Problems after using UBUNTU for about 13 Days...

Ari Torhamo ari.torhamo at
Tue Sep 28 22:47:57 UTC 2004

Karsten Fischer kirjoitti 28.09.2004 kello 20:27:

> I seriously think that the lack of
>  user-specific 
> documentation (read: understandable documentation, means: If you never 
> had any idea that there might be something like 'mount' and you read 
> the man-page by accident you might guess what I am referring to.
>  It's a 
> proper, even excellent, explanation but a technical one) is a key 
> feature for the success of any OS.

I think you hit the nail there Karsten. It seems to me that the importance of having quality documentation is some times like a blind spot for those who create software. Documentation should be seen as part of the user interface and be developed with equal ambition to quality and ease of use as any other part of the software. 

Some may (unconsciously?) think that by making (GUI) software easier and easier to use, the need for documentation could largely be eliminated. I think this would be a misunderstanding, the price of which new users would have to pay. 

Ideally, when someone new to software needs to to turn him/herself to the documentation, that shouldn't be considered as a failure - that should be part of the plan. There should be a smooth, seamless transition from using the sofware to using the documentation. Documentation should allways be at hand for the user, he shouldn't have to see trouble to find it. The documentatin should have the same considerate feel to it as the sofware itself has. It's not enough that every menu, every option, every software function, etc. is explained there. The user is USING the documentation and the process of using it should be thought out as carefully as the use of the software. Documentation should be about guiding the user, not just listing things.

I would suggest doing usability studies for documentation. It's a lot of work, but there would be results too.

It would be interesting to try to write some documentation myself, but I'm a newbie who actually needs the documentation. Besides, trying to write descent english wears me out (I spent almost two hours writing this message... :-).

Ari Torhamo 

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