Blast from the Past: Early Help Authoring Tools and Techniques

Posted by on Jul 30, 2013 in Articles |

Online Help was a popular topic in the latter part of the 1990s. At least for developers, as you can see from the cover below of Visual Developer. The Jan 1998 issue featured: HTML Help: Win98′s Engine Transplant, Jim Mischel WinHelp Extension Tabs, Andrew Brundell, Critque-Help Magician Pro 95, v4.0, Jim Mischel Critique-HelpBreeze 2.0, Gary Warren King and a round-up of available WinHelp Tools and Utilities, shown in the images below...

Read More

Help examples for Microsoft Apps in Windows Phone 8

Posted by on Jul 28, 2013 in Articles | 44 comments

The latest version of Windows Phone (WP8), comes with updates to many of the apps that are pre-installed with the operating system/devices. The Help topics associated with those apps have also been updated. This look at one section of the Help + Tips app provides some insight in how the Microsoft UA team is thinking about design for mobile. The gallery at the end of this article shows screen captures from a single scrolling topic about sharing...

Read More

What Were They Thinking? Help in Microsoft’s OWA App

Posted by on Jul 26, 2013 in Articles | 50 comments

Microsoft just released an Outlook app for iOS called OWA. I was pretty excited about the possibility – both as an Outlook and iPhone user and also from a user assistance perspective. From the personal side, the app seems to work great. It gives me full integration between Office 365 on my laptop and phone. The UA side is pretty disappointing though. When you’re in the Mail section of the app, you can find Help by tapping the More Actions...

Read More

User Assistance Book Gallery

Posted by on Jul 4, 2013 in Articles | 1 comment

This is a collection of front and back covers from user assistance reference books. It is here as a historical record. However, the long (too long) lifespan of Windows Help means these references are technically still active. Click the covers to view more detail.       Published in 1990. This book may have been the first to include details about WinHelp. The three pages shown are the only references to it.     Published in 1990 as an...

Read More

Mobile UA – ESPN

Posted by on Jan 19, 2013 in Articles |

I wrote an article a couple weeks ago about design issues for the first-time user experience with mobile apps. The latest version of the ESPN app for iPhone is an example of the things you probably want to avoid. When you launch the app for the first time, the first panel of a tutorial fills the whole screen. It isn’t clear whether you are in the app or in a tutorial. The only indications are the breadcrumbs and the Skip text at the bottom...

Read More