Re: Planning a Help Project

Subject: Re: Planning a Help Project
From: Brad Mehlenbacher <brad_m -at- UNITY -dot- NCSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 23 Mar 1994 15:47:14 -0500

Hi folks-->

At the risk of being self-promotional (who'm I kidding, I'm being
self-promotional!), you might want to check out a book that me and a
couple of colleagues recently published:

Duffy, T. M., Palmer, J. E., & Mehlenbacher, B. (1992) _Online Help:
Design and Evaluation_. Human/Computer Interaction Series. Norwood, NJ:
Ablex. ISBN 0-89391-858-X.

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: Online Help in Context
Designing Usable Systems
Helping the User
Online Help Defined
An Overview of the Book

Chapter 2: Medium of Delivery and the Design Process
Description of the Study and its Participants
Interview Analysis
Core Issues Influencing the Design of Online Help
Constraints on the Design of Online Documentation
The Relationship Between Online and Hardcopy Documentation
The Writer's Responsibilities
Issues and Principles for Online Document Design

Chapter 3: A Task Model of Online Help
The Audience for Online Help: What We Have Learned From Research in
Document Design
The Audience for Online Help: What We Have Learned From Research in
Interface Design
A Task Model for Online Help

Chapter 4: Designing Interactive Help Systems
Dealing With Advice
Design Principles for Online Help: Assumptions
Designing a Help System: Principles and Pitfalls
Final Questions

Chapter 5: Understanding the Design Process
Characterizing our Participants
Characterizing Help Design Teams
The Design Process Elaborated
An Overview of the Design Process
Research and Review
Project Management
Create Design Specifications for the Content
Create Design Specifications for the Interface and for Functionality
Produce Help Text
Implement Help
Pre-release Testing/Quality Assurance
Post-release Testing and Maintenance
Summary of Design Process Findings

Chapter 6: An Overview of Evaluation Requirements and Options
Defining a 'Good' Help System
The Audience for the Evaluation?
End-Users and Their Representatives
Designers and Developers
Sources of Evaluation data
Data From Experts
Data from End-Users
Effective Evaluation Strategies
A Formative Evaluation Strategy
A Summative Evalutation Strategy

Chapter 7: The Help Design Evaluation Questionnaire (HDEQ)
Goals for the Design
Evaluating Content Versus Design
Evaluating the Design of Online Help
Structure for HDEQ
Selecting Items for HDEQ
The Help Design Evaluation Questionnaire
Administering HDEQ
The HDEQ Questions
User Task 1: Representing the Problem
User Task 2: Accessing the Help System
User Task 3: Selecting a Topic
User Task 4: Scanning the Information
User Task 5: Obtaining the Required Content
User Task 6: Understanding the Information
User Task 7: Navigating
User Task 8: Applying the Information

Chapter 8: Findings From the Evaluation of Help Systems
Evaluation Goals
Overall Ratings

Appendix: The Help Design Evaluation Questionnaire

Hope that the above is useful. Cordially, Brad.

>> Brad Mehlenbacher Phone: (919) 515-4138 <<
>> Assistant Professor Fax: (919) 515-7856 <<
>> Technical Communication <<
>> E-mail: brad_m -at- unity -dot- ncsu -dot- edu <<
>> English Department <<
>> NC State University You're working too hard if you analyze <<
>> Raleigh, NC 27695-8105 interfaces in episodes of Star Trek... <<

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