online help usability

Subject: online help usability
From: Anatole Wilson <awilson -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 1994 15:49:39 PDT

I think a lot of sfotware developers are starting to move away from the
term "help," because it suggests that the users should use it when they're
frustrated or totally helpless, two states we don't *ever* want are users to
be in. I recently saw a demonstration of Oracle products where they seemed
to make a conscious effort to call it just "information" wihtout seeming
perjorative. (Does anybody know if this was, indeed, a conscious effort
on their part?)

Another friendlier term might be "guidance," or simply "guide," though I can
see how some users might find those terms patronizing or just plain

Anatole Wilson "An invasion of armies can
Sr. Assoc. Information Developer be resisted, but not an idea
IBM, Santa Teresa Labs whose time has come."
awilson -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com --Victor Hugo
all company disclaimers apply

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