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Chrysler Drops Long Car Manuals in Favor of Short Guides + Video

Sep 30, 2009 • general

Chrysler moved their car manuals from the traditional thick paper manual to a shorter format  accompanied by a DVD. Chrysler says the switch will not only save 20,000 trees a year, the videos on the DVD will also be more helpful to users trying to perform tasks. The shorter quick reference guides will still be 60-80 pages long (judging from the photo below, they also look more attractively designed).

Chrysler's new documentation strategy: short guides + video + DVD
Chrysler's new documentation strategy: short guides + video + DVD

With my emphasis on quick reference guides and video tutorials, I feel like I've followed a similar move as Chrysler's. I do like to have a car manual in my glove box, but only for simple, quick information -- what type of oil, what does this or that light mean, how do you change a bulb, etc. I don't need to know the full array of reference information. When I need that info, I can look it up on a computer and print off the relevant topics.

(There's a brief discussion on the latest New York Times Tech Talk podcast about the move from paper manuals to DVDs.)

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here.