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Re: Help is obsolete

From: Kynn Bartlett <kynn-edapta@idyllmtn.com>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 08:53:16 -0800
Message-Id: <a05101007b83551958164@[]>
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>, w3c-wai-ig@w3.org
Cc: MKDoc developers list <mkdoc-devel@webarch.co.uk>
At 10:04 AM -0500 12/6/01, Al Gilman wrote:
>AG::  All of the people there could consider the evidence that separate,
>static pages for "help" are obsolete.

Is this presented from the view point of "how things really SHOULD work"
or is it based on user studies and observed behavior?

I think it may be too soon to declare one type of user assistance as
"obsolete" especially if that type is in widespread use on nearly
every operating system and application, from Windows help files to
Unix man files.

It's very common to identify specific items which "theoretically" are
not necessary, but which "in practice" are still desirable because
it will be expected and easily understood by users.  An example is
the left-hand navigation bar, which Jakob Nielsen agreed is inferior
but which he had to concede special dispensation based on widespread
use resulting in user expectations.

Do you have any studies to back up the assertion that static help pages
are obsolete?  (Are they obsolete in the way that books about computers
are "obsolete" too?)


Kynn Bartlett <kynn@idyllmtn.com>
Received on Thursday, 6 December 2001 12:26:24 UTC

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