Re: Designing a new help system -- Oh boy! ...ugh

Subject: Re: Designing a new help system -- Oh boy! ...ugh
From: "Donna Marino" <domarino -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "Techwrl" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 12:16:09 -0700


The users I've worked with on several projects have told me that they
consider screen shots in online help to be a bother because they have to
wade through too much information to find the answer they're looking for.
I've always thought that online help is supposed to answer a specific
question and let you get back to the task at hand, rather than providing an
online tutorial for how to use the system. Online help and online tutorials
are two different things.

But you should definitely listen to your users. If they want to see screens
in online help, I would provide them. Every audience is different.


-----Original Message-----
From: Giordano, Connie <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thursday, December 02, 1999 11:54 AM
Subject: RE: Designing a new help system -- Oh boy! ...ugh

>I don't have to deal with internationalization issues, so I can't even
>address that part of this thread. However, I'm wondering if anyone else
>found issues with NOT providing screen shots in on-line documentation. I
>did a fairly informal test about 4 months ago with our business QA folks
>(former end users who tested the application for compliance with business
>requirements). We had two copies of essentially the same help file, one
>with screens and other graphics, one with minimal graphics, no screens at
>all. The consensus of the seven people who reviewed them was that they
>screen shots, because it helped them figure out if they were in the right
>place by comparing. We came to the conclusion that screen shots were
>essential for beginners on the system, so we started developing a "basics"
>on-line help, that more experienced users never bothered with.
>Does anyone else have experience with feedback from users on incorporating
>screen shots? How did you resolve this kind of conflicting objective?
>Connie Giordano

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