Reading Usable Help
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Gordon R. Meyer
Designing for Instant Gratification
The Expert User is Dead by Leo Robert Klein at the Library Journal discusses the "googleization" of information consumption. Or, how web search habits carry over to other modes of research. In testing a library's database project, users were observed giving up too early, making hasty conclusions, and choosing the first item in a list of indexes rather than scrolling or discerning among multiple choices.
Although the conclusion of the article is that libraries should design their software for other than research librarians, I think there's a simpler message relevant to all information professionals, including Help authors. The vast sea of information available to us on the Internet has created a mindset of "If I can't easily find it here, I'll just look somewhere else." Rather than plow through overly-wordy results, instructions, or complicated UI, it's easier for users to simply turn to another information source and hope that the new one will make their answer more obvious. I don't think it's about designing for non-experts, it's about designing for instant gratification.
Thanks for the link, InfoDesign.