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Perch Manual for Clients?

I am interested to know how Perchers provide help and training on Perch to their clients. I get a fair numbers of clients saying 'Do you provide a manual?'. I normally say that Perch is easy to use and if used regularly it doesn't take long to grasp after the initial training provided. However, people do often like to have something to refer to when they get stuck or forget which normally ends up with a call or email to us for assistance.

Has anyone created a generic Perch manual? I appreciate that on some installations there are things that are quite specific to that client however things like 'Creating Page', 'Editing a Page', 'Page SEO','Creating a blog post' etc are fundamental things in any installation in my experience.

I am contemplating creating something generic when I have time but wondered if anyone had done this already?

Alternatively, is it possible to edit or add to the the 'Help and Support' pages offered already within Perch?

Neil Duddridge

Neil Duddridge 1 points

  • 2 years ago

Quick and easy way that I find is to make a set of screencasts with my voiceover, editing various parts of the website, so they can see it happening before their eyes. I break them out into 3-5 minute chunks and make a /editor-training URL that is part of their website (you could password protect this if you want) which has buttons that link to the Perch admin as well of course the videos. I use Quickcast to make the videos.

We do the same as Adam. We're gradually building up a library of short videos, each on a specific subject and 1-2 mins maximum. They all show the basics of how to do one of the Perch tasks. Keeping them short means not too many go out of date as Perch changes and develops, or we add things like 'blocks' functionality to some sites. We put them all in one place and give all customers access to any of them. The initial training is a 15-20 min phone call and we often never hear from the customer again as they are off and running. Sometimes we can the occasional 'how do I do this' and its usually a cue to add another short video.

Graham I like the way you use the same videos for all clients!

Adam/Graham, great suggestions regarding short video, I had contemplated that previously but I wondered whether people would prefer written documentation.

Luckily Perch is pretty easy for most clients to get used to which is part of the reason we use it as the preferred CMS.

I ended up creating a some documentation last night to get the ball rolling. Generic content for common elements in Perch nothing specific, see what you think http://so53dev.co.uk/perchuserguide/ - still work in progress but it's a start. I think I will look at adding video too based on your comments

I've found that people don't read most things I send them. And they are even less likely to read them if they look long. Increasingly I find people respond to the first paragraph/question in anything I send, and then ignore (or don't reply) to the rest. Maybe I write too much (LOL)?

However, I've found that everyone is happy to watch a video and learn from it.

Neil, that looks good. Can I use that link in the next edition of the Perchology newsletter? https://perchology.curated.co

Rachel Andrew

Rachel Andrew 394 points
Perch Support

Just a little reminder before people do huge amounts of screenshots and video - the Perch UI will change quite a lot in 2.9. It shouldn't be a huge shock to anyone (it's still very Perch-like) but if you have a client who needs a video for basic content editing then you may be better to produce that for 2.9.

We'll be re-doing a lot of the Perch tutorial video at that point too, as it will all look wrong.

You can see some little bits here: https://grabaperch.com/blog/archive/a-glimpse-of-the-perch-2-9-ui

Thanks for the heads up Rachel.

Clive, sure. However, the final url may change at some point once I am happy with it but I will try and remember to advise you about it once complete. Feel free to review my wording and make suggestions :)

Graham - yeah I get what you are saying lol. I have a tendency to over do the writing too which might send clients to sleep however offering perhaps a balance of written instructions and video similar to how the Perch guys provide video with a video transcript (which I think is pretty neat) covers all angles!

If clients use their CMS regularly I tend not to hear from them on how to use it, it's those that don't update very often who end up needing a recap.

I recently made a small pdf booklet of instructions and screenshots which my client found quite helpful. They only have a blog and a couple text areas to amend so they didn't mind reading 7/8 A5 pages.

Thanks for the recommend Adam on Quickcast!

Clive Walker said:

Neil, that looks good. Can I use that link in the next edition of the Perchology newsletter? https://perchology.curated.co

Hi Clive,

I've seen your post on your newsletter, thanks for the credit :)

I've recently moved the user guide pages to a new location https://so53.co.uk/docs/perchuserguide/

The domain for the existing location now requires username/password to access so not viewable publically

Thanks, Neil

Many thanks for the update. I've changed the link in the archived newsletter.

Bit of a sidenote, but one thing I've always found very useful getting clients familiar with any CMS is to 'force' them pretty far ahead of launch (how far depends on the scale of the site / app) to do everything they can possibly think of in the CMS after a short (~30 minutes) personal demo. This works great, because a lot of times what's holding them back is fear of breaking stuff, which isn't an issue at that point. It's even better if they can come to your office for a day or so, so they can work on the site and have you near for help.

It's also a great way to let them discover what features they're missing, ideally everything should have been covered well ahead of this phase, but there's always a chance of a misunderstanding or an assumption.