Re: Usability: 2ndary windows in browsers

Subject: Re: Usability: 2ndary windows in browsers
From: Scott Miller <smiller -at- PORTAL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 1998 09:57:15 -0700

> Melissa Alton wondered about <<the usability of secondary windows in
> browsers (you know those things that pop-up on you while you are on
> the Internet, usually via javascript)>>.
There is a case where secondary browser windows are better than nothing,
which is when you write help for a browser-based application. There are
three alternatives:

1. Use one browser window and replace the application with the help.
This is about as bad as it gets, because the user has to toggle between
their work and the help.

2. Open the help in a smaller secondary browser window. This is slightly
better in that the user doesn't feel like the application has been
sacrificed just to get help. The problem is that there is no keep on top
attribute, so as soon as you click on the application, the secondary
window gets covered up.

3. Use one browser window and create some real estate in the application
for the help. This is ideal, but it's not easy to get screen real estate
for lowly documentation.

- Scott Miller
smiller -at- portal -dot- com

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