How not to design a Help System – part 2

15 May, 2008 at 10:08 am | Posted in Help Systems | Leave a comment
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The other day I was working with a developer on the Context Numbers. He spotted that I had two different numbers for the same window, in two different Help files.

We have 2 versions of our software and although the window is the same in both cases, the route taken to display it is different.

All my Window help pages have a “How do I display this window?” link at the top, which takes you to a small page which explains the menu options and buttons to press. So I needed a different page because the link was different for the two systems.

“Why do you do that?” the developer asked.

Have you ever used a Help system where you’ve typed a search term into the Index, found a page which describes a window which does exactly what you want – and then screamed at it “So how do I get there?” ?

I explained this to the developer, and he said “Oh, if I was writing the Help, I’d just describe what the window does. I would never have thought of that.”

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