Why Is It So Difficult For Users to Name Their Software?

May 22, 2014

The other day I got an e-mail from someone using “Corel 6” who said something “didn’t work”. More than a week has passed and I still don’t know what software this person was using nor do I know what wasn’t working.

Let’s get a couple of things settled first. Corel is the name of a company that makes many products. So is it really too much to ask to actually give the name of the software you are using instead of making me (or anyone else providing help) play guessing games? If you don’t understand, please read Insert Company Name Here Isn’t Working.

Software Names in Title BarWhether this person was truly using CorelDRAW, Corel PHOTO-PAINT, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Corel WordPerfect or one of many other products, version “6” is really old. For example, CorelDRAW 6 came out in 1995 on the same day as Windows 95. While it is possible there is someone out there using such old software, it is more likely they really mean X6. I’ll get into Corel’s naming scheme a bit later. Folks, the full name is on the title bar as you can see at right.

Of course simply stating “It Doesn’t Work” isn’t any help at all. For those who don’t understand, please read It Doesn’t Work, It Still Doesn’t Work and Good Support Requires More Information Than “It Doesn’t Work”.

Then a user ask me about our CorelDRAW Unleashed Bonus Content Packs and compatibility with the version of CorelDRAW being used. I said it works in CorelDRAW 9 and higher and the user responded they were using “CorelDRAW 6”. I clarified and the user had X6 and not 6, yet still didn’t understand that CorelDRAW X6 is a later version than CorelDRAW 9.

This got me to thinking that maybe Corel’s mixture of roman and latin numerals is confusing the heck out of users much more than I realized. It started with X3 simply because Corel didn’t want to put the supposedly unlucky number “13” on a box. Just to clarify, X3=13, X4=14, X5=15, X6=16 and X7=17. If you look at the Help | About dialog box, you will see the version number is shown without the mixed numbering scheme.

Either Corel needs to do a better job of educating users that the X means ten or they need to go back to plain old numbers since they are well past the unlucky 13.

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1 Comment

  1. DwellerBenthos

    I once had some one look at the Corel Draw box on my desk and ask “What’s Corel Drawx?”

    Reply

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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