Tango Blog
The Truth About Training Guides [Survey Results]

The Truth About Training Guides [Survey Results]

An illustration alluding to training guide likes and dislikes (crowdsourced from the Tango community).
Table of Contents
Friends don't let friends learn the hard way.
Create how-to guides, in seconds.
Try Tango for free

You have something to teach someone, and you know that 1:1 screen sharing is 1) not efficient and 2) not scalable. So you put together a training guide for them to use, with all the information they’ll need to self-serve. Then you get a ping five minutes later.

“Hey Sam, thanks for the guide! I had a couple of questions…” Cue the steady stream of Slack messages asking for clarification.

For many managers, training professionals, and top performers, making training guides is a dreaded aspect of the job. But it’s even worse when you finally spend the time to document a process…and the end result generates more questions than answers. 🤦🏽

Why does this happen?

As it turns out—for a few very specific reasons. In April of 2023, Tango’s research team recently ran a survey to figure out what people dislike most about training guides, and the results were too interesting to keep to ourselves. 

And when we polled our community of Change Enablers at the start of the new year, it turns out the same pains about training continue to persist.

Stick around to see:

  • What makes people check out when they’re learning.
  • Ways you can alter your employee training methods and win them over.
  • How to create training guides that create less work for everyone. 🙌

The Survey: Method and Results

First, a little context. 

We collected 389 responses from people who make training guides (creators) and people who follow them (viewers). Both groups had visited a Tango how-to guide (like this) within the last week.  

We asked everyone: “What do you dislike most about training guides?” 

And of the 389 respondents, 77 answered a second, optional question: “Why do you dislike that?” 

Here’s what we learned:

A pie chart from a 2023 survey by Tango revealing the top dislikes about training guides–ranging from no screenshot annotations (#1) to uncropped screenshots (#5).

In other words—the main frustration with training guides comes down to three things. Let’s take a closer look at each in turn. 👇

Issue #1: People don’t have patience for long videos

19% of respondents said they don’t like long videos.

In general, people don’t want to waste time watching a video because they’re—and we quote—“boring” and take “too much time.” 

What do they want, instead? The information they need to complete their process or task, without the extra fluff and time it takes to watch (and rewatch) a long video. 🥱

Trend team analysis: The problem

Video tools work for one-time messages that reduce the number of meetings for your team, but aren’t great for long-term training and knowledge sharing

What prevents video-only training guides from being your best bet? 

  1. People need step-by-step instructions to help them complete a task as quickly as possible. Videos have extra information that slows them down.
  2. Sometimes, viewers only need help on a specific step. Most videos don’t have the option to jump to that step, as a guide does.
  3. Employees don’t need to memorize or learn step-by-step tasks. Videos are great to explain why to do something…but they’re less effective when you just need to know how to do something. Especially if you perform that task infrequently.
  4. Because videos are tricky and time-consuming to update, content gets outdated quickly.
  5. Because the majority of employees aren’t video production pros, final products often wind up looking amateur at best.

Tango’s solution

For step-by-step tasks, Tango how-to guides make life better for viewers because they:

  • Cut the fluff.
  • Let people jump straight to the step they’re working on.
  • Help people finish their work faster.

They’re also a more effective option for training guide creators, because Tangos:

  • Can be created faster.
  • Are easier to update when processes change.
  • Automatically include the features viewers care about (like screenshot cropping and annotations).

Issue #2: Walls of text are too hard to digest

17% of respondents said they don’t like it when there’s too much text and 18% said they don’t like it when there are not enough screenshots. 

Survey respondents reminded us that “pictures are worth 1,000 words,” and begged, “please don’t make me read all that.” 

It’s a good rule of thumb—many people are visual learners, and don’t like walls of text in their training guides. They don’t need too much narrative to go with instructions, and will gloss over it if it’s there. They just want to know what they need to do. 

"I really like it when my training guide is a checklist, so that I can track where I am in the process and know that I didn't miss a step!"

Tango Survey Respondent

Training Guide Dislikes, Spring 2023

Trend team analysis: The problem

Even though most people understand large blocks of text are difficult to understand, there are two main reasons why they show up in training guides.

