Too much, too soon: Why software providers should guard against information overload

Technology continues to transform our lives, bringing us new and exciting ways to live and interact.

However, one consequence of our fast-paced world is that we can find ourselves suffering from information overload. We can very easily end up feeling overwhelmed and confused.

We need therefore information given to us in a way that enables us to swiftly understand it, take it in and respond.

Computer software in particular can advance very quickly, especially in its early stages. Support materials for software must therefore be produced with this in mind.

They must also guard against becoming obsolete too quickly.

Having a good product is clearly essential but, just as in the non-digital world, it isn’t the whole story. A critical step is getting new users up and running quickly with the product during their free trial period, so that they convert into paying subscribers, a process often known as onboarding.

This is where giving a bit of thought to producing materials which assist the user can pay dividends. These will depend on the nature of the software application. They can be quick and simple, such as on-screen walkthroughs and tutorials that show the software in action, or more detailed guides on how to configure settings or personalise an application to suit a specific way of working.

The secret, to borrow a term frequently associated with software development, is to be agile, and start with lightweight documents that hold the user’s hands just long enough to get them going.

That way, they won’t resort to calling your support desk (which stretches your limited resources) or worse, give up and look for the next provider!

If your software team is too preoccupied with development to provide this clarity, why not bring in a technical writer to assess your product from the user’s perspective and produce a suitable guide, to show it off to its full potential?

A professional technical writer will help your user move from confused to confident.

Image used under license from Freestock.com

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