How Real People Use Online Help

Subject: How Real People Use Online Help
From: David Janus <davidj -at- SUPERSTUDIO -dot- CO -dot- IL>
Date: Mon, 2 Sep 1996 13:08:55 +0200

Thanks to everybody who responded to my original message (which I'm
reproducing here):

>Does anyone know of any research that has been done/articles that have been
written dealing >with how people _really_ use online help guides? I'm also
interested in any practical tips for >writing help guides based on such

Several people answered me personally; others requested that I post to the
list any responses I receive. So here they are . . .

Someone mentioned checking out the archives of the winhelp usenet group.

Someone else recommended an article in the Journal of the Society for
Technical Communications, volume 43 (August '96). The name of the article
was not provided.

Other recommendations:

"Online help Design and evaluation" by Thomas L Duffy, James E Palmer and
Brad Mehlenbacher (1992). Ablex publishing, isbn 0-89391-848-2

The following articles I hope to have more complete citations for early next

HyperTools for HyperTexts: Supporting Readers of Electronic Documents -
by Kent Norman and Patricia Wright (psychologists)

Developing Electronic Documentation - A First Step - by Skipp, Tappan,
and Russel (project mgr, tech writer, and support technologies expert

Designing to facilitate browsing - A look back at the Hyperites
workstation browser - by Ben Shneiderman, et al (human - computer
interaction experts)

What Help Do Users Need?: Taxonomies for On-line Information Needs &
Access Methods - by A.W. Roesler & S.G. McLellan (not sure exactly what
they do)

David Janus
Superstudio Ltd./Softkey International
Jerusalem, Israel
davidj -at- superstudio -dot- co -dot- il
Tel: +972-2-673-4766

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