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There is no globally-applicable answer to the "single monolithic help file" vs "context-based help" question: as with so, so many UX issues, it depends on the type and complexity of the app itself, on the quantity of help text to be supplied to the user, and on the type of user and their level of expected familiarity with the application. Either strategy ...


This is a great question (because I have the same issue) and its super helpful to know that your audience are expert users. Our company is also looking for an answer to how to show help without cluttering our online app grids with help icons or distracting link looking headers. The question mark icons not only clutter but also distract a workflow. One study ...


Why do you think that adding a question mark icon/button displaying a tooltip on mouseover would look messy? That's exactly how Google Analytics does it and I think it's very straight forward. In fact there's a variant that looks fancier for YouTube analytics, but is less obvious to users. There you simply see the tooltip on mouseover on the whole table ...


This post compares the costs of implementing the different formats, which can be one reason why you see more passive than active help systems: An overview of context-sensitive and embedded help formats It also has some examples of existing embedded help in different applications.


I agree with eliminating the 'On Results Tab', I can't imagine anyone would ever read it. I would look at moving the other three controls you have on there, and grouping them all together. It's a bit of a 'treasure hunt' when you say 'look out for these icons' - treasure hunts aren't always bad, but in this case it's a bit weird. If you had the three ...


It is called user onboarding and there are many examples:

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