Re: Embedded help for a web based application? (Take II)

Subject: Re: Embedded help for a web based application? (Take II)
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 2003 15:08:51 -0500

"Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA> wrote:

>They may not necessarily be wrong here. Most users _really_ hate when
>developers make kind-hearted but misguided changes to an interface that they
>already know how to use--even if the changes really do improve the
>interface. In cases like that, you need to look for a solution that keeps
>the operation of the interface identical to the old way of doing things (so
>users who have memorized how to use it can keep using it that way), but
>provide better alternatives for those who need or want to use them.
>Sometimes all it takes is leaving all the dialog box widgets in their
>current locations, but giving them clearer names or adding on-screen
>instructions (e.g., Type the date here (DD-MM-YYYY)).

Another approach is to look at this issue the way Microsoft and Netscape have. Each (in succeeding generations of Windows and of Navigator, respectively) has offered a spiffy new presentation layer to new customers but offered a "Classic" skin as an option for existing customers. (Of course the option is available to everyone, but presumably new customers don't go looking for it.)

If your software is built with a presentation layer that is discrete from the business logic, it should not be too hard to provide both the old interface and a redesigned interface with a simple user-selectable option to choose between them.


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