Re: Online Help: How Concise?

Subject: Re: Online Help: How Concise?
From: David Egyes <davidegyes -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 1997 23:05:49 PST

Barb,

When confronted with this issue - just not being all that sure about the
computer literacy or compentance level of my audience and how much needs
to be explained to them - I take the following approach.

I suppose your help system has some kind of getting started screen or
overview, or at least some place where you introduce the user to the UI.
Use this opportunity describe common activities in full detail - with
all the points, clicks, tabs, buttons, etc. Describe these activities at
this level of detail ONCE. From here on, describe activities more
tersely, using language that assumes a certain level of competence at
the computer.

If at certain points in the Help system, you fear the user is going to
get lost and might benefit from more remedial level instructions, you
can always include a link back to the getting started/overview screen,
where the more basic skills are covered.

Good luck.

Dave Egyes

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