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  Sunday, March 9, 2008

"I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it."
Recently a friend told me "you're very lucky." I had to ask what she meant, and she listed off a number of positive things in my life that, from my perspective, have nothing to do with luck: I worked for them, and made conscious decisions to do so. I don't believe in luck--it carries too much connotation of fate or destiny. And too often it's used as a synonym for chance, which is how I choose to interpret Nassim Nicolas Taleb's use of the word in his The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

7:19:05 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Two recent posts on embedded assistance, my new specialty; one from Heidi Hansen, even though she doesn't mention EA specifically:

I came across this "you won't need them" verbiage this morning on an FAQ page and had to share it. The founders of this Web app, Tick, seem to think that it's so easy to use that you won't need even one Help topic as you use it. . . I applaud an app that has such great usability that a lengthy user guide is not necessary. . .  Heidi Hansen [Heidi Hansen's blog]

Then from IBM colleague Mike Hughes, much more directly:

Embedded Assistance
I'm working these days on some very exciting projects involving embedded assistance. Embedded assistance (EA) is user assistance that is incorporated directly into the user interface, specifically, assistance that does not require the user to go into a Help file or document.

Keep an eye out for Mike's next series of postings, he has some great perspective on the whole embedded assistance area. Mike's kind enough to mention my work on the subject, but of course I learned from others, including past STC President Andrea Ames, who's been preaching "think more, write less" for years now.

My goal for this year: get everything that a user needs to know right there in the UI, and never write another help topic again.

5:06:54 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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