Reading Usable Help
@UsableHelp on Twitter
Gordon R. Meyer
The crabby office lady offers help
Jonathan Price, writing for the CIDM newsletter, describes how Microsoft Office's web-based assistance takes a welcome approach--one that recognizes the humanity of the people involved (on both sides of the customer/corporation relationship), encourages honest and candid feedback by using a friendly tone, and puts a real face on some of the tips and troubleshooting advice. Price concludes:
"Because of Microsoft's influence, this kind of "customer-driven publishing" will soon become a model for many other corporations. As managers and writers, we will be building the infrastructure for this give-and-take. And as customers ourselves, we will probably be participating—offering ratings and comments, joining discussions and building communities. Through such simple functions as links and "continuous connection," the Web has developed what complexity theorists call "emergent behaviors," such as the feedback loops evolving here in a life of their own. In the Microsoft Office Online Assistance, then, we see the way that millions of people can interact, developing this strange, wonderful, and virtual conversation."