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

by Tom Johnson on Sep 30, 2009 •
categories: technical-writing

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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