The Task Oriented Approach

Some Help programs and manuals are so uninformative that you can only understand them after you have worked out what the program actually does, when you no longer need the help.

Expecting a newcomer to second-guess which gate they should be going through to access a function displays a faith in human intuition limited to the famous paranor-malist Uri Geller. However, if you explain features in the context of the tasks, it's easier for newcomers to get the hang of the program's geography.

Task-oriented descriptions allow you to talk users through activities that involve a sequence of actions, step by step. This can be particularly helpful when the task is essential, such as installing the software.

Good documentation often employs all three techniques in different places.

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