TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:name for help From:Tina Sansom <kms -at- PLAZA -dot- DS -dot- ADP -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 23 Jun 1994 09:27:24 -0700
> I developers of the system I am documenting a system have added single
> line descriptions of the menu item, screen object, etc. along the bottom of
> the current window. Although this information is context sensitive (the
> message describes the object the mouse is currently pointing to) and it is
> helpful-- "context-sensitive help" sounds overblown for the amount of
> information provided.
> I know other systems have this type of help. What do you call it when
> describing it to users, in the manual for example?
> Mary Ann
At my work, we call these single-line context sensitive messages Hints.
This is differentiated from Error Messages (that show up when they did
something wrong) and Help (full panels, windows, whatever, of information).
If there's any way you can, I'd recommend being able to edit and change this
hint file yourself--if the system is still in development you might be able to
swing it. I own the hint file, as if it were one of my paper documents.
Generally (in fact all) the programmers on my team like it that way too.
They'd rather not write, and they get to give a job to me that I'd rather do
Tina Sansom "You see, it takes all the running you can do, to
kms -at- plaza -dot- ds -dot- adp -dot- com keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere
(503)294-4200 x2326 else, you must run at least twice as fast!"
--Lewis Carroll, _Through the Looking Glass_