One of the challenges facing documentation writers since the beginning of software is the following dilemma: how to reconcile help content for first time users and veteran users? The working assumption being that first time users need to be taken by the hand and led throughout the product step-by-step, whereas veteran users are versed in the product and need to learn only advanced and new features.
Mark Baker, a long time technical communicator and content engineer, wrote extensively about this matter. He argues that users are no longer at the level of novice-ness that requires hand-holding documentation, and that software UI has improved to the point where users are protected from disaster by intelligent microcopy and careful UX.
We have the power to run sophisticated interfaces. Early electronics did not have the power to run fancy interfaces, to provide infinite levels of undo or to warn about any destructive actions before executing them. Interfaces used to be cryptic and dangerous because they ran on limited hardware. Now they are clear and safe because we have the computing power to make them clear and safe.
Mark Baker, Tech Comm’s Obsession with Novices has to Stop