How do users learn about their software?

A curious form of communication is the Help file. Hours are poured into creating them, yet most people I talk to say "There’s no point in looking in Help." They’re conditioned not to go there.

As a part-time software publisher, I find this frustrating. At the same time, I need to recognise the behaviour and do something about it.

If this interests you, I bang on about it a bit more over on thinkerlog.

2 thoughts on “How do users learn about their software?

  1. This is another version of the digital divide, isn’t it? Those who use Help, and those who don’t.
    It’s never really intuitive enough, reflecting the producer rather than an incompetent, or hapless, or just plain stupid user (that’s me!).
    Help programmes should be linked to user groups, chatrooms and well-written third-party material, enabling me to go directly to people who are more likely to understand my particular question.
    But then, I’m part of the generation that didn’t actually get/understand this whole software thing while it was blossoming right under our noses – and have subsequently spent the last 20 years in untutored paranoia. My early experiences of Help probably scarred me. They probably still scar others.

  2. Hello Stuart. Nice to hear from you.
    No doubt you’ll be thrilled to hear that we have a user forum, a blog and discussion lists where our exceedingly articulate users hang out and help each other.
    And the help file has dead easy ‘getting going’ stuff. And we even have screencasts.
    But, clearly not enough.
    We’re getting wise advice over on the blog.
    While you’re here, need any help at the mo’? It would be nice to work together again.

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