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myOpel Manual: Several steps closer to the future

I just learned about myOpel Manual, the smartphone app that General Motors will soon begin distributing to owners of its Opel cars. According to Alex Luft of GM Authority1:

[myOpel Manual] will allow owners to use their smartphones to find out how they can operate and care for their vehicle....After scanning a part of the car using the smartphone camera that they’d like to know more about, the phone will show a yellow circle around the icon or button in question, and the user can simply tap the symbol on the screen to get an immediate explanation and more information.

The...app will also allow users to identify the location of containers and fillers in the engine compartment as well as displaying the relevant section of text from the owner’s manual by scanning the bay with their smartphones.

Opel CascadaVery cool! No one will ever again pick up a traditional owner's manual after using this. What a great way to deliver information to an audience using new technology. And how exciting that GM believes the marketplace is ready for this kind of technical documentation.

I can't help feeling that we've moved several steps closer to a future in which we have holograms and other forms of animation to show us how to fix and operate our cars, install electronic devices, and who knows what else.

I'd love to hear from the technical communicators involved in the making of myOpel Manual. What considerations went into designing the user experience (UX)? What challenges did you overcome when working in this new medium?

1 GM Authority is an independent publisher of news and reviews about General Motors products.

Image source: Wikipedia Commons

About the Author

Larry Kunz

Larry Kunz is a project manager and information architect with SDI with more than 30 years’ experience as a writer, manager, and planner. He has experienced the transition from book-based documentation to today's integrated delivery of information both as a writer and a manager. Larry is a Fellow in the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and in 2010 received the STC President’s Award for leading the Society's strategic planning effort.

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