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In many cases, online documentation is essentially only a manual on screen. But Online documentation can do so much more. It’s running on a computer! It’s software! It can do anything that a computer can do!

Stop thinking in terms of traditional user manuals. Bring your content to life and make it interactive.

However, one word of caution:

As the word says, interaction also means action. To take action, users must be motivated. To be motivated, there must be some clear benefit. Therefore, only make things interactive if this actually provides some clear extra value. Don’t provide interactivity just for its own sake.

You have the following options:

Interactive 2D images are clickable or hoverable images in general—both drawings and photos. The xy position of the mouse pointer is evaluated and triggers an action. Most often, interactions display additional information in one way or another.

Interactive 3D images show a 3D model of an object and its components. The model can be manipulated in all 3 dimensions. For example, users can rotate the object, isolate its components, and often also run 3D animations.

Interactive video (hypervideo) contains embedded, interactive anchors. By clicking these anchors, users can navigate within the video or trigger other functions.

Augmented reality provides a composite view by superimposing an image or other data on a user’s live view of the real world.

Scripts and more … can perform any actions for users, such as calculate values or look them up in a database, interact with the product, or guide the users through an e-learning course.

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