The harvest of complexity

Khol Vinh, writing What Open Looks Like, discusses the overwhelming complexity of setting up audio-visual center. The documentation, he finds, is "rife with schematic nonsense. None of it does much to remedy the fact that what should be simple hookups--like connecting a television--in fact require a disheartening level of intricacy."

While there appears to be plenty of room to improve the documentation, Vinh explains, part of the problem is the plethora of options and connectors with no means to rationalize how, or when, they're to be used.

Technical writers will attest that they're often put in the position of trying to "fix" an overly-complex product with documentation, but if the writer fails in doing so, the consumer is pretty much screwed.

See also: Mistaking Broken Products for Confusing Instructions and A Look at the EyeTV Setup Assistant.

Posted: January 9, 2011 link to this item, Tweet this item, respond to this item