Cutesy Tutorials

Subject: Cutesy Tutorials
From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 1996 09:57:00 PST

someone wrote:

>Also, I am looking for examples of tutorials that are well-written,
>especially ones of a technical nature. (Our tutorials will be used by
>electrical engineers and computer programmers; we don't want them to be

As a frequent trainer I'm *always* grateful for this attitude. It is a
tremendous help to be able to provide training to companies in which
"cutesy" is considered nonserious and where everyone is concerned with being
serious and solemn. Not only does it make it insanely easy to do great
training but it ensures that the company needs an endless amount of
organizational development work. The corporate culture is so dysfunctional
that the people need *lots* of team-building exercises, stress-management
seminars, "dealing with difficult people" training, career-change and
recareering workshops, etc.

So please, do avoid cutesy! Especially in tutorials. To the greatest
extent possible, try to make your tutorial appear to have been written *by
the machine itself.* Make sure the people using the tutorial feel a certain
sense of shame for even needing it--whatever you do, don't acknowledge that
they may be uncomfortable asking for "help" or not already knowing everything!

And, as much as possible, make sure that your tutorials display and
reinforce the idea that "This is IMPORTANT dammit! And if you're having fun
you may just not be necessary around here!"

I've gotta make those boat payments you know!

John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)

The Bill of Rights -- The ORIGINAL Contract with America
Beware of Imitations. Accept No Substitutes. Insist on the Genuine Articles.

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