Re: Clickable bitmaps in online help: op

Subject: Re: Clickable bitmaps in online help: op
From: Bill Bledsoe <bill -at- ENVISION -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 27 Mar 1996 11:59:21 -0600


I've done both with varying levels of success. I think ultimately, what
you want is a popup to display over the application with a basic
description of the field/item. Then, on that popup, the user can click on
a link to get to the "full-topic."

Make sure though that the full topic doesn't jump all over the place...
otherwise you send the poor user into what I like to call "help-hell." (you
know the place, 20-some clicks from the original topic where you finally
give up searching for help and just guess!)

that's my $.02
* Bill Bledsoe "Code doesn't fly satellites,
* Envision documentation, process and
* Documentation Specialist schedule fly satellites."
* bill -at- envision -dot- com Bill
* or March 26, 1996
* intlidocs -at- mo -dot- net

From: Starr, Mike[SMTP:Mike -dot- Starr -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 1996 11:09 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: Clickable bitmaps in online help: op

I try to put a thorough description of the dialog box at the beginning of
the topic, followed by a clickable screen shot of the dialog box. Below
that, I put links to related topics. My objective is to give the person
pressing F1 an explanation of why the dialog box exists with full
explanations of each object within the dialog box.

Mike Starr
mike -dot- starr -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com


Rockwell Software Inc.
A whole new world in industrial automation software
2424 South 102nd Street
West Allis, Wisconsin 53227
Phone: (414) 321-8000
Fax: (414) 321-2211


From: Kris Olberg[SMTP:kjolberg -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 27, 1996 10:07 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list TEC
Subject: Clickable bitmaps in online help: opini

Through the years, I have maintained that placing clickable screen shots
online help is a waste of time for users. (This is an opinion only.) What
I mean by "clickable screen shots"? Essentially, what appears to the user
after pressing F1 is a graphic of the dialog box. This graphic contains
spots linked to descriptions of each of the fields and controls.

So what's wrong with this method (IMHO)? It's "interface-centric" and not
"user-centric." This means that it describes the interface rather than
telling the user how to use the interface. If the user presses F1 while
viewing a dialog box, for what kind of information is the user looking? A
description of the dialog box? A description of how to fill in the dialog
box? Or a more comprehensive set of tools (search, contents, menus) to
to the topic, whether narrative or procedural, that the user needs?

Opinions, please. Or, if you know of research ...

kjolberg -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com (preferred)
kjolberg -at- aol -dot- com
102031 -dot- 3556 -at- compuserve -dot- com

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