Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
The LindowsOS onscreen overview
A previous note touched on how onscreen overviews typically don't work too well. But, as noted, the reality is that onscreen is pretty much the only delivery option these days so as a profession we can either shrug our shoulders and keep producing mediocre products, or we can explore ways of making usable onscreen overviews.
To that end, here's another example -- the LindowsOS overview. I'm not that enthralled with it, but I give them credit for keeping it simple. Most overviews go overboard with movies, rollovers, and fancy animations. The text-and-graphics approach works just as well, perhaps even better. Load times are quick, there's nothing to "figure out" in terms of the interactivity, and their production costs were certainly low.
Another tip of the hat for including a variety of real-world tasks in the overview. It's not just the usual "tour of buttons and features" -- there is actually information for using several different applications to accomplish things that customers really care about.