What are the four main types of help
that users may require? For each type, give an example
of a situation in which it would be appropriate.
answer available for tutors only
The four main types:
- quick reference
- task-specific help
- full explanation
Quick reference is used primarily
to remind the user of details of tools he is familiar
with and has used before. For example, to find a particular
command option, or to check the syntax of the command.
Task-specific help is required when the user
has encountered a problem with a particular task or
is uncertain how to apply the tool to his particular
problem. Help offered is directly related to the task.
Example would be the application 'wizards' that guide
you step by step through a common task such as mail
Explanation: More experienced or inquisitive
users may want a full explanation of a tool or command
to enable fuller understanding. Explanation will probably
include more information than needed.
Tutorial help is particularly aimed at new
users of a tool and provides step-by-step instruction
(perhaps by working through examples) of how to use
Each of these types of user support is
complementary - the same user may require each at
different times. Interested students may like to investigate
'just in time training' in which training is supplied
when it is needed - a sort of mixing of task-specific
and tutorial help.