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We are building a rather complex enterprise which consists of separate modules. In each module - each one of them can be quite different e.g. one is for reports, second for products etc.

One of the business requirements is to have a help button which redirects the user to the specific section in the help documentation e.g. if I am creating new page in a specific module and click on the help button - I will be redirected to the help documentation in for creating new page in that specific module.

The documentation itself will redirect the user to external page.

So here are the questions:

  • Is redirecting the user to a specific section in the help manual a good decision?

  • Where would the best place for a help button be - should it be always visible or in the user profile - dropdown menu. Does anybody have any data that shows how the user reacts to an always visible help button or one that is positioned in a dropdown under the profile.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

Thanks in advance!

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In your version 1, I would assume as a user that the Help link in a pulldown menu under my name (anywhere hidden, in fact) would simply take me to the top of the general Help section/FAQ page. This page might be lengthy and have numerous section, but the link is going to take me to the top to get started on helping myself.

In version 2, I'd usually assume the same thing, because the Help icon/link is not inline/in context with the bulk of the information that is on the page under your nav area. If you want to direct a user to a specific section of the Help documentation related to what's on the v2 page, then I'd prefer that the help icon was next to/inline/closer to the title of the content on the page. Then I'd expect to be taken to either a specific Help page that is about that topic, or taken to an anchor link on a longer Help page that starts where the page content help stuff begins.

Is it a good decision ... "redirecting the user to a specific section in the help manual"? I'd certainly want to look at what your competitors do, as your frequent site visitors will be familiar with how other sites similar to yours work and, for sake of consistency, expect the same behaviour on your own site.

My own opinion and UX research/work in the financial sector is that I actually prefer to be directed to the exact spot where I can get help. Note that, in my field, this is often driven by the complexity and/or nature of the information we need to present a user.

And I prefer that link not to be hidden, in the same way that I expect when I interact with a UI, that the result of my action will be right next to where I interacted with the UI, not appearing somewhere else on the page where I have to travel my eye or attention to discover. If I can't understand something, or am frustrated with my experience and need to be guided, I don't want to have poke around to find a hidden Help link, I'm already worried that I am missing something important. Why compound that feeling?

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