Exploring the Persistent Problem of User Assistance

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Exploring the Persistent Problem of User Assistance

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Title: Exploring the Persistent Problem of User Assistance
Author: Martin, Andrew P.; Ivory, Melody Y.; Megraw, Rodrick; Slabosky, Beverly
Abstract: Users continue to report problems with user assistance systems. We conducted a study within three populations that have a stake in the user assistance process: users, developers (anyone who plays a role in creating the help interface, content, or functionality), and technical support providers. We administered a Web-based questionnaire to members of the three populations. Our preliminary study suggests that: (1) many users experience some difficulty with using user assistance; (2) users use Web-based content most frequently when they need assistance; (3) developers’ perceptions of users lead them to develop less popular forms of user assistance and for tasks with which users have fewer problems; and (4) technical support providers address this gap by supporting users on tasks for which user assistance is missing or inadequate and by developing supplemental resources to help users.
Description: Andrew P. Martin, Melody Y. Ivory, Rodrick Megraw, and Beverly Slabosky, Exploring the Persistent Problem of User Assistance, Technical Report IS-TR-2005-08-01, Information School, University of Washington, August 25, 2005.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1773/2079

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