Training and Instruction in The Age of Usability
Most of your end-users probably have a gmail account. They have probably been upgraded already to the clean, icon-centered Windows 7 or the snazzy Tablet-styled Windows 8. They may or may not own an iPod/iPad, or any other Apple product but they most likely have an ebay/Amazon/Etsy/Pinterest account. I’m not even talking about Facebook. The point being – over the past few years, your users have gotten used to smooth, shiny interfaces, a minimum amount of clicks and actions within a single workflow, less buttons and let’s face it – less words.
This presents a remarkable challenge to the world of training and instruction, which is rooted in the written word, in the the constant strive for eloquence and in the struggle to break down into words a piece of software built and designed by someone else. Writers and training professionals are faced with the need to deal with what may be conceived as the dumbing down of end-users. There is less tolerance and patience toward complexity in this world of 3-colors-2-buttons-no-scrolldown. Granted, intricate products will always require a multi-step approach to instructing, but even their producers are gradually succumbing to the icon-toolbars culture and are minimizing the amount of steps between actions.
Today’s software is carefully selected by individuals and corporations not only for its powerful performance but also for the ease with which it will be implemented. Less time wasted by end users on learning a SaaS tool or a Word processor – more time for them to be actually working.
In this user experience climate, online help is also undergoing extensive transformations. Knowledgebases and FAQs are no longer enough and the amount of websites offering chat support upon initial landing has increased dramatically.
The context-sensitive online help service Iridize offers is exactly about that. We recognize the need to take the training and instruction field into its next stage and the dynamic on-page guidance tool we developed is that smooth, elegant solution for combining indispensable text with an accessible, easy to use tooltip.