I asked John to give me a visual "hello!" and he delivered.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Our bedroom is located in the front of our house, which I dislike since it doesn't offer privacy. The blinds are closed 99% of the time; I'd prefer they be open more often than not. When I wake, I usually look to the gap in the blinds to tell me what kind of weather is happening. There is no blue in that smidgen of sky.
On my way back from an errand at lunch, I stopped at Fort Howe, which is near my office. It gives a great view of the city. Winter is hanging on for dear life, so nothing has turned green yet. The brown, dead grass, dark skies, and wind made for a somewhat depressing stop.
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Someone complained to me yesterday about users’ inability to read a manual and understand how to operate a new website. This same person barely skimmed the manuals provided to them on a different topic and required hand-holding through the process. This is a constant issue for me; having to hand-hold users through a process that I’ve already provided a step-by-step manual for. I am debating whether to ever write a manual again, given that it seems to be a waste of my time. I’ve written manuals with and without the help of a technical writer, but neither makes a difference.
I’m struggling to understand what the real problem is. I know that learning styles are different, and that not everyone can learn and understand from text, but that’s why I include pictures. Do I need to make YouTube videos for all new procedures? Have we regressed to the point where everything must be a video clip that will hold someone’s attention?
When faced with an unfamiliar process, I sit down and read the manual slowly. I try to eliminate distractions, physically turn away from my computer, highlight relevant sections, and make notes. With a conscious effort, I can learn what the text is presenting to me, even if it is a dry topic. Why am I different than most everyone else I deal with regularly? Am I really the only person around who learns through reading? Some days it certainly feels like it.
One reason could be a true literacy issue. They simply don’t know how to read multiple types of documents. A comic book or fiction novel isn’t intimidating, but this manual on a new website looks complicated and I don’t know what to do. That’s why I usually include screen shots, so there is a combination of visual aids and text. I’m often asked to provide a “one-pager” on how to do something, but we now have so many one-pagers that I don’t know how anyone could keep them all straight.
Maybe they’re just simply lazy. Since they don’t have time to go through a 20 page manual in detail, it will be faster to just call and have someone do it for them. After the 5th person who calls me, I can attest to the fact that it may be faster for you, but it is not faster *for me*. I’ve now wasted at least 30 minutes on the phone in addition to the hours I’ve spent plugging away at writing what I think is a good manual for my audience.
At what point do I refuse to hand-hold anymore? I have a job to do, too. The next person who asks me to walk them through a process because they don’t have time to read the manual may get a big earful. Or I may walk them down to a meeting room with the document, shut the door, and tell them not to come out until they understand it.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Sunday, April 07, 2013
"Play" has been holding me up all week. I don't play video games, nor instruments, so I was stuck. I intended to take a pic of a playground, but didn't succeed when there weren't kids around (not wanting to creep parents out by a stranger taking a pic of their kid). So Romy gets to be the star of the blog again today, as this shows him playing with his trackball game. Sometimes I do play it with him.
Monday, April 01, 2013
Saturday we drove to Calais and did not have a relaxing day. In fact, we got searched at the border complete with the drug-sniffing dog. Not sure if something about us was flagged or if we were the random search for the day. In any case, I don't have a good photo of *me* relaxing, so here's one of Romy getting the job done.
Tonight was my Jesus Christ Superstar viewing party. Roughly 8-10 people were going to come over, so I made cupcakes. 7 people canceled or didn't show, and two had to leave early, so it was a much smaller night than I anticipated. I had made a dozen Easter cupcakes for the occasion.