All-Around User Assistance:
Delivering Information Layers
                  Nicky Bleiel
                  Senior Informat...
What we’ll discuss
•   What is elegant user assistance?
•   The embedded, Dynamic Help solution
•   Demonstration of layer...
What is “Elegant User Assistance?”
 Information when needed. Immediate. Now.
 Convergent with other UA; each layer works
 ...
What is “Elegant User Assistance?”

 Satisfies different preferences for
 information
 Has a feedback loop
 No information...
“Information when needed” —
 Embedded, Dynamic Help
• Provides immediate information, but can be
  hard to implement. Trad...
The solution?
Develop Help, use it to create
Embedded, Dynamic User Assistance




In the User Interface …
… and in dialog boxes also
Popular UA Technologies




  Source: 2007 WritersUA Skills and
  Technologies Survey
  http://www.writersua.com/surveys/s...
Demo: Dynamic Help, Super ToolTips
and other deliverables
How is this done?

• Dynamic Help control
  • Can be integrated in Visual Studio.NET applications
  • Information Developm...
Demo: Mapping Help to the UI
Delivering Information Layers
Step 1: Design Dynamic Help

To create a deliverable that can be embedded,
  and still stand alone:
  Breakdown the UI ele...
Step 1: Design Dynamic Help (cont)

 Decide what controls you will map
   Map Help individual toolbar buttons or ribbon gr...
Step 2: Plan Convergence

• List other deliverables (existing and desired)
• Analyze how deliverables compliment each
  ot...
Step 3: Create Help
Step 4: Map/Deliver Help

Use provided mapping interface.

Deliver proper files (Help and XML mapping
 file) to Software D...
Step 5: Complete Convergence

• Integrate all other deliverables

• Verify that web resources are live

• Release
Questions
Contact information:
Nicky Bleiel
ComponentOne
Pittsburgh, PA
nickyb@componentone.com
www.componentone.com

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All-Around User Assistance: Delivering Information Layers

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The best software user assistance is so elegant that users don’t need to look for it. In Doc-To-Help 2008, the embedded dynamic help window and expanded tooltips display relevant information as the user navigates the interface. This session will demonstrate this project and discuss how the interface was planned to include all-around user assistance, how the online Help was structured to work with the interface, and how mappings and other information were managed without the need for custom software development.

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All-Around User Assistance: Delivering Information Layers

  1. 1. All-Around User Assistance: Delivering Information Layers Nicky Bleiel Senior Information Developer ComponentOne DocTrain East 2008 Burlington, MA October 30, 2008
  2. 2. What we’ll discuss • What is elegant user assistance? • The embedded, Dynamic Help solution • Demonstration of layered user assistance • Planning for and delivering information layers
  3. 3. What is “Elegant User Assistance?” Information when needed. Immediate. Now. Convergent with other UA; each layer works with others* Tooltips Web sites Blogs Forums Wikis Job Aids Videos/podcasts * Don’t need to deliver all of these … ☺
  4. 4. What is “Elegant User Assistance?” Satisfies different preferences for information Has a feedback loop No information dead ends
  5. 5. “Information when needed” — Embedded, Dynamic Help • Provides immediate information, but can be hard to implement. Traditionally requires a great deal of Software Development and Information Development time. • Changes time consuming. • Updating difficult. • Traditional online Help still a necessary deliverable
  6. 6. The solution?
  7. 7. Develop Help, use it to create Embedded, Dynamic User Assistance In the User Interface …
  8. 8. … and in dialog boxes also
  9. 9. Popular UA Technologies Source: 2007 WritersUA Skills and Technologies Survey http://www.writersua.com/surveys/skillstec h07/skillstech_techs.htm
  10. 10. Demo: Dynamic Help, Super ToolTips and other deliverables
  11. 11. How is this done? • Dynamic Help control • Can be integrated in Visual Studio.NET applications • Information Development does mapping • Help file(s) and one XML mapping file returned to Software Development. • Help file can be HTML Help (.chm) or uncompiled browser- based Help (NetHelp) More information: http://www.componentone.com/SuperProducts/DynamicHelp WinForms/
  12. 12. Demo: Mapping Help to the UI
  13. 13. Delivering Information Layers
  14. 14. Step 1: Design Dynamic Help To create a deliverable that can be embedded, and still stand alone: Breakdown the UI elements (there must be a help topic for each relevant UI item) Breakdown major functionality (you may be able to map UI to these topics, but not always) Structure Help to explain UI, but expand out so additional information is layered on top.
  15. 15. Step 1: Design Dynamic Help (cont) Decide what controls you will map Map Help individual toolbar buttons or ribbon groups? Map dialog boxes to field-level information or the entire dialog? Then: do a sample TOC. Note mappings.
  16. 16. Step 2: Plan Convergence • List other deliverables (existing and desired) • Analyze how deliverables compliment each other. Eliminate overlapping. • Plan how these deliverables will be integrated in UI. • Strike the right balance between too much information and too little. • Make sure you have uniformity – for example, will tooltips match or enhance Help?
  17. 17. Step 3: Create Help
  18. 18. Step 4: Map/Deliver Help Use provided mapping interface. Deliver proper files (Help and XML mapping file) to Software Development.
  19. 19. Step 5: Complete Convergence • Integrate all other deliverables • Verify that web resources are live • Release
  20. 20. Questions Contact information: Nicky Bleiel ComponentOne Pittsburgh, PA nickyb@componentone.com www.componentone.com Blog “Technical Communication Camp” http://blogs.componentone.com/CS/blogs/techcamp/default.asp x Podcast on Tech Writer Voices/Interview with Tom Johnson Analyzing Your Users and Needs Before Creating help Deliverables: http://www.idratherbewriting.com/2008/05/31/podcast- analyzing-your-users-and-needs-before-creating-the-help- deliverables-interview-with-nicky-bleiel/

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