fueling:

  • Self-serve strategy
  • Independent self-led resolution
  • Brand loyalty
  • Positive customer experience
  • Operational efficiency

Today’s consumers want relevant answers that they can easily access on-the-go. They want more than just a universal search option on your website or a downloadable PDF of your manual. Having to hunt for answers frustrates them. Consumers want to be able to access trusted product knowledge fast. Consolidating your static technical product information content into an easy-to-navigate dynamic personalized experience is a win-win.

Convey It Better With Digital Documentation

Ready to convey it better and unlock the power of your technical product documentation and manuals with the click of a vanity QR code? 

Conveyer's AI-powered platform transforms your static documentation into dynamic online experiences, giving customers easy access to helpful product info and providing businesses with new opportunities to increase customer lifetime value by unlocking hidden revenue.

Send our team your product manual, and we’ll unlock its full potential in just one week!