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Where Is the Instruction in Online Help Systems?

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Abstract:

One of the ironic things about online help systems is that they are very often not helpful and even increase the user's frustration and stress level. This increased frustration sometimes results in the rejection of the software. One solution is to increase the effectiveness of online help systems by designing them from an instructional design perspective. Some of the things we can provide users include: imperative, task-focused procedures; graphic feedback; access to redundant instructions; links to tutorial practice; philosophical and conceptual explanations for 'why' they are completing specific tasks.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 1998

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  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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