The best help is help users don't know they are using - "stealth" help.
Instead of creating a traditional help system, we create a stealth help system by answering three questions:
- What information do users need?
- When do they need it?
- What is the best way to deliver it?
The result of answering those questions before developing a help strategy is help so well integrated into an application that often it does not appear to be help at all. Users see a series of helpful questions or comments.
- Are you new to our website?
- Forgot your password?
- Learn more
- How to....
An application with excellent stealth help is eBay.
eBay anticipates users' questions and provides answers right in the application. The "How to buy" and "How to sell" links on the home page display help information.
On the eBay Stores overview page, "Getting Started" provides information about "Build Your Store," "Manage Your Listings," "Promote Your Store," and "Track Your Sales." That is help information, but users are unlikely to realize they are using help. They are just answering their questions about how eBay's features work.
We are impressed with eBay's stealth help and would love to help you create stealth help for your application!
Disclaimer: eBay has a dynamic website. The examples we give on this page were current on 7/26/11.
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