Best Practices for PAK Design

Short is sweet when it comes to sparking employee engagement and transferring knowledge. This means:

  • Trimming information into chunks that can be consumed in 5 minutes or less.
  • Making it clear to your user what you want them to gain from reading the Pak. We recommend adding this goal to the Pak description.
  • Having a clear goal for what you want your Pak to be, which influences what a Pak contains. For example, a job aid is a quick reference aid meant to support an employee to complete a task, whereas a product training be more detailed.

Writing Tips

Keep your content short and simple. Some rules to keep in mind:

  1. Use simple words and short sentences.  Target an 8th grade literacy level.   
  2. Use active voice.
  3. Write in a friendly, conversational tone.
  4. Use short sentences and short paragraphs—150 words or less. Studies show a dramatic decrease in attention when word counts increase over that.
  5. Use familiar analogies and examples.
  6. Be as clear and logical as possible.
  7. Break down tasks to 7 (± 2) steps. 

Formatting Tips

1. Make your subheads action-oriented. 


 

  1. Put important stuff at the end of the Pak (yes, they often spend slightly more time here).
  2. Where possible, include graphics—a picture is worth 1,000 words!
  3. Keep images mobile device-friendly: try not to exceed 450 pixels wide.
  4. Replace paragraphs with bullets, tables, grids, graphics, charts, audio and animations.
  5. Leave plenty of white space so it doesn’t look cluttered. 

 

Make it Interactive

Unless your Pak is meant to be just a quick reference, building in interactivity is important for engagement, keeping interest, and ultimately, knowledge transfer.

  1. Add user engagement approximately every 45 seconds, i.e., add something for the user to click on, watch, listen to, or interact with to keep attention high.
  2. Use audio and video for demos, role plays, modeling behavior, and more. 
  3. Include memory recall practice with knowledge checks, flash cards, and drag and order exercises. Show them the answers after they click submit. Research shows that getting an answer wrong, then seeing the right answer can help people remember the correct answer. 

  4. When appropriate, include opportunities to practice and apply new information in context. Real-world examples that users can model and relate to are especially powerful, because they allow your users to rehearse the thought process.