Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
Documentation without a net
Documentation and onscreen help has traditionally been considered the last resort for frustrated or confused customers. And the safety net, should the documentation not solve the problem was calling technical support. However, as Amy O'Leary writes for the New York Times, many "Internet-based companies" no longer offer tech support. In fact, finding a company's phone number and reaching a human being is pretty much impossible.
Presumably, this would be good news for technical writers, as it would mean that more readers have to depend on the written word. However, many companies are simply relying on Google searches or customer-to-customer forums to pick up the slack.
By the way, the photograph of the frustrated and sad Twitter users, which accompanies O'Leary's article, is a keeper. Put that on that your desk as reminder as to you why you do what you do.