Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
Humor as a quality that readers love
Despite the industry's aversion to humor (or, some might argue, humanity) in technical documentation it can be quite popular with customers if it's done well. A discussion thread on TidBITS-Talk about the qualities of a product that engenders loyalty from customers had this to offer:
Jonathan Ploudre: "[...] Some of my favorite shareware programs over the years have had humorous Read-Me documents. Docs that never would gotten out of committee from a large company. FinderPop was a fabulous piece of software and I can remember laughing out loud reading its documentation. Spaceward Ho had a sense of humor that made the game so much more enjoyable. When the documentation is funny you read it. And reading the documentation makes you appreciate the program and its author. That definitely develops loyalty."
Adam Engst: "I'll second that. I still mourn the day that Eudora stopped popping up a clever dialog that would tell you that you weren't typing into a text entry area; it said 'You may as well stop typing because no one is listening.'"
See also Click, Drag, Smile.