Monday, March 1, 2010

Help and its Usability

A verbose version of this wishlist was published in the Jan-Feb 2010 issue of STC India's newsletter INDUS.

What if my Help was not at all like the Help as we usually see it?

What if every menu option had a tiny Help button with a hovertext that tells me the consequences of a click-through.

What if there was no ToC? What if, instead of a tree of topics, I am shown only one topic? The topic that I reached by clicking the tiny Help button on the options on the menu bar?

What if every Help topic helps me orient myself with a You-Are-Here clickable flow-diagram.

What if all UI fields had examples?

What if the Help button on a UI field opened for me a page that shows the results of a predefined search – a search based on the UI screen I was at (and related to the task I was doing) when I clicked the question mark?

What if the UI had embedded cheat sheets that guide me along.

What if I had On-the-spot troubleshooting where an error message, instead of telling me what went wrong, pops up a wizard with which I can do that which should have been done in the first instance?

What if wishes were horses? Why, I'd gallop along on my tasks with nary a roadblock in sight.


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