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From Kay Schenk <>
Subject Re: The Impossible Question
Date Sat, 27 Oct 2012 21:56:38 GMT
On Sat, Oct 27, 2012 at 11:57 AM, Rob Weir <> wrote:

> On Fri, Oct 26, 2012 at 7:57 PM, Dave Fisher <>
> wrote:
> >
> > On Oct 26, 2012, at 2:06 PM, Louis Suárez-Potts wrote:
> >
> >> Hi
> >> Every now and then a user finds the experience of downloading,
> installing, using AOO disappointing and frankly frustrating if not worse.
> They will usually go to the user forums, but sometimes they will contact
> the Apache Foundation directly. Okay, but this does not really help them.
> >>
> >> What we did with OpenOffice was set up a Support page, which has since
> been moved to here, It's pretty much
> an improved version of the old but of course the "ecosystem" needs further
> fleshing out—it suffers from a lack of substantial existence.
> >>
> >> I'm also not persuaded that the route to it from either the application
> download page or homepage or wherever is redundantly clear enough for the
> befuddled enduser who installs AOO to replace his or her whatever suite and
> doesn't really know where to go…..
> >>
> >> So, my query is the usual impossible question: What can we do to make
> it clearer to the puzzled and frustrated how to get help? Sure, we can have
> a knowledge base (kb), FAQ, etc., and also enthusiastic community members.
> >>
> >> But what would you suggest as a path, or paths for the user? I
> personally would include something in the installation sets that point to
> the support page above; but also banners, say, or tags, stickers—glaringly
> obvious neon coloured blinking lights?—to relay users to useful pages.
> >>
> >> Ideas?
> >
> > We could emulate a version of what the ASF does to highlight the many
> projects. Take a look at - you will see a feature project
> section.
> >
> > Perhaps on we can add a "Featured Support Question /
> Language / News". This would be backed by an xml file of FAQs, Languages
> and News which would randomly be selected every day and republished to the
> front page.
> >
> I like the idea in general, but from a support perspective I think we
> need to get the feed down to the client.  Why?  Because users have no
> current reason to visit homepage on a regular
> basis.  It is not really a necessary place for them to visit, once
> they've downloaded.
> Most users just want to get their work done.  They don't have any
> emotional attachment to AOO.  It is just a tool.  If they are thinking
> about their tools rather then their work, then something is probably
> wrong.  This is not sexy, Apple-like technology that users go gooey
> over.   It is a good day that a user thinks about their document, but
> not about their word processor.  The task is in the forefront, the
> tool recedes into the background, like any good tool an extension of
> the user.
> Well, that's one ideal, at least.
> So in terms of priorities, we should want:
> 1) Fewer bugs, not more bug FAQ's
> 2) Less need for support, not a more prominent support page

Well this is the ideal of course.   In some cases though, what a user
already has running on their system may be a major culprit and something we
can't control or deal with easily (yep! I spent a number of years in User
Support as well).

> 3) More quick avenues for self-help rather than hard-to-scale support
> offerings
> 4) More skill-building pages, ways user can become more productive
> with the tools.  We could make a destination that users would actually
> visit if we could pull together solid content on "power tips",
> extensions reviews, lists of topical templates (for holidays, tax
> time, etc.).
> -Rob

I don't know ANYTHING about how the Help (the Support menu item) pages for
AOO are constructed (maybe time I learned?).  There's already a LOT of
information under "Common Help Topics". But, maybe we need to spend some
time revisiting this area and see if the topics still meet current needs
(in the product itself). Some of the issues that have been reported
recently are very odd but maybe there's a reason.  This would be the most
direct route for the end user I assume.

> > Regards,
> > Dave
> >
> >>
> >> Thanks
> >> Louis
> >>
> >


"Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never
 dealt  with a cat."
                                                -- Robert Heinlein

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