Designing online help systems for reflective users
Journal of the Brazilian Computer Society
Empirical studies have revealed that most users are dissatisfied with current help systems. One of the causes for many of the problems found in help systems is a lack of coupling between the process for creating online help and the human-computer interaction design of the application. In this paper, we present a method for building online help based on design models according to a Semiotic Engineering approach. We argue that there may be important benefits to the users if designers communicate
... igners communicate their design vision, and we also point at the need to change current design practices to encourage creative and intelligent use of computer applications. We show how this proposal opens a direct communication channel from designers to users, and we hope this will contribute to introducing this new culture. A Novel Perspective on And Clarisse de Souza Online Help Design and Use malist and strategic information to encourage creative and intelligent use of computer artifacts. • help information is not available when needed; • help information is not accurate or is incomplete; and This work is based on Semiotic Engineering  , which views the user interface as a message sent from designers to users, representing the designers' solution to what they believe is the users' problems. It is through this message that designers tell users what they have interpreted as being the users' needs and preferences, what the answer for these needs is and how they implemented their vision as an interactive system. In Semiotic Engineering, online help is an essential application component. This is where designers will explicitly "speak" to the users, revealing how the application was built, how it can be used and for what purposes.