Context Sensitive Help

Subject: Context Sensitive Help
From: Becca Price <RP51 -at- CHRYSLER -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 8 May 1997 11:11:02 EDT

On the winhlp-l, there has been much discussion on context sensitive help
lately. Too often, it seems, when people talk about it, they are talking
about how to implement it, not what the contents should be.

We're currently debating this in my department, so I thought I'd get other

As users, what do you like to see when you ask for context-sensitive help?
do you want field-level information, as in Win95-style What's This? help?
or do you want to see what someone else thinks might be the most appropriate
topic? or possibly a list of options that could include field definitions
and information about common procedures? Should cs-help be at the field
level or at the screen level?

If field level help is the most appropriate, should the cs-help command (F1,
shift-F1, whatever) be the *only* way to get at this information, or should
there be links to that topic in the general help file, as well?

Right now, I'm not talking any specific platform - your answers can relate
to Windows, DOS, Mac, UNIX, whatever. The question is, what kind of
context-sensitive help is most useful to the users?

The specific type of application we're documenting is a database application,
for data entry, retrieval, and analysis... but don't necessarily limit
your answers to that.

This has become a matter of interest to me, primarily because I haven't found
much written about it anywhere.


rp51 -at- chrysler -dot- com

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