Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
Better learning through better searching
Bernard Teo, writing for Mac@Work, observes that:
"[...] maybe, the most important skill in our age is to learn how to frame a question, or how to ask the right questions, because there are so many answers that you can pull in from the web, without leaving your couch."
With that in mind, how many Help systems today teach people how to search, how to refine their searches, and how to better discern amongst the results they get? Like the old "how to use this manual" prefatory material that is standard in printed works, does onscreen Help attempt to ensure users are prepared for its most efficient use? Teaching this skill might be the single most important contribution any technical author could make to a customer's long-term success with a product.