How to empower customers with a quick start guide

Junior Strategist

How tos

Empowering customers to set up their own products and complete basic functions independently ensures that they have a smoother customer experience.

Picking up the phone or setting up a chat with a customer service expert may sound simple enough, but for a user to decide they need help with the installation process means that the quick start guide has failed in its objective.

After receiving their purchase, your customer wants to set up their product as quickly as possible and contacting customer service is ideally a last resort.

How does a quick start guide empower a customer?

A quick start guide (QSG) is intended to enable the customer to be self-sufficient in their product set up, therefore reducing their reliance on customer services.

They can set it up how and when they want, giving them freedom and independence. By empowering a customer with your QSG, the customer can get set up in as little time as possible and at their own convenience.

The customer gets to feel a sense of achievement when the task is complete and doesn’t have to deal with the intrusion of engineers or others traipsing in and out of their house to set equipment up.

There are two main principles that our QSG designs follow in order to empower the customer.


Simplify the written content 

Making the quick start guide content easily digestible makes a customer’s life simpler. Less to read means less time spent; and the less time spent on set up, the smoother the experience. Simple steps help by giving clear, concise instructions or information needed to complete the process.

Images or illustrations are an essential part of the instructions to provide a ‘show don’t tell’ approach, as are clearly decipherable headings, numbers and visuals.

Explanations, descriptions and any other content are still hugely important as they contribute to easing a customer’s experience when they do encounter an issue.

After reducing and simplifying your written content (your customers don’t want to be an expert on setting up, but simply to complete the process), you should consider how you signpost the content for your customer.


Signpost your steps 

The smooth experience of your product’s quick start guide is dependent on a few features, but none of them more important than signposting. Directing the customer to where you want them to look, a quick start guide’s signposts should highlight and promote the key information they need to carry out the necessary steps and get started.

Signposting can take many forms – utilising font, format and colour to draw the eye to the relevant stage in the process.

Titles and numbers are the most recognisable methods of signposting, as customers respond instinctively and are led through the process naturally. Numbers also outline the order in which the user should complete the steps. Making all this information clear enables the user to follow the process quickly, empowering them to get set up without external help.

You’ll want your signposting to be as subtle as it possibly can be. Titles that use action words or phrases, such as ‘Plug in USB’ or ‘Set up connection’, clearly communicate to the customer what should be happening at that stage.

Colours that highlight additional information or something to be aware of draw the user in visually so that they are more likely to read that information.

Progress signposts show customers how many steps there are in total and what step they are on. This is useful in a multi-step process because it gives an overview of the number of tasks and indicates progress.

For more quick start design advice, read our 10 tips for creating quick start guides.


Find out more about quick start guides 

There are more nuances to our designs than these two principles, but we’ve outlined those first to give you a taste of what to consider when you start to think about creating yours.


If you would like to learn more about quick start guides, sign up for a free Clarity Consultation to find out more.



March 9, 2022

UX Glossary

A glossary of commonly used UX terms to help designers, researchers and developers communicate with clients, stakeholders and fellow team members.

September 29, 2022

Design language consistency

Having bad design comms can lead to a litany of design issues, organisationally and practically. Find out how to remedy these issues.

September 28, 2022

What are usability heuristics and why are they important?

Usability heuristics are the backbone of user experience and interface design. The article addresses why they're important and how they work in practice.

August 31, 2022

UX/ UI tips: A guide to contextual help

Reduce frustration and pain points with six ways to prompt and guide your users through complex information fields with contextual help.