Software that Teaches Itself

Reynermedia on Flickr

Smart software design makes it easy for you to learn how to use it without help.

A long time ago, back when software was still a relatively new thing, developers were still learning how to make efficient programs and code. As such, when they made a piece of software, they usually included a manual that came with it. These manuals were found with anything from word processors to video games, and taught you how to use the software and some tips and tricks on using it.

Over the years, however, we’ve gotten better at making more efficient software. Manuals got slimmer and slimmer, and these days it’s unusual to open a book and read about how a specific piece of software works. Do you remember the last time you had to use a book, or even an online help page, to learn how to use an app on your phone?

Of course, the only way we can make manuals obsolete is if we make apps that don’t need them. So, how do you make software that ‘teaches itself’?

Use Standards

When you’re making software, you might be tempted to revolutionise how people use software. However, there’s no shame in using what’s already set in front of you!

The phrase ‘don’t reinvent the wheel’ comes to play. If you’re designing software or a UI, you can use elements which people use as standard in order to portray meaning to the user. For example, if you’re creating a video player app, you don’t need to write what each button does. You can simply use the symbols associated with Play, Stop, Volume, etc to better present what each button does.


Become a subscriber and get access to the rest of this article. Plus all our magazine articles.

Stories also include numerous links to help parents, kids, and teachers learn more. Get access today at just $15 per year!

Subscribe Today!

Also In The April 2017 Issue

Building and creating your tools with the Minecraft toolbox helps you survive the game.

Sensors give robots the senses humans have.

30+ ideas for all age holiday gifts, from books to apps to board games to VR and more.

There might be a reason that too-real robot and video game character creeps you out.

This programming language uses colors instead of text and punctuation to add and perform other tasks.

Knowing how passwords are cracked can help you create better passwords.

There are a number of strategies teachers (plus parents and students) can take to learn programming.

This project uses conductive thread to create a glove to activates your phone.

Software programming does neat things with language, in this case, mixing capital letters.

This Scratch game has lots of ways you can customize the game play. No cats were harmed in the making of this article either.

Links from the bottom of all the October 2017 articles, collected in one place for you to print, share, or bookmark.

Interesting stories about computer science, software programming, and technology for October 2017.