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Is there an end user manual for SmarterMail ?
Question asked by Curtis Kropar www.HawaiianHope.org - February 19, 2016 at 6:06 PM
Answered
Is there an end user manual for SmarterMail ?
 
Yes, i know there is the online help section
 
But i do not want to bombard or over expose our clients, with piles and piles of information they have no concern about and that will only confuse them even more. All of this : "Getting Started, how to install, competitor camparison, Domain administrators, etc, etc, etc. The vast bulk of the help files appear to be intended directly for admins. That will cook the brains of most of our clients if they start reading that.  The closes thing I have found to an end user only manual is the Interface Diagrams. but it does not explain how to use smartermail for an end user. 
 
Does ST have something already made up ? If not are there plans ? If not does anyone else have anything already ?
 
www.HawaiianHope.org - Providing technology services to non profit organizations, homeless shelters, clean and sober houses and prisoner reentry programs. To date we have given away over 1,000 free computers.

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Andrea Rogers Replied
February 22, 2016 at 8:54 AM
Employee Post
Hey Curtis,
 
At the moment, our Online Help is the best resource for getting the end users information they need. We don't have something specifically for end users alone. The documents that would be best for them to review would be found in the Help for Users & Domain Administrators folder. I can see how that would be useful, however, so I'll bring it up for discussion here. For now, I went ahead and grabbed PDFs from the Help of some common features your users might use:
 
 
Hope this helps!
Andrea Rogers
Communications Specialist
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278
www.smartertools.com
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Linda Pagillo Replied
February 25, 2016 at 8:45 AM
Hi Curtis. I was actually considering writing an end-user manual for people using Smartermail. What types of things would you like to see in the manual if I did decide to write it?
Linda Pagillo
Mail's Best Friend
Email: linda.pagillo@mailsbestfriend.com
Web: www.mailsbestfriend.com
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Curtis Kropar www.HawaiianHope.org Replied
February 26, 2016 at 1:27 AM
Wow. Cool.
Make sure SmarterPeeps give you a discount on your SM subscription.. hehehe
 
1) Well first, lots of pictures / screenshots.
The PDF's listed above have no pictures in them (the online help does). Most people are visual learners and when they are trying to do something they do better when they can click and follow "how its supposed to look" in instructions.  I have taught in classrooms for 15+ years (kids and adults) and very, very few of the people I have taught could just read something and then go do it. However if you draw them a picture (backed up with a good explanation) they get it pretty much the first time. Screen shots with circled call outs showing what items are, is good.
 
2) Real explanations.  I hate user manuals and help information that is really no help. I know you have seen these too. For instance : A field or prompt might say "Select AutoMagic Blah Blah Mode"
Then the "help" information says "This is where you select AutoMagic Blah Blah mode"  
No sh1t, wow, really ?  How about an explanation of what the hell auto Blah Blah is, what it does and what impact it will have when i select it ?
One of my recent discoveries of this stupidity is FireFox and their pop up that asks "would you like to refresh firefox ?"  The first time i clicked it i thought it meant i was clearing cache.  What the prompt should have instead said was "would you like to trash all of your custom settings and screw up your browsers configuration ?"  That would have been much more accurate to what happened.
 
3) Designed for old peeps and nooblets to understand. I see a lot of documentation that makes way too many assumptions about something while explaining the help. This is sort of like #2 above. #2 it assumes you already know what auto Blah Blah mode is. No, i don't know what it is, that is why i am looking for help.  A lot of the younger crowd may be tech savy to some extent, however  there are a lot of older people that are now starting to use computers, and a lot of people that have never used computers before or have expertise in a different area that are now having to learn how to do more on computers..  They are learning and don't understand some of the terminology and things we may take for granted.  Any real help needs to explain things in a manner that someone that has never used it before can pick it up and go over it step by step and get it right the first time, without having to ask for tech interpreter. (reinforcing why pictures are so important, you see what the end results are supposed to look like).  If you have ever worked for a company that has documented Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) this is really close. "Here read this, then go do it.)
 
Another example.  We design software that is used by non profit orgs to manage their day to day operations.  The first shelter that started to use our software 10 years ago... we designed this awesome system and gave it to them to use.. We THEN found out that the only person that had ever used a computer before that day was the Executive Directors wife. None of the other staff even had an email account. The rest of the staff were total noobs in the most noobish sense of the word. Just teaching them how to double click something turned out to be a solid 8 minute task.(no, you cant move the mouse even a little between clicks. no, clicking harder does not make it go better. No, clicking both left and right buttons at the same time is not a double click. )
 
4)  Ok, as far as smarter mail content, leave out anything to manage domains or accounts, or installation, etc, etc.  This is end user 101 only. Even things like shared calendars and syncing with a mobile device are not likely on a single user account. Sync or getting email on a mobile device can be covered in an end section, appendix or separate manual.
 
5) Domain administration and managing user accounts can be a separate manual. People that will be managing others accounts generally know they will need that, and generally already know the basics. Putting that in an end user manual would confuse the end users and it  provokes questions like, "When do i use this feature ?
 
6) Maybe a definition of terms up front ?  And maybe some basic info on what smarter mail is and how it is differnt from Gmail or yahoooot. 
 
7) Maybe something about creating folders and keeping organized. Like a "friends" folder then "bill", "sarah" and "zack" inside of the friends folder.  Then maybe a "School" folder, and then "classes", "internship" and "chess club" or something as examples.
 
I think some examples of various things could be helpful too.
Anyway, what you think ?
www.HawaiianHope.org - Providing technology services to non profit organizations, homeless shelters, clean and sober houses and prisoner reentry programs. To date we have given away over 1,000 free computers.
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Linda Pagillo Replied
February 26, 2016 at 6:02 AM
Thank you very much for the feedback Curtis! I think you have some really great ideas! I agree about the screenshots/pics. I think you're right about most people being visual learners. I'm going to take your feedback to my partners and work on a plan to get the ball rolling with this. I will try to give you an update on our plans and progress asap. If you think of anything else you would like to see, please let me know. Thanks again!
Linda Pagillo
Mail's Best Friend
Email: linda.pagillo@mailsbestfriend.com
Web: www.mailsbestfriend.com

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