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Author Topic: Wording and communication of the purpose of your software  (Read 2602 times)


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Wording and communication of the purpose of your software
« on: January 22, 2009, 03:52 AM »
One of the biggest lessons from NANY for me was finding out how very important it is how to communicate what your program does and in what scenario it is useful, in the right wording. As a non-native English speaker I found this hardest of all. I was wondering if any of you have tips or experienced the same problem?

In my case, with JustCloseSomeTasks, I think there's a very large group of people that have dismissed the program because I've not made the purpose and usefulness clear enough to them. :( Without going too much into it - they know their task manager for example and therefore see JCST as an alternative task manager, which is a shame as it means they'll probably not need another task manager. If they'd seen it as a taskbar declutter program then perhaps it would have been more useful to them.

A possible cause can be the terminology of the app. It seems the Windows terminology can be very unclear, with people mixing up windows, tasks, processes, tasktitles, processtitles, windowtitles, taskbar etc all meaning different things to people. Also a treelist with checkboxes is not specific enough to communicate, unfortunately.

This becomes very apparent as soon as there's some publicity / blogging about your program from people that have not participated in the forum here. Reviewers will have tried your program so if they don't get it then that's a clear sign. Commenters will make a decision to try out your program (or not) based on a quick glance - either the revies or the information you publicize about your program, if the program isn't clear in what it does (and what it does different), people might not try it at all! Even worse they could have a bad experience when it doesn't solve their problem very well. I guess word of mouth is the best promotional tool as it encourages people to try something without painting an incorrect picture.

So, concluding, I guess one way of solving this issue is creating a proper website around your app - write in a concise and clear way - and improve / revise this information based on the experience of what people commented. I think keeping this up to date with a good support system and documentation takes at least as much time as the coding itself and makes or breaks your app. The benefits of small programs like NANY is that they are very focused and thus should be easier to communicate. I am not envying mouser in this respect! FARR has an astonishing amount of features and is so flexible I wouldn't know how to even start. :Thmbsup: respect.

What's your experiences?


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Re: Wording and communication of the purpose of your software
« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2009, 12:51 PM »

I think you're correct that lack of clear, concise documentation hampers the acceptance of a piece of software.  For sophisticated software, screencasts can be of great help in documenting the use of the software.  Take, for instance, the online screencast tutorials about how to use Camtasia (which, by the way, were themselves created by using the software which they document).  TechSmith gives a series of screencast tutorials that explain how to do particular things with their software (record the screen, record audio, edit a project, etc.). 

So, for software of any significant complexity, I think screencasting can be very helpful if the screencasts are well-done.  Freeware such as Wink 2.0 can be used to create a nice combination of (1) frame-by-frame instructions on how to use a piece of software and (2) a few full-motion video clips of the program in action.