Re: Ideas for Help 2.0

Subject: Re: Ideas for Help 2.0
From: Nancy Allison <maker -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: reg4roger -at- gmail -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 10:21:52 -0600 (CST)

Hi, Roger.

The most interesting thing I've heard of, but have not been able to do myself, is an iterative, database-driven help system. I worked briefly with someone who wanted to go in that direction and I thought it was exciting. I imagined it to be a help system based on a wiki platform of some sort -- I never got close to working on it, so I don't know for sure. Someone like Bill Swallow can definitely add depth (Hi, Bill, and other gurus!)

What I liked about the idea was that the system grew in response to users' questions. Instead of shipping out a fixed help system that is simply updated periodically, we would provide something that would grow as people used it.

Obviously, you would need to keep control of the content and organization. But your customers' actual needs would define the scope and guarantee that it was helping them. Wow.

While I appreciate the cautionary replies you've received, there *are* real innovations out there that you can investigate. I do thoroughly agree with this idea: The most important source of ideas is your end user. Every time I talk to real users, I get feedback that spurs creative thought, and it guarantees that as I'm making changes, I'm on the right track. You don't want to make changes because they're technically appealing to you or other people in-house but unwanted and unneeded by your end user.

Good luck. I hope other people chime in with specific ideas.


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