Last night, my family and I went to the midnight party of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” at The Lion and the Unicorn book shop in Richmond upon Thames, Surrey. This children’s book shop is located in a narrow paved alley, so the queue of 100-odd people dressed up as wizards conjured up an image straight out of Diagon Alley.
So what does this have to with Help files? Walking back to the car park, I remembered that, in the distant past, in our time at Digitext, we wrote the text for the Helper character in “Lego Creator Harry Potter”. We were asked to write help text appropriate for an eight-year old boy (Lego is for boys, apparently). This lead to issues like, do eight-year olds understand the word “cylinder”? It was agreed they didn’t, so we had to come up with an alternative term that would work internationally. We eventually settled on “this type of object is like a baked bean tin”. It was a great project to work on.
My 8 year old bounced out of bed, six hours later (groan). How do they do that?