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Guidelines to explore

Examples of Help objects

Challenge: Creating guidelines for customer assistance objects

Newly hired writers are often unaware of the many little pieces of helpful text that they must create to assist customers. Your styleguide can identify some of these; but if that is out of date, though, check out the User Interface specs.

In this challenge, identify the the types of objects devoted to customer assistance based on these user interface guidelines. For each object, identify four aspects:

  • Class (What kind of object is this?)
  • Function (What does it do? What question does it answer for users?)
  • Component of (What larger objects does it live within?)
  • Contains (What other smaller objects does this one contain? We assume that your object also contains text or graphics, as well.)

Related article

Creating customer assistance that actually helps, from Hot Text: Web Writing that Works (2002, PDF, 993K, or about 18 minutes at 56K)

Guidelines to explore

Oracle Browser Look and Feel (BLAF)

On Help text
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/helptemplates_spec.html

On Inline Messaging and Tips: http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/inlinemsgtips_spec.html

On action and navigation buttons:
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/btnAction_spec.html

On global buttons:
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/btnglobal_spec.html

On content containers on a page:
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/contentcontainers_spec.html

On contextual labels:
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/contextualinfo_spec_v21.html

On dialog boxes containing messages
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/dialogsmessaging_spec.html

On Instruction text
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/instructiontext_spec.html

For an overview of language in the UI:
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/language_spec.html

For stylesheet definitions of text objects
http://otn.oracle.com/tech/blaf/specs/textstandards_spec.html

Other Guidelines

Macintosh Guidelines for Dialog Boxes:
http://developer.apple.com/techpubs/mac/HIGuidelines/HIGuidelines-124.html#HEADING124-0

Saul Carliner's Resources on Specialized Techniques in Information Design
http://saulcarliner.home.att.net/id/techniquesresources.htm

Examples of Help Objects

Class: Instruction
Function: Answers the question: How do I do this?
Component of: Page, section, group of components, table
Contains: Information icon.

Class: Tip
Function: Reminder, advice on performing tasks, hints on how to use field. Answers questions such as: Can you give me some quick advice on what to do here, or why?
Component of: Page, section, table, group of components, component such as button or link, widget (radio button, field)
Contains: None

Class: Information Message
Function: Answers questions such as what does this term mean, what policy applies here. Not how to use the widget.
Component of: widget, message box, message page.
Contains: Icon, text.

Class: Content Container
Function: Answers question: how do I do this, step by step? Or: what is our policy on this?
Component of: Page
Contains: Text

Class: Rollover Bubble Text
Function: What is this component, or what is its keyboard shortcut?
Component of: action or navigation button, global button, icon, link
Contains: text

 

 

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