Is it possible to combine literature and user manuals?

It will have escaped few people’s attention that the books of E.L. James have proven to be extremely popular. So, we wondered, was there a case for applying literary styles to user manuals? Would this make them more attractive to users?

As an experiment, and on this special day only, we have decided to offer to develop user documents written in a literary style. Clients can choose between the following:

  • The Jane Austen. “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single user in possession of a licence must be in need of a registration form.”
  • The 50 Shades of Instructions. “Press the Enter button, press it hard.”
  • The Twilight. “Fear the wrath of the error message, because if you make a mistake, error messages will be there, telling you’ve you’ve done something wrong.”
  • The Marcel Proust: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in reading this guide.”

We did consider offering a James Joyce option, but concluded that most documents produced by developers were already in that style.

Remember, for this day only. Can you think of any other styles that might catch on?


Michael Connolly

The “Janet and John” (or “Dick and Jane”) style:
Press the Enter button. Did you press the Enter button? Did the Enter button light up? Has the screen changed?

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