Avoiding online help (Was: shortsighted or realistic?)

Subject: Avoiding online help (Was: shortsighted or realistic?)
From: Steven Brown <stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 2003 13:41:03 -0800 (PST)

Is online help underused? Consider this.... I once
overheard the following outburst from a manager of a
technical writing department:

"Blah blah blah...and when I hit the Send button in
Outlook I realized I'd accidently sent it to the wrong
person! So I quickly called Jane [the department
secretary] to find out how to recall the message."

Interesting, eh? If a techncial writing manager is
unwilling to use online help to find the answer to a
simple question, what hope do we have of instilling
confidence among those who use the software we


Just out of curiousity (having never used the Outlook
recall feature myself) I went into Outlook's online
help to find the answer. The results:

The index did not contain a keyword entry for
"recall." The "message" keyword contained a list of
451 topics.

I could not find an intuitive path in the table of
contents that might lead me to an answer.

Using the Answer Wizard, I quickly found out how to
recall a message with a search using only two
words...recall message.

Steven Brown
Technical Writer

This just in: A fellow TW asked me today to help her
troubleshoot column headings in a Word table. Just
another example of a TW who should know better.

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shortsighted or realistic?: From: Writer Whirler

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