Re: Online/print

Subject: Re: Online/print
From: mpriestley -at- VNET -dot- IBM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 1994 10:47:13 EDT

I wrote:
>>like Mac's bubble help, and perhaps a monitoring system that looks for
>>"trouble signs" (like repetitive unproductive command sequences - eg
>>scanning and closing menus over and over again - or the same info messa
>>coming up three times in a row, or...), and then displays/updates a mon
> -------------------------
Elna Tymes replies:
>Unfortunately, that's what is IN the existing Help system. It's all the
>just waiting for them to click a button. It's glitzy, it's thorough, it

This is the key. I'm suggesting that maybe help needs to be preemptive.
Maybe we can make the horse drink if we stick a tube down its throat....
Of course such a feature would be optional, and they could turn it off -
but it would be on by default. Which means they'd use it at least once
(if only to find out how to turn it off!). _If_ it's useful, only comes
up when it's needed, etc., then they'll probably leave it on. And
get help. Writing the help to be that useful, and that sensitive to
context, is the real challenge here. But at least it's a challenge
with an audience, as opposed to our current system where the help sits
there unread and dies for want of attention :-(

I think I first heard this approach (monitoring the system for trouble
signs etc.) suggested by William Horton, in a course on writing for

Take care,

Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- vnet -dot- ibm -dot- com
Disclaimer: speaking on my own behalf, not IBM's.

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