The hidden cost of obviousness

Jakob Nielsen's Information Pollution says:

"Each little piece of useless chatter is relatively innocent, and only robs us of a few seconds. The cumulative effect, however, is much worse: we assume that most communication is equally useless and tune it out, thus missing important information that's sometimes embedded in the mess."

Some Help authors believe it does no harm to write several steps, when just a few will do. But what it does teach the reader that much of the documentation can be ignored because it simply states the obvious. This diminishes the value of the good information buried within, and eventually users forgo the Help completely since it seemingly rarely informs.

Thanks for the link, InfoDesign. See also Avoiding the Endless March.

Posted: November 23, 2003 link to this item, Tweet this item, respond to this item