How to make online help unhelpful

Subject: How to make online help unhelpful
From: Matt Hicks <matt -at- UNIDATA -dot- UCAR -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 1994 09:56:01 -0600

I was using Word5.1 on my Mac this weekend and had a quick question about
a feature that I rarely use. All the talk on this list about online help
made me think I would give it a try again, rather than reaching for the
paper docs. I found what I was looking for fairly quickly (although I
felt one step was more a lucky guess than following an obvious link). I
found that the unfamiliar feature required me to do a couple of
unfamiliar steps. Well, no problem, I'll read the first step and do what
it says and . . . *beep*. Huh? I click in the Word application window
again. *Beep* *Beep* Damn! You can't keep the Help window open and work
in the application!? I read the procedure and *write it down* so that I
won't forget what I'm doing and that's the end of my little foray into
Word's Help feature. I don't think I'll be going back again.

BTW, I have plenty of memory and had no other applications open. I think
I probably discovered this feature [humph!] a long time ago and it helped
to develop my dislike of online "help" systems. I know they aren't all
like this one, but I've yet to find one I like. I've tried browsing
through online help and I don't find it a comfortable activity, whereas
I'll gladly (sometimes gleefully) thumb through a paper manual, grazing
for hidden features and power tips. I think FrameMaker's online help is
thorough and useful, but I only use it when I need the the answer to a
question--but I'll sit and read the paper docs when I'm not even using
the application.

Matt Hicks, Tech. Writer, Unidata * I may not agree with what you
Boulder, CO, (303)497-8676, ******* say, but I'll defend to the
matt -at- unidata -dot- ucar -dot- edu ************* death my right to mock you.

Previous by Author: Re: Why manuals?
Next by Author: Re: Another Ethical Question
Previous by Thread: bookmarks (was: Re: Re: Why manuals?)
Next by Thread: Re: How to make online help unhelpful

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads