Contextual instructional content vs. separate"user guides"

29 Nov 2005 - 6:53am
482 reads
Tommy Eskelinen
2004

Hey all,
I've been with an Internet Banking site a few years back, where we
implemented a help system where each page is based on "expert mode" and
"novice mode", where Expert mode is the shortest possible form and Novice
mode has explanatory text accompanying each field. The tests we did showed
that it was very appreciated and easy to understand.

An online payment is usually problematic the first few times you do it, then
it becomes a habit and you don't want the screen cluttered with a lot of
help symbols or anything else, you just want to fill out the form and get
done with your payment.

You can check out the solution (it's only in Swedish), but if you click the
Demo link and go to step 8 and 9 and compare.

http://www.ica.se/bank_demo/oinloggad/demostart.html

This Internet banking site has recently been voted the best internet banking
site in Sweden. (Sorry, I just had to brag about it ;-)

Have a nice day.

Best,
Tommy Eskelinen

-----Original Message-----
From: discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com
[mailto:discuss-bounces at lists.interactiondesigners.com] On Behalf Of Micah
Alpern
Sent: Tuesday, November 29, 2005 5:01 AM
To: Ockler, Sarah; IxD Discussion
Subject: Re: [IxDA Discuss] Contextual instructional content vs.
separate"user guides"

[Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted material.]

Hi Sarah,

The new selling process we're testing at eBay offers a novel system for
providing contextual information. As you make your way through the form a
right hand help panel is updated to provide with brief, contextually
appropriate guidance and information. This content is presented in outline
format and hyperlinked to help sellers find the information they need, when
then need it.

http://cgi5.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?SellHub3

Micah
eBay Interface Designer

On 11/28/05, Ockler, Sarah <sarah.ockler at gwl.com> wrote:
>
> [Please voluntarily trim replies to include only relevant quoted
> material.]
>
> Greetings -
>
> Web user guides are the albatross of our organization (health insurance
> company). The practice is that if users (members who use our site to
> manage their claims, benefits etc.) are confused, solve the problem by
> creating PDF user guides or paper manuals with a screen shot of every
> page of the site (literally - "Here are the pages you will see as you
> enter the site...").
>
> I've been tasked with creating an anti-user guide campaign and need to
> champion better contextual instructional content. I'd like to include
> analogies and examples of sites that do contextual instructional content
> really well, particularly for transactional applications with more than
> one step (e.g. buying something, searching for something with specific
> parameters such as name and location in a doctor search, signing up for
> a service etc.). My typical analogy is that if you visit amazon.com to
> order a book, you don't have to (or want to) download, print and read a
> 50 page user guide full of screen shots to make your purchase. You
> expect the process to be explained on each page contextually so that you
> can complete your transaction without going off the site or worse -
> reading a paper document at your desk.
>
> (This is a book. To begin, open the cover and start reading from left to
> right. Here is a picture of the first page you will see in the book.
> :-) )
>
> Does anyone have any thoughts or examples?
>
> Thanks!
>
> Sarah
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