ICS 463, Intro to Human Computer Interaction Design: 11. User Support Dan Suthers.
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ICS 463, Intro to Human Computer Interaction Design: 11. User Support Dan Suthers
Help! Primary task: doing something in the domain Secondary task: using the computer tool to do it Tertiary task: using the computer to figure out how to use the computer to do it :-(
Help and Instructions: the options Attached to objects Context-sensitive help Guided scenarios … and Wizards Generic help Online help pages Written documentation Minimalist Instruction
Help Attached to Objects Tool tips, balloon help, etc. Necessarily short Best for identification “Huh”?
Context-sensitive Help Help command on dialogue or screen provides info relevant to that dialogue or screen Good for providing info on actions to take in current state Bad for getting users to another state
Generic Help Searchable, indexed, hyperlinked, usually short “OK” for definitions and simple common tasks Weak for handling error situations, advanced tasks, identifying what is possible
Guided Scenarios … Step the user through basic tasks Text and animation highlights relevant widgets and indicates what to do User carries out the indicated action Good for basic skills Might become a crutch
… and Wizards Do it for you Help becomes the method No longer a crutch?
Online Help pages Example: man pages Collects variety of information (routine use, special cases) Stylized format aids search Can be abstract and complex: better ones give examples
Written Documentation Extensive, book-like Provides background knowledge Takes more time than most of “the rest of us” are willing to take!
Minimalist Instruction Task oriented: how to do it Eliminate text and explanations that don’t address this Include handling of errors Learning of basic tasks faster
Some things to think about Does the need for help indicate a design flaw? Help itself benefits from user-centered design Match the paths through the help system to the user’s activity Give help for abnormal situations, not just what is obvious from the interface Tell users what the software does NOT do