On-Line Help/Usability

Subject: On-Line Help/Usability
From: Stuart Selber <SSELBER -at- MTUS5 -dot- CTS -dot- MTU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 1993 09:14:04 EST

Edwin Putkonen asks about usability testing for online doc (below). You might
check out Thomas Duffy, James Palmer, and Brad Mehlenbacher's _Online Help:
Design and Evaluation_ (Ablex, 1992, ISBN:0-89391-848-2). The last chapter
includes what they call an HDEQ (Help Design Evaluation Questionnaire) with 50
questions in 8 categories that forms a kind of usability index. Brad reads on
this list. I'm sure he would be willing to elaborate if you wanted more info on
this approach.


Stuart Selber
Michigan Technological University
----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Greetings Netlanders,

I am currently in the early stages of designing
a usability study for an on-line help/training tool for
a vertical market product. One of the primary goals of
this effort is to devise a set or heuristic guidelines
that can be used to improve the usability and "obviousness"
of future versions of this product.

I would like to hear from any of you who have created
and/or applied usability testing to on-line learning tools.
I am particularly interested in:

* Ways to separate the testing of the on-line
help tool from the underlying system
* On-line system functions/behaviours on which
specific tests should functions
* Suggested test methods and strategies
* Methods that can be used to evaluate the results

I would be very interested in hearing from anyone who
has created/applied a set of on-line help related usability
standards as a direct result of the testing process. What
types of standards and guidelines have you applied? Have they
been effective? Have you taken any steps to verify the results
of these standards. Etc.

You may forward any replies to my personal e-mail address
as listed below. I will be happy to digest any responses and
post the digest to Techwr-L at some point in the future.


eputkonen -at- BIX -dot- com
Edwin G. Putkonen
THMS/Information Innovations

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