Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
Noted technical author Scott Knaster's blog entry Helpful Instructions really caught my eye. It has a photograph of a sign in a public restroom that provides instructions on how to wash your hands. But, the last step is to dry your hands "using paper towels" and the sign is sponsored by Brawny. (Makers of fine paper towels, of course.)
Aside from the obvious eye-rolling that such a blatant self-serving placard might induce, let's consider for a moment the idea of sponsored onscreen Help. Instructions on printing could be provided courtesy of the ink cartridge company. Cleaning instructions by Proctor & Gamble. Virus removal tips from the Department of Homeland Security. The revenue opportunities are virtually endless!