Re: WinHELP Philosophy

Subject: Re: WinHELP Philosophy
From: K Watkins <KWATKINS -at- QUICKPEN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 08:42:00 -0300

David Dubin -at- notes -dot- pw -dot- com writes:

>>>I have been taught (and believe) that Windows Help should not take the
place of
a user's manual and should not become simply an electronic version of the
user's manual. Help is (or should be) that information a user needs
to solve a problem. Help is driven by topics (info chunks) and, since the
WinHelp environment is interactive, the user can navigate to the depth of
knowledge that is necessary to complete that task. Help is not a lineal
environment, as a user's manual is, even an electronic user's manual.

Our philosophy is that most users who are stumped in an app will go directly
the Search button and look for information about the concept that they need,
before they go to a Contents section or even a How To... section.<<<

My experience also is that people who use Help tend to go to the Search
button first. This means that your search keys need to be the equivalent of
a good index. But it does not necessarily mean that the content of Help
needs to differ from the content of a paper manual, though the chunking is
different. I find that (setting aside the folks who won't look anything up
on their own so long as they can find someone to ask) some people use paper
sources, and some people use on-line sources, and each group turns to the
other source only reluctantly. So I try to keep both sources containing
pretty much the same information, organized appropriately for the medium,
and well indexed.

K Watkins
kwatkins -at- quickpen -dot- com
speaking for myself, not my employers

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