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Software for Use: A Practical Guide to the Models and Methods of Usage-Centered Design by Lucy A. D. Lockwood, Larry L. Constantine

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11 Help Me If You Can: Designing Help and Helpful Messages

Even Experts Need a Lift

It is a common experience: You have forgotten exactly how to accomplish an infrequent but necessary task with software you are using, so you reluctantly turn to the on-line help system. You look under one term, then another, and then work down through three levels of nested entries. Nothing, zilch, nada. You give up and ask your office mate. He doesn’t remember either, but, before calling the tech support line, the two of you try several things that don’t work. Your final desperate call to tech support is put in a queue, so you hang up and head down the hall to see Jeanine. Jeanine knows everything about Windows! As you finally return to your work, you try not ...

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