How not to design a Help System – part 1

7 May, 2008 at 3:26 pm | Posted in Help Systems | Leave a comment

My daughter is highly computer-literate and has taught herself how to use many software tools. She is therefore something of an expert when it comes to how good – or bad! – Help systems are.

Chatting to her last night while helping her prepare dinner, she recounted her early attempts to learn how to use a well-known graphics package.

“Being a beginner, I wanted to know how to draw a line,” she said. Not an unreasonable thing to want to do you may think. So she typed “draw line” into the Help Index.

No references.

Apparently, this package uses some other term for this basic shape.

Now this is a classic example of the Help not being written from the users’ point of view. I’ll tell you about another example in my next post.


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