Re: Cue Cards

Subject: Re: Cue Cards
From: "Jared M. Spool" <jspool -at- UIE -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 2 Jun 1996 11:49:10 -0500

> My question is what kind of information should exist on a cue cards
> vs what should exist for help?

Excellent question.

Our research has shown that cue cards are best used for task or
procedural instructions. (Step 1, step 2, step 3 type stuff.)
Particularly if the steps require the user going to different parts
of the application.

Help, on the other hand, seems to be used only for three things:

1) Either the user is confused by something on the screen, such as
not understanding a term,

2) Or they don't know what *kind* of answer to put into a field, such
as "Is Loan Interest expressed as 8, 8% or 0.08?",

3) Or they can't find a feature they are sure exists in the product,
such as "Charting" or "Command-Line Options."

We've rarely seen anyone go into help for anything other than one of
those three things.

********************** DISCLAIMER ***********************

These are based on observations we've made of hundreds of users
working with dozens of products. However, we have never tested
*your* users working with *your* product. Our experience is that
every user uses every product differently, your mileage will vary.

In case you've never heard of us, User Interface Engineering is a
consulting firm specializing in Product Usability issues. Our
mission is to empower development teams by providing key information
for making strategic design decisions. Our services include training,
consulting and research.

Jared M. Spool User Interface Engineering
jspool -at- uie -dot- com 800 Turnpike Street, Suite 101
(508) 975-4343 North Andover, MA 01845
fax: (508) 975-5353 USA

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