How common knowledge disappears – customer questions & answers for a turntable

In the olden days, every family had a record player (also known as a “turntable”), and pretty much everyone knew how to use it. However, if you look at the Customer Questions & Answers section for a turntable currently on sale on Amazon, it’s clear that many people today don’t know how a turntable works, or what it does. Common knowledge sometimes isn’t as common as people think.

Writing technical documentation in 2010 and beyond

If new technologies are creating new social behaviours in people, do those writing technical documentation need to adapt to these changes?

Linda Stone, who coined the phrase “continous partial attention“,  argues users have, over time, changed the way they use technology. They’ve moved from an era of creating, to an era of connecting and then onto one of belonging.

So should technical documentation also help people do more than assist someone to complete a task? Can you write technical documentation that also provides users with a sense of belonging? 

This is one of the themes we’ll be discussing in the free Webinar this Thursday (“Documentation as an emotional experience for users“). The Webinar includes polling of the audience and a debate over the validity of this viewpoint – you’ll be able to express your opinion with others.

You can see Linda’s presentation, “May I have your attention” here.