Design expert Donald Norman has written that when people are anxious, they tend to narrow their thought processes. Conversely when people are happy, they become more creative and imaginative at solving problems. If this is true, it means that one of the best things a technical writer can do is create beautiful content that moves readers to a happier, more adaptive emotional state. Or so I contend.
My writing colleagues and I recently presented on our favorite help systems from companies like Lego, Spotify, Google, and WordPress. Here are some things we found, and some implications for writers of help content.