Re: online help usability

Subject: Re: online help usability
From: Jim Grey <jwg -at- ACD4 -dot- ACD -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Apr 1994 08:39:45 -0500

Carl Stieren discusses better terms for "online help", then laments:
>Unfortunately, the install base of Windows 3.0 and 3.1 is what?
>30 million or more? All of these people see the word "Help" as the
>last item on their Program Manager Menu Bar. Also, most applications
>running under Windows also use "Help" as the last item on their menu bar.

"Help" is a brief and clear menu choice. The term "help" may not be
appropriate for all the kinds of online documentation, but is a good way
to tell the user that "here is something that may tell you what to do". In
my experience, even inexperienced users can figure out what "Help" is for,
just by what the term connotes. I remember being a novice (a hundred years
ago) and seeing "Help" for the first time. Believe it or not, I think it was
on a Commodore 64 application. I hate to read docs (even though I write
them), so not knowing what any of the menu choices were for, I chose "Help".
The help wasn't great, but it got me started, and I learned to *look* for
a "Help" option.

jim grey
jim grey |beebeebumbleandthestingersmottthehoopleraycharlessingers
jwg -at- acd4 -dot- acd -dot- com |lonniemackandtwangin'eddiehere'smyringwe'regoingsteadyta
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|ACD, Terre Haute, IN -- The Silicon Cornfield

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