Useless Assistance

The goal of all user assistance and customer support is to help the customer, but sometimes it just doesn't. For those moments when people would have been better off not reading the manual, we have Edward Smyda-Homa's Useless Assist column.

Useless Assistance: Frustration Relief for Hire

A foggy morning in Central London. A man wipes his brow with his sleeve and consults some instructions during a shelf unit assembly, while an attractive curly haired woman in a white housecoat sips coffee and looks on from a nearby sofa. This is not a plot from the latest hit 50 Shades of Gray-type romance novel. He is a professional flatpack assembler. Continue reading ...

Tech Comm Whistleblower to write Useless Assistance column on techwhirl

Useless Assistance: Unwrapping Yuletide Frustration

The morning after Santa finishes that annual worldwide delivery, his toil is met with not only joy and laughter, but also sheer and utter frustration felt by those charged with assembling those holiday wishes-come-true. It should come as no surprise that Christmas Day is the 24-hour period when I observe the largest flurry of user assistance related Tweets. Continue reading ...

Tech Comm Whistleblower to write Useless Assistance column on techwhirl

Useless Assistance: A Window View on Frustration

I have possibly the most interesting window view in the tech comm world. From the comfort of my own swivel chair up on the second floor I have a first-hand, birds-eye view on the frustration people experience with poorly prepared instructions – looks of confusion, irritation, and panic, hands flailing in the air, heated conversations, and the abandoning of manuals to the perils of the wind. Continue reading ...