RE: Data on who uses Help?

Subject: RE: Data on who uses Help?
From: "Jonathan West" <jwest -at- mvps -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 24 Mar 2002 13:39:13 -0000

Hi Steve,

That is a very interesting question.

Help that is targeted at a beginner usually consists of step-by-step
instructions on "how to do this", and might arguably be better presented in
a booklet than a help file. (I'm sure we can all have a good argument about

For advanced users, (and I am an advanced user of some software) the purpose
of Help becomes rather different. Instead of being a linear "instruction
guide" it becomes for me more like an encyclopaedia, where I look up a topic
that I want to deal with at the moment, and then put it away again. I want
the access to be as instant as possible, I want the information to be
correct and up-to-date, and I *only* want the information that is directly
relevant to what I need to know right now. A book or web lookup doesn't
achieve those things in the way I want and need.

Where Help is effectively organised this way, I use it all the time, if only
to refresh my memory on the exact details of a topic I already know.

The context-sensitive help that is available for Word VBA is an example of
what mean, where you can position the cursor on a keyword, press F1, and
the help topic for that keyword appears, with links to related items.

Jonathan West

PC Magazine gives RoboHelp Office 2002 five stars - a perfect score!
"The ultimate developer's tool for designing help systems. A product
no professional help designer should be without." Check out RoboHelp at

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Data on who uses Help?: From: Steve Rudman

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