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Case Studies in Web-based Embedded User Assistance Scott DeLoach © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Three types of information field-level conceptual procedural Overview © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Reminders "What does this acronym mean?" Exceptions "What if I have two middle names?" Relationships and dependencies "How do these settings relate to each other?" Field-level questions © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Embed as much as possible Link to conceptual and procedural Help topics when necessary (and possible) Group related field-level topics to increase usability Field-level UA goals © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Overviews Labels DHTML popup layers Popup windows Dedicated UA panel Field-level UA options © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Field labels – example eloan.com field-level UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Field labels – pros and cons Pro Very useful and easy to use Cons Do not scale well to support all fields Very limited amount of information field-level UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
DHTML popups – example nationalcitymortgage.com field-level UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
DHTML popups – pros and cons Pro Can include a large amount of information Cons Usually cannot include links Must be "found" by users field-level UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Popup windows – example apple.com field-level UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Popup windows – pros and cons Pros Can use a HAT to develop topics Can include links and navigation Can include an "unlimited" amount of information Con Often obscure application window field-level UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Dedicated panel – example alamo.com field-level UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Dedicated panel – pros and cons Pros Can include a large amount of information Very easy to use Con Difficult to add to an existing application field-level UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Navigation "Am I on the right page?" Features and limitations "Can I save this information?" Goals "What can I do with this application?" Conceptual questions © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Embed vital information and warnings Link Help for background, introductory, and advanced information Conceptual UA goals © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Overviews Labels DHTML popup layers Popup windows Dedicated UA panel Conceptual UA options © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Page overviews – example conceptual UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Page overviews – pros and cons Pro Appear in a prominent position, so they are more likely to be read Con Usually ignored if longer than ~2 sentences conceptual UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
DHTML popups – example msdn.microsoft.com conceptual UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
DHTML popups – pros and cons Pro Save space by layering information Cons Can be confusing to novices Opener can be confused with a hyperlink conceptual UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Dedicated panel – example A bankofamerica.com conceptual UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Dedicated panel – example B fidelity.com conceptual UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Dedicated panel – pros and cons Pros Can provide adequate answers to multiple questions Very easy to use Con Difficult to add to an existing application conceptual UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Task Steps "How do I complete my task?" High-level process "What do I do next?" Expectations "How long will this take?" Procedural questions © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Embed UA for most common tasks Link to Help for less common tasks Procedural UA goals © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Overviews Labels DHTML popup layers Popup windows Dedicated UA panel Procedural UA options © Copyright 2004, User First Services
DHTML popups – example USPS (in post office) procedural UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
DHTML popups – pros and cons Pros Can include detailed instructions Can appear in the main task area to keep the user focused Cons UA temporarily replaces part of the UI Opener can be confused with a hyperlink procedural UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Dedicated panel – example A procedural UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Dedicated panel – example B neimanmarcus.com procedural UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Dedicated panel – pros and cons Pros Always availableuser does not have to ask for help Easy to see the help and the application at the same time Con Difficult to add to an existing application procedural UA © Copyright 2004, User First Services
UA approach comparison LabelsDHTML popups Popup windows Dedicated panel Amount of information Links and navigation Ease of use Ease of retrofitting into an existing application Ease of implementing with a new application Poor Good © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Feel free to me. Or, catch me later at the conference! Scott DeLoach Founding Partner, User First Services, Inc Questions? © Copyright 2004, User First Services
Designing Embedded User Assistance for Web- based Applications Scott DeLoach.
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