Random (but not really)

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Importance of Good Documentation and Instructions

As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, I write technical documentation and instructions–I teach people how to use computer programs.

Which means that BAD documentation and instructions make me want to hurt someone.

I’m trying to become familiar with the new online course management system we’ll be moving to, and after a several hours of this, I’d like to take their entire support staff and beat them senselessly.

My goal: to import questions from a text file of some sort into the program.

What I found first:

A very long list of instructional videos. I would rather eat lint WHILE being stabbed with a fork than watch instructional videos.

Because they are almost always a WASTE OF MY TIME.

I finally find a help document.

No help

Completely worthless.

What I found next (within the program):

No Help
No Help

OK. Fine. I made a text file.

It failed. Repeatedly.

What I finally find after several hours of wasting my time.

Actually Useful

Really. Why does the help that pops up WITHIN THE PRODUCT not mention those parentheses? This is a system used across the country–in fact, I believe it’s one of the most used systems. So why are their help files so abysmally NOT HELPFUL.

WHY CAN’T THEY JUST GIVE ME A CLEAR, HELPFUL EXAMPLE?!

Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go try really hard not to put my fist through my monitor.

ADDENDUM the FIRST:
OK, trying to fix my text file, and I’m now even MORE confused. I really hate technology.

ADDENDUM the Second:
Co-worker looked over everything with me, and we can find no reason why most of the file is failing.

Have I mentioned how much I hate computers?

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