Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
Documentation that drains willpower
A must-read article, Your App Makes Me Fat — Serious Pony, describes how cognitive taxation affects willpower. Although primarily a plea for simpler to use apps, the same logic applies to documentation, too. If the tenet that documentation is used only as a last resort is true, then your readers are already drained when they come to what you've written. Will your complex help system and overly-long instructions bleed the last of their rational mind, or will it solve their problem so they can recharge?