Doc-To-Help has produced another groundbreaking achievement in user assistance. Using what is being referred to as a Responsive Thought Forecasting Matrix, they have boldly stepped into the next frontier of documentation for software applications.
“Put simply, the Responsive Thought Forecasting Matrix (RTFM) technology, is a game-changer,” Product Manager Dan Beall said. “It’s a neural net processor; a learning tool. It starts by reading simple cues – whether a user has been sitting with the application open as the active window for more than 30 seconds and hasn’t done anything, if they’ve launched a few different dialog boxes without changing or adjusting anything – it automatically launches the documentation. That way, if they’re stuck or they’re searching for something and can’t find it, they at least get a place to start.”
But it doesn’t stop there.
“Over time, RTFM will begin to recognize search patterns and to anticipate the types of assistance a user is looking for. It will map certain topics and relate them to certain cues from the user, so that the user gets the help that they need in context.”
The revolutionary predictive technology was developed by Doc-To-Help Staff Scientist Hans Gruber, who claims that they’ve only reached the early stages of what RTFM can do for software users. “If you think about the possibilities, they’re endless, really. We could have a function that follows their mouse pointer around, attempting to predict where they’ll go next, dynamically displaying the appropriate topic for them. Over time, RTFM will learn usage patterns, get smarter and smarter, and eventually embed itself into the application, to display that dynamic content for the user.”
But RTFM isn’t just fancy technology, its primary intent is to save the end user – and the company that supports that end user – time and money. “Imagine all the people that call support lines, submit online incidents, or post to forums,” Gruber said. “If they could use RTFM, they could be more effective and, in turn, not tie up the resources at software companies that spend countless hours – and dollars – supporting customers. If we could get access to track to see when they’re trying to submit incidents or post to the forum, or tie into speech-to-text so we can ‘see’ when they’re calling the support hotline, we could have RTFM pop up and help them.”
Beall said that it’s an important first step, but it’s also important to remember that they’ve just gotten started. “Our goal with Doc-To-Help is to make the authoring, publishing, and user assistance process as seamless and predictive as possible. All journeys begin with the first step, but we definitely have a lot more steps to take before we can get where we want to be: I world where everyone just RTFM.”