the high cost of not knowing what you don't know

Subject: the high cost of not knowing what you don't know
From: Karen Mulholland <kemulholland -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2008 10:33:08 -0700 (PDT)

A cautionary tale about the non-intuitive behaviour of Microsoft Excel's "hide row/column" feature...

Many of us TCs know that Excel's hidden rows and columns behave this way, having been bitten by it, but it is not "common knowledge" by any means.

Now the tech comm angle:

I'm sure this is in the help for the application, but who consults the help for a basic task that they can see how to do - such as exporting or cutting and pasting the data? Help is only an effective way to communicate information that people "know they don't know." This case makes clear that help is NOT effective for communicating information that people "don't know that they don't know."

What could Microsoft do to ensure that people are aware that the "hide" attribute doesn't go along with the data when you put your spreadsheet into a different file format or application?


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