I want to add a context-sensitive help to my interface. It's a complex of numerous screens and data fields, intended for the trained enterprise user.
- The icon is missed, because it's small, or because we tend to ignore such decorations.
- Users won't believe they would get an answer to their question, either because help is rarely useful, and even if it does contain the answer, most of the time the user is bound to sift through a long help text or a heavy help mechanism, before they reach the answer.
I'm not sure if these are the results of my own experience with software, or that it might be that many are sharing these expectations. Anyone aware of harder fact proving or contradicting?
Do you have any advice or best practices of planting these little help providers in a manner that would actually be used?
I think I covered everything this site has to offer, but no question I could find addressed this particular issue. The two closest ones were about displaying the help text automatically aside the main UI. This solution is sometimes known as "micro-copy", or "hints". see e.g. this question, and this one. I believe it works mainly for form-filling.