Self-documenting Products

In a review of FreeMind, a mind mapping program, Macworld notes that the product's onscreen help system is implemented as a FreeMind document. The review includes a screenshot of the instructional map so you don't have to try the software if you're merely curious. FreeMind is available for several different computer platforms.

Lots of products include sample documents, and many times they have instructional value, but relying heavily on the cleverly self-referential technique might create a "chicken and the egg" problem. If you know how to use the software well enough to utilize the documentation, do you need the documentation? Perhaps not the basics, so perhaps the content of the document can be well-refined based on these assumptions. It's an interesting instructional problem to consider.

Posted: November 23, 2008 link to this item, Tweet this item, respond to this item