Message for the new Web 2.0 companies…
Could you please spend some time (I know it must be very precious for you, but still…) on some simple and useful user help documentation? And I know it is asking a little too much now… but could the documentation be in alternate languages too?
I keep checking out various websites referred to by some many bloggers. Usually they force me to register to check out their service. I don’t like that, but this post is not to rant about that. What I really don’t like is that they don’t have enough “help” bubbles floating around to help you with their service. I usually figure things out by trial and error. I remember the example of digg. I knew about it a long time back. But I never figured out what the big deal was. Then a friend started using it and was ecstatic about it. So I went back to investigate. And now I am ecstatic about it. The first time, I did not spend enough time on it, and never figured it out. For example, this is how the digg people describe themselves:
Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control.
Now you try explaining that to my mom. Or anyone who is not technically very inclined. Or anyone who does not spend all day in front of their computer (yes… people like that do exist). You know what, in India there must be millions of people who go to cyber cafes to browse the Internet because they can’t afford a computer, leave alone a broadband connection at home. And then they have to work with those abysmally slow speeds. They’d be crazy trying to research these sites trying to understand how to use them.
del.icio.us is a social bookmarks manager.
Lets assume people know bookmarks. But why “social”? How many non-English speaking people are going to get that at first glance?
The Help sections SUCK big time.
All these Web 2.0 sites are just leaching the same people from here to there. I used to use Furl. Then I discovered del.icio.us. So I stopped using Furl. -1 + 1 = 0. I wonder how many of these sites get fresh new Internet users all excited to use their service.
A new site did impress me recently. Riya. Go to their index page. You should get their service at one glance. If not, click on the Take the Tour link. You should definetely get it now. And it’ll get you all excited. No fancy jargon and keywords. No use of the word “social”. Thank God!