These users have us stumped!

Subject: These users have us stumped!
From: "Gilger.John" <JGilger -at- acresgaming -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2002 10:50:19 -0700

The TW crew here just had a chat with the folks in Apps Support/Training. They are asking us to dumb down the User Docs even more. Our product's GUI has been designed to be extremely intuitive and user friendly. Ease of use is a primary selling point.

We write at approximately the 6th grade level now. Short sentances and simple words are the rule. One problem is that we make the assumption that the user is familier with using Windows. Not so, say the front line trainers.

The end users do not know how to use a computer. At a recent training session (10 students) three students picked up their mice and touched the screen with it when told to "Point at the icon with your mouse." The lady managing these users says that they can't understand the context sensitive on-line help that says, "Right-click on XXX and select YYY from the list." and includes a screen shot of the cursor pointing at XXX and another screen shot of the expanded list with YYY highlighted.

The root cause of this is that even though our customers pay well over a million dollars for our product, they won't pay the users more than $6 per hour (minimum wage). People with a high school education and posibly some exposure to computers won't work that cheap.

So the question is: Does anyone have any experience or ideas about writing a non-technical user's guide for the totally clueless?

John Gilger
Senior Technical Writer
Acres Gaming
Las Vegas, NV

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