Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
The value of writing less
Jeffrey Veen offers an appropriately cogent discussion about why writing less results in easier to use documentation.
"But of course we don't read instructions. It's a matter of context. When trying to get through an interaction, we're not in "reading mode" ... we're in "doing mode."
Breen also offers an example of clear and concise instructions, that likely can't be further improved.
Related to this is the common miss-application of some website design principles to Help design. On the Web, users are frequently browsing, gathering, or just killing time. That's rarely the case with Help, where users usually just want an answer so they can get back to work. Conventions that support "reading mode" are often best omitted from Help.
Thanks to LucDesk for the link.