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44

It would certainly be a mistake to use the letter x as the multiplication symbol as x itself often denotes an algebraic term: eg compare x x y = c vs x × y = c The × or × or &#D7; character looks like this: × so it is a proper cross, as opposed to the letters x (ex) or * (asterisk) symbols which are a lazy approach ...


19

Have you considered placing it immediately after the textarea title? That way, it's immediately visible to the user if they are confused. ("Description? What exactly does that entail?")


16

I'm going to contribute a narrow response, so I'm not going to answer all of your question. Research reported by Andrea Ames quite a few years ago as a mini-conference at UBC's downtown campus, suggested that embedded assistance and usability are better than Help. She told the story of how she compared three different Help-delivery methods with/in a ...


15

When you have categories, there are often items that don't fit into any category well, and so you are left with a choice between having a category with a single item in it, or a catchall category like 'other'. If the item isn't needed in the first place, then regardless of whether it fits into a category or not, you should not include it. That said, I will ...


14

Popups are good as long as: a) they're not obtrusive b) you can easily dismiss them (the Stack Exchange model is to dismiss them by clicking anywhere on the popup itself) c) the user has some way of turning them off permanently. This could be either through a configuration switch or, as in the case of Stack Exchange, they disappear once you reach a ...


14

Someone once said that "Help is for the advanced users". (Don't remember the source now, but it's been with me for the last 15 years). At first, this sounds like a contradiction. But if you think about it, it's true. Novice users need an intuitive interface. If they are stuck, they will most likely play with it until they figure it out - or perhaps ...


12

Try using psychology. We've been exploring social proof and set completion in our app to get people to try out more stuff. It boils down to keeping track of features they use and then suggesting that if they use one more, they'll complete some visible metric (like a badge, or a LinkedIn-style profile completion meter). We don't actually give them anything, ...


11

It's a shame that I found the solution after posting my own question. So I will just share it there. Wikipedia recommends using The HTML entity × which will be resulted in × for multiplication: Multiplication List_of_XML_and_HTML_character_entity_references


10

I generally have found that users don't read anything. Especially tool-tips. It would help the power user, but I really don't think "thousands of tech support calls" would be saved. With that said...it doesn't hurt. Why not? For the few customers who appreciate it and read it would have a very nice friendly impact.


10

For the first case, the "information", it's perfect and I recommend it. IMO the "i" icon shouldn't be used for your second case, that's meant to have a different icon! (such as something that represents "settings" or in you example, "renew/subscriptions").


10

Because these instructions are supposed to be read after the user has tried and failed to interpret a field, not read first of all by every user. In the case of the Twitter examples, these texts often don't actually explain how to fill in the field, but rather how to make a decision. That is, they are supposed to be read only if a user struggles with a ...


10

I think it helps to have it there because the term itself (CVV, CSC) is not very intuitive when compared to the other terminology associated with a credit card. For example, card number, expiration date, name on the card, etc. Even though online shopping is more common these days, some people may not quite understand what CVV/CSV means at a quick glance. ...


10

Adding just an icon may fail to serve the purpose. You can easily find through the stats from the server logs on how many user actually clicked on "Help" for the purpose of it's existence. It is always recommended to let the user know what he is going to do in short rather hiding it totally. You may use the pattern as stated by Arkuen after a threshold when ...


9

It can be tough to get people to read. Sometimes they'll assume they know what you want and will refuse to read the help. The obvious answer would be to make your app so simple that it requires no explanation. But it's not always that easy and it's something I've struggled with for a long time. But in terms of context-specific help, I chose to make the ...


9

I believe the balloon is technically referred to as a "callout." Most websites I've seen call the pointy part a "tail." http://www.techsmith.com/learn/snagit/mac/1/written/feedback/


8

This is a good idea. To make the tooltip easier to find, you can add a little help icon to disabled controls. Since adding an extra icon beside the control may disturb the layout, you can add the icon to the control itself:


8

I think it has got to do with accessibility, screen readers can be set (or is it default behavior?) to read the 'title' of the links. This practice makes particular sense for high volume sites like google who probably get a fair number of users using screen readers. note: page from 2005! ref to study how the screenreader reads the TITLE attribute in various ...


8

First of all, the KB article you cited is rather old. It's dated July 13, 2004. There have been 2 major Windows OS releases since then and one more has entered a public beta. Secondly, it sounds like you have misunderstood the note in the KB article. The use of a right-justified Help menu in an application is not the recommended style for creating ...


8

Users are often more interested to know How do I go about to achieve this goal that I have, rather than investigating the purpose for random actions and CTA's that they currently see in the application. The reason it was removed was simply that it was found more efficient and helpful to focus on finding "good" solutions for letting a user search the answer ...


8

Yes, "mysqld --help --verbose" already exists to get more details on help. I would use "-- help --verbose" or "-help -verbose", this would at least be familiar to mysqld users


7

Just to be slightly contrary... is there a possibility that the users aren't using them because they're not the right features? Where do the features come from? Who are they targeted at? What needs are they addressing? Can you tell a story to the users about the new feature where it's solving a problem that they have? If there are more features coming ...


7

As others said, you should look into generating HTML files that you ship with your product for help. One of our products (used in an environment without internet access) has been doing this for years and many users prefer it to the PDFs we also ship because the navigation is easier, the content lays itself out to fit the browser window, and the chunk size ...


7

We produced a short video of Handcraft last summer (no longer available) and learned a lot. We might use what we learned in the future to do something again, but one of the most important lessons was that it's hard to get right. Because you have some priorities on the user experience side (like Csongor says, keep it short and simple, etc), you're creating ...


7

The idea that Help is for beginners is misguided. Novices don’t use help; advanced users do. Novices don’t use help because: We are a victim of our own success. We’ve made apps and web sites that users can use without Help, so that’s what they expect. And, indeed, an app should be designed so that the average new user can be productive without opening help ...


7

Here is my theory: Its about the ROI. Its not that there is a good reason for the passive ui for help sections, by all rights every part of a system should have an excellent and active ui. But we tend to focus harder on the core customer experience, because that's where the money is. And just tack on documentation / help sections. The effort that help ...


7

From a personal experience, I find FAQs quite useful, specially in services websites (and essential in the case where there are fees and legal issues involved). Advantage is, a FAQ page allows to anticipate questions, which can be translated into spending less time on mails and phone calls, and saving the users time spent hunting for answers. They are quite ...


7

When I see site-wide 'Help' links/buttons I tend to assume I'll be taken to a huge knowledge-base of articles where I'll have to search to find the answer to my question. I assume the search will be inaccurate and that it'll take me a while to find the answer I'm looking for, if it's there at all. While working at Facebook I felt they had this issue, and I ...


6

I would consider revealing the help gradually: If you set a standard where each field has a tooltip, you can avoid any special icon - the user will immediately know mouse over will result in a tooltip. Each tooltip should have a link in it (or alternatively the whole tooltip is press-able) to expand it for a more in depth explanation. This explanation can ...


6

I use TechSmith SnagIt v9. You can easily capture screen shots and add a whole bunch of things - callouts, stamps, geometric forms. I find it easy to use and very effective in making professional quality screen shots.


6

Yeah, Wikipedia calls them tails too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speech_balloon



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