Re: Ideas for Help 2.0

Subject: Re: Ideas for Help 2.0
From: Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: Steve Schwarzman <steve -at- writersbookmall -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 09:47:25 -0600

I'm with others on the description of the help. When I read that I groaned inside. Why? Because "kickass" is such a subjective term. What is "kickass" to one person would make another fall asleep.

When I see things like this, entropy comes to mind.

I once had some "help" when management felt I was overwhelmed with my own help system. I've no clue how they managed to arrive at that idea. It certainly didn't come from me. But be that as it may, I was suddenly tasked with teaching two other individuals how to create help pages. One was great and did exactly as I asked. The other decided to "enhance" his own pages as he discovered the wonders of Dynamic HTML. His pages were rife with objects spinning and twirling and flashing into view. It was a visual nightmare. Sure, it danced and sang. But it conveyed no useful information whatsoever. Whatever information was there was obscured by all the "whiz bang" features.

To me, a truly "kickass" help system is one that doesn't get in my way and provides me with EXACTLY the information I need in order to get my job done. Adobe's new "Community Help" fails big time in that respect. Sure, it has lots of features. One can add comments and even rate things. Wheee! but it takes about a minute to load when you summon help and it only offers help in the form of "This switch does this. That switch does that." There is very often nothing inside it that is truly useful for someone seeking answers.

So sure, build in all the "kickass" features you like. But don't be surprised to discover later that the "help", has a new first step. Open the browser and head to Google...

Cheers... Rick :)

On 1/11/2012 8:34 AM, Steve Schwarzman wrote:

For once, Dr. Google does not help when I enter "define:" and the word in
question. But I took it to mean really good and interesting help presented
in a new format. And if Roger's boss is not only supporting the idea, but
suggesting it, then it sounds like a good thing.

The only caveat is that Roger may need to manage expectations on this one.

Steve Schwarzman
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Ideas for Help 2.0: From: Roger Goodman
Re: Ideas for Help 2.0: From: jimmy
Re: Ideas for Help 2.0: From: Phil Snow Leopard
Re: Ideas for Help 2.0: From: Steve Schwarzman

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