Microsoft’s Dynamics Guides is a useful tool to provide visual and audio aides for step by step instructions and hands-on training. Using the Hololens 2, Guides displays holograms, images, text, and video to achieve effective, interactive training manuals.
Creating a Guide is easy and intuitive. We’ve written some best practices to help you create Guides that are easy to maintain and take less iteration before being deployed. Below are useful tips to keep your Guides concise, intuitive and working well.
Outlining your Guide
When designing your Guide, start with a rough outline then flush out more detailed steps. The Guides Desktop application is a great place to start. Break the entire process into a series of “tasks” and then break each task into a series of “steps”. An example of tasks for a generic assembly guide could be:
Task 1: Equipment Check and Setup
Task 2: Stage One Assembly
Task 3: Stage Two Assembly
Task 4: Complete Assembly
Task 5: Verify Assembly
Task 6: Complete
Each of these tasks would have a variety of instructions that detail discrete steps for the process. We recommend your first task should always be a confirmation for the user – “Is this the correct Guide for the task being worked on? and “Are all required components available?”.
By starting with an outline first, you can quickly determine what additional materials you may need to present in each task.
Ways to Work With Your Subject Matter Experts
Any guide you create should be made in collaboration with your subject matter expert (SME). An SME is often a senior technician/worker who has a lot of experience with the process you are creating the guide for. There are two different methods that we’ve seen work well for this collaborative process.
1. Create Your Outline, then loop in the SME
Once you have created your outline, schedule a time to review with your SME. Verify the tasks you laid out, determine what steps you want to include in each task and start to make a list of all the supplemental materials you want to present in your guide. Then work with your SME to gather all the materials needed and flesh out the steps in each task.
Once you have completed your Guide, both you and the SME should test the Guide to verify everything works as you envisioned.
2. Work with your SME before creating your Outline
Schedule time with your SME to review the process for which you are creating a Guide. Take your time and take careful notes throughout the process. Many of our clients find it especially helpful to take video during this time, to use as a reference or starting point for video components in their Guide. After the SME has finished explaining the process, review your notes with them and start working on your outline.
We’ve seen both of these methods work successfully for our clients. What works best for you will depend on your internal workflows and personal preference. Regardless of which approach you choose, working directly with your Subject Matter Experts is an important requirement of any successful Guide.
Add Additional Materials to make your Guide more effective
Guides provides a variety of options to assist with the training of your workforce. The basic text card is a part of every step and lays out the instructions for a given step. Often the text card won’t be enough, so Guides offers the option to add video(s), 3D holograms, 2D documents and animations to assist with the training process.
Keep Videos Concise
You can only provide one image or video per step and you should work to keep your videos and images concise. Ideally, videos for each step should be two minutes or less to minimize the complexity of each step. Keep in mind that videos and images can be used to provide supplemental information and not just instructions for the given step.
Use Web Links for Additional Information
If you have a step that requires more than one video or image you can use the web-linking capability to link to an external website that contains your additional materials. Remember that you should consider if it is required and try to split these materials across different steps.
Be aware of using too many holograms
Each step allows up to 8 holograms to assist users. These holograms could be arrows, icons, hands in various poses or models of equipment. They could also be animations to explain more complex portions of a step. If you need more holograms than what is available for a single step, you likely are trying to do too much. Spreading that task across multiple steps will fix this issue.
Keeping these best practices in mind will help you create useful guides and leverage the detailed knowledge of your SME. If you’d like to learn about guides, in general visit Dynamics 365 Guides.
SphereGen offers consulting services with Hololens applications like Dynamics 365: Guides or custom software development for your XR needs.