There are some extra steps a customer needs to learn in order to use my product.
How can I achieve this? Do I make a voice over video for each function? Make a wiki? What are some of your experiences?
Creating a video is such a pain, but creating a PDF is a lot of work too. I'm thinking about creating a wiki so the community can update it. My only worry is people vandalizing it.
Do you use a software assistant like "Microsoft Clippy"?
With a video, written manual, or wiki, you should think about the likelihood that a user will actually use that material. For instance, I've seen products that have had an introductory video that only 15-20% of users watched. This means that 80% of users were skipping over the video. I'd suggest trying to make the product as intuitive as possible. Much of this can be accomplished by micro-copy, text that instructs the user on how to use a specific widget that appears in a context of the actual usage. Here's an article on micro-copy: http://bokardo.com/archives/writing-microcopy/. It's very difficult to get right at first because you won't know all the places a user get's tripped up. I recommend regularly updating micro-copy as you learn more about your users' snafus.
That being said, you likely need a solution in the meantime. The solution depends on the complexity of the task. Video is a better solution for more complex tasks. But you should break it down into bite-size pieces so your users can find the exact video that's relevant to their problem. Alternatively, for less complex tasks, I'd use a wiki. Because you'll want to constantly update it.
I've found creating PowerPoints with screenshots and then doing an optional voice-over on top of them to be much quicker to do than creating a video. You can host using slidshare but in place on your site.
Top tip is to keep it brief (something that is really hard to do). 30 seconds is perfect for a quick intro, 2 minutes is fine, 5 minutes is pushing it and longer than that...
I completely agree about with bkparikh about using micro-text. There are ways to include a "?" by an element which can raise a lightbox, etc. with a tip on how to use a function, when user clicks on the "?" sign or when user activates an element. I find this kind of help the most useful.
I would also consider creating a general video about your website / its purpose AND benefits. You could also create short videos for each major function which is not intuitive. Creating videos may be as easy as using adobe captivate: create a few screen shots of the function, then type scripts for each screen, then record the voice for each screen and finally compile a flash video. Upload it to youtube and then embed on your website.
If you get user emails and send out updates to them from time to time (say, on day 1, 3, 7, 30, etc.), then include a link to one of such videos in each email so that after x emails they have looked at all videos. Of course, not all of them watch videos or even open your emails, but it's an additional channel to get to your users.