Dear Readers, please visit the Gather Content blog, where I have just published a guest post: Your Software Needs a Content Strategy Too!
I’m not an academic. I haven’t done any research. I just observe the world and say what I see, and what I see is this:
- We think it’s OK to deliver personal attacks, salacious innuendo, smear campaigns, and lies, and refer to it as “political discourse.”
- We think it’s OK to advertise every product made in every part of the globe at every level of quality as “the best” – thereby rendering the word “best” meaningless.
- We think it’s OK to announce loud and clear that we are against money laundering, tax evasion, and fiscal fraud, proclaim significant measures to combat them, and do nothing.
- We think it’s OK to patent living organisms, genetic codes, and other aspects of life on this earth, as if they were industrial products.
- We think it’s OK to use a term like “intellectual property,” and we think we can buy and sell ideas.
oXygen’s new release is part of the company’s policy of regularly (every three or four months) releasing “incremental” upgrades. I use quotes because Syncro Soft, the publisher of oXygen, regularly includes major new features in these free, “incremental” upgrades. This was especially the case with release 14.1 that included forms based editing of XML attributes – about which more in a moment.
Over here in Europe, we get a fair number of American TV series, but not all of them. Recently, a friend passed me a complete set of all the existing episodes of Firefly which I’ve been enjoying immensely. I’d not heard of it before, but I understand that it has become something of a cult series in the U.S. and I understand why.
It has something in common with a series that has had vastly greater success, in the U.S. and abroad: NCIS.
I’m not sure why one series failed and the other succeeded, but what ties them both together, and makes them both so appealing, is the sense of dysfunctional but united family.
A comment I made to one of Mark Baker’s recent posts, What is your primary media? Paper or the web? led to an interesting discussion about embedded user assistance.
In my recent webinar series on User Assistance and Cognition, I used the term Double Embeddedness to speak of embedded procedural help that has, in turn, concepts embedded in it. I also mentioned that our user assistance needs to be searchable.
In our exchange on Mark’s blog, he said,
Embedded assistance can never be comprehensive, by its nature, so there is still a role for more comprehensive information. But the place for that more comprehensive information is on the Web, where it can integrate with all the customer-produced information. People are simply going to stop looking to “the help” as an intermediate information source. They are going to start with the interface, and then go to the web.
I couldn’t agree more. Not only that, but the source of that additional material must be a true, integrated learning community, one that groups users, SME’s, developers, tech comms, marketers, and product managers in one community, sharing ideas as equal contributors (even if, eventually, some of them have decision power that others do not have).
That was one of the main points in the third webinar of the series.
If your user assistance isn’t Googleable, chances are your users are not going to find it – wherever else it happens to be.
I’ve had a number of emails, tweets, and other requests for information on how to get slides or recordings of the webinar series I just finished for Adobe.
Thanks are in order
First off, I need to thank all of you who attended, asked questions, passed me feedback and food for thought.
Thanks also to Adobe for giving me the space and the freedom to present these ideas, and promote the research we are starting to do in The Transformation Society. I’ll be blogging about that more in the near future.
Some Practical Information
Slides are posted as pdf files to Slideshare. You are welcome to use, but not modify, these slide decks, with attribution.
Recordings of the webinars are on the Adobe site – you need to have an adobe.com account to get to them. This will not hurt, I promise You can get the account for free, and there’s no obligation attached to it.
When you click the links to the webinar recordings, you’ll arrive at what looks like a registration screen. Don’t worry about it – just log in, you’ll end up at the recording, just as we promised
Session 1: Users Become Learners
Session 2: Empowering User/Learners Through Cognitive Development
Session 3: Integrated Learning: Building Customer Loyalty
I’ve tested the links, and as of this writing, they all work as advertised.
For most of the last seven years, France has had a meme called Florence Cassez. Mlle. Cassez has spent all of those seven years behind bars in a Mexican prison. She was arrested for kidnapping, along with her boyfriend, a known Mexican gangster. Her arrest was filmed by Mexican television. The entire country, terrorized as it is by drug wars and gangs, both imported from Colombia where the climate is not so comfortable any more, and home grown, watched as a foreign criminal was brought to justice by the Federales.
Mlle. Cassez, even during her arrest, said, “Yo no sabia” – “I didn’t know.” She consistently claimed her innocence, and her defenders asserted that her only crime was poor choice in partners and gullibility. The case became a cause célebre in both countries, and almost immediately became politicized, with Mexican and French presidents digging in – the one insisting on her guilt, the other on her innocence. The Mexican press was universally cruel to her, while the French press had practically acquitted her, so wildly enthusiastic were they for her cause.
Several times, the Mexican courts, right up to the Supreme Court, were asked to rule on questions of irregularity in her arrest, tainted evidence, etc. All to no avail. All appeals lost.
Florence Cassez became a true meme, spreading like wildfire and becoming symbolic in at least two countries, pushing in opposing and incompatible directions in each case.