Documentation and time-shifting

The fascinating presentation RSA Animate - The Secret Powers of Time is well worth watching for many reasons, but from the perspective of instructional design, it raises an interesting question.

Is there a correlation with "future orientation" and "reading documentation?" I think there might be, when you consider that reading a product's instructions requires the reader to project themselves into the future, when they might be using the information. (This is even more true for poorly-written passive writing that infects our industry.)

Proponents of minimalism will argue that most people don't read documentation in advance, which I agree with, but the general notion that some portion of the population finds reading to be out of sync with their natural concept of time could factor into the apparent popularity of video-based instruction where everything seems to happen "now."

Posted: September 19, 2010 link to this item, Tweet this item, respond to this item