Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
Writing for the digital generation
In "Screen Language: The New Currency for Learning" John Seely Brown discusses the challenges that educators face in teaching younger generations. Faculty, stuck in the analog world, are faced with students who are fluent in digital tools and communications technology. While the article's focus is on multimedia and expressive communications, it raises relevant questions for Help and documentation.
Typically, we think of audience in terms of "computer novice, intermediate hobbyist, or expert user." But is there a new category -- "savvy regular person?" Someone who isn't any more of "computer user" than we think of ourselves as "telephone users" or "TV experts". When was the last time you saw a television or telephone manual that was written for a "beginning" user? That would seem ridiculous, wouldn't it?