Storytelling in documentation

Don’t just instruct, take your users on a journey! How storytelling helps you to provide support services that your audience will remember.

Text by Stephanie Grubenmann


Image: © Athitat Shinagowin/

Storytelling is not limited to fairy tales. It is a user-centric communication method that strives to make information as accessible as possible. By looking at specific techniques from storytelling, we can get useful inputs for writing helpful, empathic product manuals, user guides, and troubleshooting documentation.

I’m inviting you on a journey. A journey to a place where users are more and more used to a plug-and-play world. Young users in particular just try things out and hope to get by without guidance or training. These users try out new software or products with the attitude that they are ready to use, self-explanatory. An attitude that will only become more common – I promise you that.

But sometimes plug-and-play and self-exploration just don’t work. An application may simply be too complex for the user to understand every step automatically. Or the basic functions are clear, ...