  1. Creating helpful screenshots with complicated tools takes up too much time, so training guide creators compensate with extra text to get their point across.
  2. Training guide creators often assume viewers want extra context about why they need to learn processes a certain way. However, many people just want to complete tasks as quickly as possible—and don’t want or need to learn the context. 

Tango’s solution

Tango uses just enough context in documentation creation. 

💡 What's just enough context?

Just enough context is a human-focused approach to presenting information. It provides just enough context for users to complete a task quickly and efficiently—without overwhelming them with unnecessary details.

What's the result? By prioritizing efficiency and simplicity, just enough context reduces cognitive load and increases productivity.

Tango automatically captures high quality screenshots with every click of your mouse, so the “one step = one screenshot” rule is easy to accomplish. 🕺

When training guides include more screenshots than text, viewers finish work faster because:

  • They don’t need to think very hard about where to click next while performing a process.
  • There’s more room in their brain for strategic knowledge. 

Issue #3: Screenshots that are used are confusing and not helpful

16% of respondents said they don’t like uncropped screenshots and 23% said they don’t like screenshots with no annotations

All images included in training guides need to be clear and large enough for viewers to read. But not so large that what to do next becomes less immediately obvious. 

Survey respondents said that uncropped screenshots and/or ones without annotations aren’t helpful. Sometimes, they can even be downright distracting. Ideally, screenshots should be “marked up” in a way that shows viewers exactly what needs their attention.

"A circle or arrow helps me get exactly where I need to be, and crops out the unnecessary stuff."

Tango Survey Respondent

Training Guide Dislikes, Spring 2023

Trend team analysis: The problem

An uncropped screenshot of a busy software user interface with no annotations is worse than too much text. Employees don’t know where to look and can easily become overwhelmed. 😵‍💫

So why do uncropped screenshots often show up in training guides?

  1. Cropping and annotating takes a lot of time! It can take 6-8 minutes to crop and annotate a single screenshot. Multiply that by dozens of steps and you can be looking at hours.
  2. The tools required to crop and annotate screenshots are usually hard to use, and people don’t always have access to them.
  3. Creators tend to be experts on the software programs and processes they’re creating guides for, and overestimate the level of knowledge their viewers have. 

Tango’s solution 

Tango automatically crops, zooms, and annotates every screenshot, so people’s eyes are drawn to the exact area where they need to focus and/or click. 👀

With Tango, creators can:

  • Provide the highest quality training guides.
  • Format them the way their viewers want.
  • Do it all in less time than it used to take to make overwhelming, confusing guides.

Don’t just take it from us—take it from a marketing manager who streamlined a 309-step process for researching, writing, and posting blogs across 10 teammates, eight different tools, and six time zones with Tango.

"Before Tango, I was making videos and wordy documents to explain everything...but my co-workers hated them. So I spent hours every week on Slack and Zoom answering the same questions."

Briana Johnson

Marketing Manager at LinearB

After Bri switched to using Tango to make how-to guides, she averaged 10X more screenshots and 75% less text compared to her old training guides. And they took less time to make. 🎉

The bottom line

Training guides can help people do their jobs better and faster—as long as they contain the right components. 


  • Fewer long videos.
  • Less text.
  • More cropped and annotated screenshots. 🙏

Why do we make training guides in the first place? To help people get sh*t done, fast and without getting frustrated. The best training guides show people how to execute the basics so they can spend their mental energy on acquiring and applying knowledge that will help them—and the businesses they work for—excel. 

With Tango, it’s easy to make helpful how-to guides with actionable steps that help everybody succeed.

💡 Tango Tip

Want to make your training guides even easier to make and follow? Give Guide Me a try.

You'll be able to:

  • Crop and annotate screenshots for every step as you capture your process—automatically.
  • Walk viewers through processes step-by-step—without forcing them to bounce between tabs.
  • Include only the minimum amount of text needed—so both you and your team can get your jobs done fast.


Keep in touch

We'll never show up
empty-handed (how rude!).

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
This is some text inside of a div block.