Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
Writing for the New York Times, Katie Hafner describes the growing legion of technology customers who spend increasing amounts of time providing their own technical support, and lending a hand to slightly-less sophisticated friends and family. These folks aren't at all "technologists" but have have taken on that role out of sheer necessity -- getting their work done. They're accidental experts and, writes Hafner, they're disenchanted with technical support. They turn to the Internet first for answers to their questions, and then to third-party books such as the "For Dummies" series, which have grown larger and more sophisticated in scope with every edition.
The article is well worth reading for any Help author, particularly the trends concerning customers who do more with their computers, become better at helping themselves, and their lack of patience with support and documentation that talks down to them.