Re: Anthropomorphism is bad because...

Subject: Re: Anthropomorphism is bad because...
From: Lauren <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 2010 23:39:40 -0700

On 6/22/2010 10:59 PM, Janice Gelb wrote:
> I think that using anthropomorphic language for
> systems is more confusing than helpful most of
> the time, especially for inexperienced users.
> It reinforces some of the crazier help-line
> questions that you often see, where people are
> convinced that the computer is deliberately
> provoking them or not doing what they want on
> purpose, even though they haven't clearly indicated
> what they want in a way that the system can understand.
> I think that the clearer we can be about how systems
> and programs actually work, the more users might start
> to understand how to interact most beneficially with them.
>

I think this discussion would be easier with an example of "expectation"
used in documentation. I used my email program as an example because it
is what I had open and it was convenient for explaining my thought
process about how a system can "expect" something. When I think of
system "expecting" certain data or data within a certain range, I think
that there must be a background process performed after a system waits a
certain time, like email saves, or there is a rejection of non-compliant
data. I guess I am defending anthropomorphism of computer systems in a
case where a computer system does demonstrate something akin to
"expectation" and there is no better way to describe what is happening
without making the documentation too high level, yet I do not have an
example of such a case.

Lauren




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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Anthropomorphism is bad because...: From: Chris Despopoulos
Re: Anthropomorphism is bad because...: From: Janice Gelb
Re: Anthropomorphism is bad because...: From: Lauren
Re: Anthropomorphism is bad because...: From: Janice Gelb

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