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Help

A Help system may be redundant if you have a FAQ. But once the FAQ grows beyond a few hundred questions, its structure may be hard to navigate. Even when you organize the answers into menu groups concentrating on particular tasks, the fact that every topic is described in the menu as a question may make it hard for users to find precisely the type of information they want, such as a definition or a procedure. Also, many answers combine different kinds of information in a single paragraph, demanding that guests read more than they may want.

Instead of presenting material as a series of questions and answers, Help is often organized around information types such as procedure, reference, concept, definition—and, more rarely, shortcut, troubleshooting, what's new. Looked at as a class of information object, each of these elements responds to a different type of question from the user. By breaking information up into these categories, and signaling exactly what type of information is to be found in each chunk, Help lets people locate the kind of information they want.


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