Usable Help

By Gordon Meyer | Examining onscreen help and documentation.

Usable Help - Real help in real time

Real help in real time<p>Helpouts by Google leverages their Hangouts architecture to provide one-on-one real-time tutorials and assistance on a variety …

Usable Help - Best-selling sofware manuals

Best-selling sofware manuals<p>Two of the best selling books in 2014 were software manuals. For a video game. I don't mean that they were the …

Usable Help - Engineering reductionism

Engineering reductionism<p>It's said that every problem can be reduced to a flowchart. In fact, this is essential for the coming singularity. I always …

Usable Help - Death throes of relevancy

Death throes of relevancy<p>The design exploration (aka masturbation) "Out of the Box" that was done under the aegis of Samsung was supposed to result …

Evernote as a content distribution channel

I’m addicted to Evernote. I use it throughout the day to capture my meeting notes and other thoughts. I was recently joking with a fellow Evernote …

Evernote

recode_divider

Are you all too familiar with the concept of “leaning in,” but unable to pick Sheryl Sandberg out of a crowd? Vaguely aware that “Moore’s law” refers to rapidly-evolving technology, but drawing a blank on who Mr. Moore is or how transistors multiply?<p>You’re in the majority.<p>A new report out today …

Sheryl Sandberg

Usable Help - Standard reference for mobile doc development

Standard reference for mobile doc development<p>Joe Welinske's Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps has been revised and expanded. It was the …

Usable Help - Simplifying Armageddon

Simplifying Armageddon<p>Michael Dobbs, writing Nuclear Option for Smithsonian magazine, describes the iconic "Football" valise carried by the President …

Usable Help - So long, Macworld

So long, Macworld<p>After 30 years of publication, the venerable Macworld magazine will no longer produce a printed magazine. I'm inclined just to say …

Usable Help - Tiny tutorials

Tiny tutorials<p>While in many ways Vine represents the worst in the erosion of attention spans and polish, it can also be an effective tool for visual …

Guess Who Wrote Microsoft's 'Blue Screen of Death'

If you’ve ever used a Windows PC, you have most likely experienced the "Blue Screen of Death," which would show up when a program experienced a fatal error or became unresponsive. In later versions of Windows, you’d see this blue screen any time you pressed “Control-Alt-Delete.”<p>Well, according to a …

Microsoft Windows

Usable Help - Why everything is OK

Why everything is OK<p>Andy Hertzfeld, one of the fathers of Macintosh, writes about how "OK" became the universal "go ahead and do this" interface …

Usable Help - Not our job to make it easy

Not our job to make it easy<p>Mark Bernstein, writing Intuitive, argues that professional software doesn't always have to always make things intuitive …

Usable Help - How to make a design problem worse with documentation

How to make a design problem worse with documentation<p>About a year ago I wrote about my experience using an Energizer flashlight that would …

Usable Help - Managing prose as if it were code

Managing prose as if it were code<p>Frank Miller, writing Is Managing Content the Same as Managing Code? for CIDM, offers several important points on …

Usable Help - Tech writing with heart

Tech writing with heart<p>James Somers, writing You’re Probably Using the Wrong Dictionary, observes that somewhere along the line our dictionaries were …

Usable Help - Walkthroughs are cruft to be scraped away

Walkthroughs are cruft to be scraped away<p>Sarah Perez, writing Rethinking the Mobile App “Walkthrough” for TechCrunch wonders if introductory UI …

Instructional Design

Usable Help - A thousand words in a jiffy

A thousand words in a jiffy<p>David Smith, author of the RSS tool Feed Wrangler, writes about his methods and workflow for creating animated GIF files …

Usable Help - Generate good faked data

Generate good faked data<p>Here is yet another method to create faux information for use in screenshots and examples. Faker is a Python-based program …

Usable Help - Title goes here

Examining documentation and help systems since 2002<p>Contents<p>Special Reports<p>Reading Usable Help<p>Gordon R. Meyer<p>Copyright 2002-2015<p>Favorite Sites<p>Title …

Usable Help - An impressive online tutorial

An impressive online tutorial<p>The Portland-based software company Panic Inc has posted an amazing web-based tutorial for its Diet Coda web development …

Bryan Wood on Twitter

A woman attempting to take a picture at a hockey game in Sochi today. This may be one of my favorite pics ever.pic.twitter.com/x2X20ebCdq

👎👎 silly @MarketplaceAPM http://t.co/KIN68VoevK

Using copyright to keep repair manuals secret undermines circular economy

When I was young, I remember running around my grandfather's workshop – benches strewn with wood shavings, drawers overflowing with tools, shelves lined with dog-eared repair manuals.<p>Perhaps it was characteristic of a generation touched by the Great Depression, but in my grandfather's era, repair …

Usable Help - Don't tell me you love me

Don't tell me you love me<p>The iOS app Ember is called out for its unique approach to gathering user feedback. An in-app survey asks for the user's …

Usable Help - Are we not men?

Are we not men?<p>Bryan Cantrill, CEO of Joyent, writes about how using gender-specific pronouns in code comments is a firing offense. Is your …

Usable Help - Books aren't dead yet

Books aren't dead yet<p>A recent survey by Voxburner found that 62% of people between 16 and 24 years of age prefer printed books over ebooks. …

Usable Help - Simplified iOS 7 screen shots

Simplified iOS 7 screen shots<p>The OS X utility Status Magic allows you to easily customize the status bar shown in iOS screen shots. This can be very …

OS X

Usable Help - A stick figure explains cryptography

A stick figure explains cryptography<p>Jeff Moser, an Indiana-based software engineer, has created A Stick Figure Guide to the Advanced Encryption …