Saturday, December 29, 2007

Can good design eliminate training tools?

Good design is intuitive. Good design eliminates the need for explanation. One just 'knows' how it should be used. So if we don't need explanation, then we don't need instruction? We won't need documentation, training, elearning?Can good design eliminate the "for dummies" series?

One of the most revered pieces of intuitive design still require a 400+ page "dummies" book? This would lead me to believe that no matter what instruction will always be required. But why? perhaps the iPod just needs some more enhancement. It must not be optimally designed yet.

Good design is subjective. This is based on the user. A user familiar with mp3 players and typical media software absolutely loves Jobs' moneymaker. It seems to effectively deal with most difficulties people have had with media players. My mother on the other hand, will find it a nice looking paper-weight. The former actively uses gadgets and software, the latter does not. Does this mean my mom is a lost cause? No. Enter the training and instruction for the people that lack the prior experience to draw on. Until a product or design becomes completely universal there is always an opportunity for training.

For someone in the training industry better design might be considered against my best interests, but as user - i'm all for it. Personally I would rather create training on substantial concepts and processes rather than a 12-step simulation on how to save a file. The how and why behind tasks will always require explanation. What's in it for me? What's the big picture? These are the pieces that will always benefit from instruction . Basic tasks should be simple. This is what good design is all about. Things should work as you need them to, and as you expect them.