6

Most of todays applications have a menu called Help as the last element in the menu bar. But many applications are using the Help menu as a general container for anything that does not fit into other menus rather then for help content.

A good example is the IDE eclipse:

Eclipse Ide

It's easy to see that the menu contains, besides the actual help entries, multiple entries that are not associated with the topic Help, as Welcome, Eclipse Marketplace, Check for Updates (found in many applications), and so on.

Should a menu like that not be called More... rather than Help?

  • 1
    I like the application menu on Mac where you click the application name and random stuff is there. – Justin Meiners May 3 '13 at 19:20
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    I actually like the application menu - It's exactly what should be there on every application, so that application related stuff is not put in the file menu which should contain actual file operation commands. – Appleshell May 3 '13 at 19:39
5

You can categorize this under "menu bloat" ;)

Help is an expected menu entry and rather than adding another menu (or using the application's menu, as they should) a lot of apps have over-used this position. In their defense, it's a menu users turn to when they have questions. I assume IA's are simply trying to capture people browsing for app information.

Nonetheless, it makes good sense to change the wording if you want to do "more ...". Some verbiage options that come to mind for these kinds of bloated help menus:

  • Info
  • Resources
  • Learn more
  • Getting started

You might also want to consider the target user of this menu. If it starts to feel like something a seasoned user wouldn't want to see, it would be a good idea to allow for deactivating it. Upon a major update, you could reinitialize it to expose something like "What's new", if needed.

3

Can blame the Information Architect if you want to ;)

Here is Chrome's help menu. Search bar for searching help topics, reporting issue and a button which takes you to the help page.

enter image description here

That being said, it is a general pattern to include update and installation information in the help menu (look at PS and Aptana menus). Google does background updates and is able to get away with it.

The reason you can think for adding these topics in the Help menu is because they are providing help for these options. Help installing software, help updating software, they are wizards which guide you through the process rather than being commands like other menu items.

Photoshop's help menu:

enter image description here

Aptana Studio (IDE)'s help menu:

enter image description here

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