I was having this conversation the other day, well, a meeting where I heard
If we have to explain how to do something to a user, we have failed.
Now, in some circumstances, without a doubt, there will be times where you will have to explain the 'rules' as it were. You will not be able to avoid it.
This leads me into a much larger question, however.
Is it acceptable, do you think, to tell an audience what to do, and for it to succeed? By succeeding, we mean a user reaches the end 'goal posts', whatever that might be. As far as 'Goals' and 'Conversions', it could be that a user purchases, and converts.
Here's an example I am working on:
The mock-up shows an African charity, where we wish to use the map of Africa as a
<a> hyperlink. It is not immediately obvious that a user can click this to be taken somewhere, so, by we thought of adding a line of text 'Click a map'.
Does this then fail because we have had to tell the user what to do? I tend to disagree. For me, somehow, it feels like a more personal experience because we are helping the user. Speaking to them directly.