When is Help usable?

Is your help system usable? An article from Donna Timpone covers many of the basics and gives a good overview of specific things to look for. Even the fairly simple act of culling print-metaphor phrases, such as "as shown above" or "earlier in this chapter" can do a lot. It's the first thing I recommend because it forces you to take a hard look at your content -- which is what a good help system is all about anyway.

To that end, don't take the "3 click rule" too seriously. It's an effort to make sure your readers can find topics easily without having to navigate too deeply. That's important, but it's also easy to obsess over counting clicks and forget to ask the harder question -- when the reader does find the content, is it truly helpful?

Posted: July 23, 2002 link to this item, Tweet this item, respond to this item