I’ve been involved in the IT industry for 15 years and working on a software which we started developing exactly 11 years ago. The software is being used by hundred of thousands of users in the Maritime industry. We developed this software to be user-friendly as much as possible or what we call “dummy proof”.
However, there’s no such as perfect software. Eventually, when the users doesn’t understand a thing on what is going on their PC or laptop, they whine or complain anything under the sun even if it’s not the fault of our software.
It’s not easy to have a real time support for our software since it’s installed on vessels which are often offshore for 3 moths or more. We can’t even send a technician to help them solve their problem right away because of the nature of their route.
To minimize support issues we used a lot of images and screen shots within the help file in our previous released versions instead of just plain text. Unfortunately, even if we already filled-up the help file with pictures, there are still a number of users who constantly nagging us on how a particular feature works. So for our latest software, we decided to record each every step on how a particular feature works by using a screencast software. We also added a sort of subtitles in the screencast because our software has multilingual interface as well. Ever since we used this technique our support issues went down to as far as 90%!
Not only we provide videos of our software for the benefit of our users, but we even encourage them to send a screencast to us if they encounter any error. With these procedures, we can easily track and solve their problem.
If you really want to “dummy proof” your software, I highly suggest to convert your plain text help files or guides to a more visual video recording.