Re: Context-sensitive vs. navigational help

Subject: Re: Context-sensitive vs. navigational help
From: Chris Despopoulos <cud -at- telecable -dot- es>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Jun 2004 09:24:04 -0700

Interesting - I understood the problem to be different... The user (for wahtever reason) can only enter help from a screen of the app. That help entry is context-sensitive (well, context specific, actually). Once in Help, how does the user know where he/she is, and how he/she got to the screen in question?
Given that, you can post some sort of tree or "path" that shows how to get to the screen in question. This is common in hypertext docs. For example:
New Client -> Nasal Condition -> Left Nostril -> Turbulence

You could go a step further, and have each entry in that "path" actually be a link to the associated screen. And you might consider a place to put links to all the topics for screens you can reach from the current screen. Not only does this provide navigation. The reading experience in Help reinforces the user's understanding of the "shape" of the app itself.


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