Online Help Usability

Subject: Online Help Usability
From: "BOB, ZKO3-4/CUBE 4X49" <pezzini -at- JARETH -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Apr 1994 11:34:18 EDT

Caryn Rizell writes:

>My coworkers and I have been wondering if the word 'help' is
>still a appropriate name to use for online information. We
>are finding that some customers never even go to the Help menu
>item at all!

>Our online help consists of a graphical guided tour and concepts section,

Our manuals in the OpenVMS docset are written in a single source
file (SDML) coded to handle three medias:

PostScript - hardcopy manuals
Bookreader - complete manuals read "online" in a windows environment
[like Interleaf's Worldview]
Help - online help that provides context-sensitive help
[snippets of the manual on a help screen]

So, two medias provide online information: one is online help
providing information focussed on the task from which HELP was called
and another that really is a bookreader for reading whole manuals.

Here, the term "online" by its self is inadaquate in defining what type
of online information you are providing.

What we have here is:

- Online book reading
- Online context-sensitive Help

Bob Pezzini |Disclaimer:
Digital Equipment Corp. |This statement does not represent
Nashua NH |the official viewpoint of Digital
(603)881-1645 ----------------------------------
INTERNET: "pezzini -at- jareth -dot- enet -dot- dec -dot- com"

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