Exploring the Persistent Problem of User Assistance
Martin, Andrew P.
Ivory, Melody Y.
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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.
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