Re: Data on who uses Help?

Subject: Re: Data on who uses Help?
From: rudman -at- netscape -dot- com (Steve Rudman)
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 16:05:43 -0800

Thanks for the info---if anyone is aware of the exact references to such studies, I'd appreciate the pointers.

Another message in this thread alluded to the folk wisdom that hardly anyone reads help, as if that were an indictment of help systems in general (or an observation about human behavior). Of course, for a given application, the infrequent use of help may be an indication that the UI is well-crafted. So, yes, the ideal goal is to create a great UI or embed help in the UI itself. But for those apps that are still served well by having a separate help system, the main thing is to make the discoverability of meaningful help content as easy as possible.


Jim Shaeffer wrote:

I remember some Web usability studies that reported increased use of "Help" if "Help" was renamed to something like "Hints" or "Tips." (Of course, shouldn't our goal always be to _decrease_ the use of Help?)

Having users self-select themselves as beginner, intermediate or expert seems (IMHO) fraught with dangers and potential confusion.
Jim Shaeffer (jims -at- spsi -dot- com)

I wonder if calling Help something other than "Help" would appeal to advanced users more. Maybe call it "reference" or something, if "Help" is typically associated with content that you, as an advanced user, aren't interested in.

Steve Rudman
Manager, Information Design Group
Netscape Communications
rudman -at- netscape -dot- com

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RE: Data on who uses Help?: From: Jim Shaeffer

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