[thelist] RE: Test Instructions with Users

Steven Streight vaspersthegrate at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 9 14:41:22 CST 2004

Slightly off topic from the How To Talk Down to
Clients, but in the same region fundamentally:

How many of you actually test your instructions,
directions, explanations, how to tutorials, help
desks, with actual, uncoached, representative users?

I just spent all night, from 10 PM to 4 AM, trying to
upgrade/renew a popular computer security subscription
software service.

I love the company and its product.

I hate its customer service and online user guides.

The schmucks commit the heinous, asinine crime of
Offshore Outsourcing, and no, I'm not xenophobic,
imperialistic, or isolationist. Anything but.

However, the download instructions were beyond
horrible. Full of lies, what I call directions that
are wrong. 

"Do this, and this screen comes up. Click on Continue,
and this will happen." Lies. There is no "Continue" on
that screen, only Cancel.

On and on the misinformation went, so pathetically
inaccurate and misleading, I had to pinch myself. Was
this just some bad dream?

Offshore outsourced "customer service" once you get
past all the numbers to punch on phone, also defective
and didn't work correctly, so I had to re-do it and
accommodate the glitches.

Could not understand the foreign person (not their
fault) who spoke broken, mispronounced English and
spoke far too rapidly to comprehend anyway.

This is Corporate Suicide, people. Are we this stupid?

I got the damn thing 1. downloaded, 2. installed, 3.
activated, 4. refreshed via computer re-start, 5.

...but I succeeded only by doing something other than
what the customer service person said to do. I used
"intuitive" action.

The icon on my desktop, when I clicked it, started the
proper processes.

But the icon was not identified with their company or
product name or logo. A mysterious icon. This is worse
than stupid.

Please test instructions, not with your boss or
co-workers, but with real typical users.

Is anyone anywhere doing this...ever???

Steven Streight
Web Usability Analyst/Content Writer

EMAIL: vaspersthegrate at yahoo.com

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