Re: USA Today article demands printed documentation

Subject: Re: USA Today article demands printed documentation
From: Diane Haugen <dhaugen -at- MEANS -dot- NET>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 18:17:30 -0600

At 12:49 PM -0800 02/16/99, Darren Barefoot wrote:

>I look forward, with hope and naivete, to the day when the "lowest
>denominator" does not believe clicking "Help" is an admission of failure and
>can be comfortable and effective with online resources and non-linear
>topics. I give it about twenty-five or thirty years. By that time the first
>truly online-literate generation (those, I figure, who are currently under
>eighteen and have, in many cases, learned to read with a computer) will be
>managing resources and making purchasing decisions.

A couple of things bother me about the responses to this article, probably
because I'm a grandma. :>

One, the idea that one kind of documentation will ultimately solve all
problems simply ignores that different people have different learning
styles. This isn't going to go away just because 30 years down the road
most people will have learned to read on a computer.

Two, no one has really given much credence to the fact that the anecdotes
given by the author of the article (whose name I can't seem to locate),
while not statistically significant, are good examples of how not to sell

And grandma here does not like online help, thank you. Not because I won't
admit I can't get something to work, but because I can never find what I
want in the online help. Good indexes, bless them, are far more quickly
scanned than a pull down menu that doesn't have the option you're looking
for even though the index entry says it should. Or worse yet, a scrolly
thingy with a thousand entries that still lead you down dead-end paths.

In a world of increasing diversity, why are we glorifying single-approach


Diane Haugen
Whiskey Creek Document Design

Document Design <>

Associate Editor,
Old House Chronicle <>

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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