The end of two-faced product documentation?

At some stage or another, a technical communicator is likely to have seen this image from Kathy Sierra:

How we treat customers

In her blog post from 2006, she said:

Why do so many companies treat potential users so much better than existing users? Think about it. The brochure is a thing of beauty, while the user manual is a thing of boredom. The brochure gets the big budget while the manual gets the big index.

It looks like some companies have taken heed of this message and are starting to change. We’re noticing the signs of greater consistency between pre- and post- sales literature for Software as a Service (SaaS) products.

If your product is delivered on the same Web presence as your promotional material, it makes sense to have a consistent approach to all of the content. The information design may be different to suit the needs of the user and the content, but the organisation speaks with a single voice.

Equally, for many SaaS offerings, there is often a “try before you buy” or freemium sales model. If users are put off by the post-sales support and documentation, they may never move onto the chargeable service.

Is your company changing? Is there greater consistency now between the image and identity portrayed in pre-sales information and post-sales content?

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