Re: How to make online help unhelpful

Subject: Re: How to make online help unhelpful
From: Mary Deaton <Marymd -at- HALCYON -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 1994 17:17:18 PDT

> You can't keep the Help window open and work in the application!?

>That's right. I wonder if MS will be switching to the AppleGuide help system
>anytime soon? It's a much friendlier help system. It ships with system 7.5, and
>by itself is worth the upgrade.

>It gives you a step-by-step guide to what you're trying to do, and allows you
>to switch back to the application to perform the operations while the help
>window is still open. Each step description usually ends with: "When you have
>done this, click the right arrow." It also highlights the menu option it's
>directing you to choose in red, as well as drawing a red circle around menu
>names, buttons, or any other screen feature you will be working with.

>It's a start toward a good online help system. Now if only other developers
>will use it.

>Have fun,

>Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
>In God we trust; all others must provide data.

You can work in an application with the Help window open, if you are in 3.1 or
Just select the Always On Top option on the Help menu.

Microsoft has been doing step by step guides like you descrive since Access 1.0
using Cue Cards in 1990.
These are not a particular authoring tool, but a way of designing a system that
is task-oriented and
process oriented. Some MS products have used Windows Help to produce them, some
things like Toolbook.
There is a product out called QuickCards which is designed to produce nothing
but Cue Card like windows
to guide people through tasks. Usability Sciences out of Texes sells
QuickCards for products or a development kit ($395 I believe.) The cards you
develop can be attached to
the toolbar of any application, so they are great for internal job aids.

Windows 95 will have a Help function that is somewhat akin to balloon Help, but
can actually be scripted
to do a task as well as explain what something on the screen does.

Mary Deaton
KNOWware: Information You Can Use

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