Re: "Teaching" wizards?

Subject: Re: "Teaching" wizards?
From: Herman Holtz <holtz -at- PALTECH -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 1998 17:57:41 -0400

I am one of those who came to computers at a relatively advanced
age, and my techncial background (electronics, but strictly hardware
oriented) was of no real help except that I had no fear of attacking the
learning job. It was in the early days--I started with a CP/M system--and
the help files were of little help, but the programs came with extensive
paper documentation.

For me, the most effective way to learn was to carry out the
tutorials--actually execute the for-instance examples. After mastering the
most basic tasks easily via ths method, I was ready to solo and learn the
rest by trial and error.

The trend I have seen in recent years has not been to help the user
learn more readily, but to make the systems more automatic, requiring less
and less knowledge. Just recently, I took what appears to me to be the
latest step in this trend: I bought and installed the IBM Rapid Access
Keyboard. That gives me 14 additional keys to control volume, data CDs,
music DCs, help files, sleep/suspend mode, and four that are programmable. I
have these programmed to load my browser, word processor, email s/w, and
dial-up connection. A single key press does this for each function.

Of course, this does not prove that such tutorials would work well
for everyone, but they seem to have been effetcive in the early days of the
desktop computer. - Herm

>> <<...wizards are an effective way to help users perform tasks, but
>> the wizard implementations I've seen don't really teach people
>> how to perform the task without the wizard's help. Further, a wizard
>> doesn't teach the underlying concept; it just steps the user through
>> the task.>>

Proposal support and related writing services by retired executive,
author of proposals that have won $360+ million in government
and commercial contracts; also author of 65 how-to business
books. Write holtz -at- paltech -dot- com for complete information.

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