One of the most obvious questions people have when they get started is what kind of guides to create. This document is meant to help you answer that. Once you get a guide or two under your belt, we've found that folks find lots of other opportunities for more. To help you build your first few Guides, here are three areas to consider:

  1. Reference Guides
  2. Onboarding Guides
  3. Workflow Guides

Let's take these one at a time.

Reference Guides

Reference guides are simple triggered guides that work when a user clicks on a portion of an application or arrives on a page or document. This would be a way to give a user more context (e.g., here is how we define our bug hierarchy)

Here is an example in a system we use called Linear. When we enter a new bug, we need to give it a label. When you click on label, a Variance guide opens up to explain to a user how we think about labeling at Variance.

Here is a GIF of the workflow:

Onboarding Guides

Another simple guide to get started with would be one to take your users through how you, specifically, use an application inside of an organization.

An example of an onboarding guide is the guide you see when you first open up at your subdomain. For another example, here is an example of how we onboard new employees at Variance to Notion.

Complicated Workflows (easier than you think!)

Take a workflow that maybe only a few people inside of your organization know how to do, ask them to write it down, and then build it out. This will demystify how complicated it is when you can see it in the application (vs. just in a doc) and also derisk the concern that someone knows how to do something, and no one else does (e.g., key-person risk!).

An example would be an 18 step workflow in Mailchimp that we have. Without Variance, it would be next to impossible to know how to do this. And even if it were written in a doc, it would still be very complicated to follow. Once in Variance, it helps guide you through the process.

A Mental Model for Writing Guides

Here is a fun image to think about guides. Noah wrote more about this in a blog post: The 6 Rules of Good Documentation.

Let us know if you have any questions.

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