RE: Context Sensitive TOC + Content (long)

Subject: RE: Context Sensitive TOC + Content (long)
From: "David Knopf" <david -at- knopf -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 12:28:55 -0700

You call this a "unique idea," and I say you have a bright future in the
diplomatic corps. ;-)

To your developers, I would say, "What on EARTH for?" From the
description you've given, this sounds like a really bad idea in terms of
serving the needs of the users. Context-sensitive Help calls should
direct users to a position in the helpset that either (a) contains the
information relevant to the task in which the user is currently engaged
or (b) contains links to a variety information relevant to the task in
which the user is currently engaged. I cannot see how it would be
beneficial to restrict the users' ability to navigate through the
complete helpset after being directed to a particular context-sensitive
Help target. Has any of your developers been able to articulate why this
might be a good idea or how it might benefit users to prevent them from
accessing the complete helpset?

In think the proposal is likely to create a great deal of additional
work for you, the other writers on your team, and the developers
themselves, while ensuring that a lower quality information product is
eventually delivered to your users.

I'm trying to think of some pros, but so far all I can think of is cons.


David Knopf / Knopf Online / San Francisco, CA
mailto:david -at- knopf -dot- com /

Consulting & Training on FrameMaker & WebWorks Publisher
Consulting & Training on RoboHelp
WebWorks Publisher Certified
Member, JavaHelp 2.0 Expert Group
Moderator, HATT & wwp-users

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-9942 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-9942 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com] On Behalf Of Barb
Sent: Thursday, June 27, 2002 12:11 PM
Subject: Context Sensitive TOC + Content (long)

Background: We are creating a new product line that runs on multiple
platforms (Linux hardware, Java software and JavaHelp). The development
team in charge of the overall Application structure has been working on
the development side of the JavaHelp issue (how to call the help, how to
pass context ids, and so on).

Issue: The development team has a unique idea on how to approach the
context sensitive help. They would like to track how the user moves
through the software to the point where they click Help, then compile a
unique help file that contains only items that are relevant to the user.

Currently: We use one master help file that opens to the appropriate
spot when called from a context id or the Help menu.

They propose: One master help file that opens when called from the Help
menu. Then, many, many individual help files that are individually
selected and compiled together at run time to create a context sensitive
help system.

Concerns: I'm worried that the user will want to see and move through
the entire tree, regardless of where they originially reach the help
file. I'm also concerned that they won't realize there is an overall
help file, and think the only help that exists is what appears.

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Context Sensitive TOC + Content (long): From: Barb Einarsen

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