Provide contextual help
Good, contextual help may mean the difference between completing a task and giving up for many users. This is especially true of elderly users who may be new to the internet and also have cognitive losses that make it difficult to process and remember information. A main goal is to minimize the amount of human memory required to perform a task. Some great help tools include the following:
- Cues/prompting. Give the user frequent tips on what to do next. For example, this may be a reminder to click “Submit” after filling out an information form.
- Contextual help. This is a help tool that gives assistance based on the application the user is currently using, as well as their current step within it. For example, it may display a help bubble describing the type of input to enter in a text field.
- Breadcrumbs. This is the common name for the series of links followed to get to the current page. For example, the breadcrumbs for this page would be RtF->Projects->MasterList->ContextualHelp. Displaying this may assist a person with memory loss in remembering their spot in a task.
Discussion by Disabilities
Cognitive, Language, Learning Disabilities & Low Literacy
Contextual help can assist a user in understanding, remembering, and completing tasks.
Related Research and Papers
- Providing good memory cues for people with episodic memory impairment – Lee, M.L. and Dey, A.K. (2007)
- Who’s asking for help?: a Bayesian approach to intelligent assistance – University of Toronto – Hui, B. and Boutilier, C. (2006)