RE: Encouraging users to read online help

Subject: RE: Encouraging users to read online help
From: Iggy <iggy_1996dp -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2001 21:18:13 -0800 (PST)

Some usability gurus also advise sticking with archaic
software because they haven't taken the time to learn
about how it really works and what advancements have
been made over time in that software.

But I digress...

The fact is, if the users are bypassig the help to
call support, the help is ineffective. If they don't
want to click "help" and search for an answer, you
cannot make them. You have failed to analyze your
audience. They obviously don't want to be bothered
with thinking - they want a quick straight answer, and
they are getting that from support.

There is no way to get them to use the help as-is. Not
with any positive effect. You need to rethink your
help design and cater to their needs.

Here's a huge savings on consulting fees:

Your users want to be spoon-fed info. They don't want
to think about a solution or go looking for one. They
get stuck, they call support, they have someone else
stimulate the gray matter, and get a solution to
implement. Your help needs to take the place of
support. Support does not and should not point them
back to the help.

So what do you do?

You integrate help into their workflow. Make it
painfully obvious how to use what it is they're using.

You do this through interface design and help
integration, either by what's this help or by
embedding help text into the interface.

Any other solution will just piss off your users, and
that is not what you want to do. After all, they are
calling support. Do you think they enjoy doign that?
No. But to them it's the quickest and easiest route to
an answer. You need to give them a quicker and easier
route to the info they need, not educate them on how
to think.

--- Jim Shaeffer <jims -at- spsi -dot- com> wrote:
> One technique promoted by some usability gurus is
> not to use
> Help, that is not to use the label "Help". Users are
> more
> likely to click a button labeled "Tips" or "Hints"
> than a
> button labeled "Help".
> Discouraging calls to the Help Desk by charging more
> for Help
> Desk support may encourage the use of online Help
> (or it may
> just encourage more muddling through, hard to tell).

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RE: Encouraging users to read online help: From: Jim Shaeffer

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