Monday 23 February 2009

Accurate and useless documentation

I have a new pet peeve: accurate and useless documentation. 

You've seen it: the help tells you what each menu point does, but there's no tutorial. What you want is a quick and dirty "Follow these steps to make it work". You find a tutorial on the web somewhere else. To get the thing to work you need to click File -> Build Widget, then go to the second tab, and add a path.You click the "Go" button, and it tells you it hates your kids cos you did something wrong. But it doesn't tell you WHAT you did wrong, even though it obviously exploded because the warnings were in red and yellow. It turned out you needed to use forward slashes (even though it's a windows program...) and press the third button on the second tab (which looks like it's greyed out) to add a path rather than just typing it into the box above.

If you guess which program I'm talking about, I'll invite you round for a pint, and we can drown our sorrows on the lack of usability.  If you wrote that software, you should be ashamed of yourself.  Never publish software on the Internet assuming it'll only be used by geeks!

Sorry, rant over. I'm so glad I got that off my chest. Have a nice day.