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)
- Breadcrumb Navigation: Further Investigation of Usage – Bonnie Lida Rogers and Barbara Chaparro (2003)
- Breadcrumb Navigation: An Exploratory Study of Usage – Bonnie Lida Rogers and Barbara Chaparro (2003)
- Web accessibility design recommendations for people with cognitive disabilities- Mark G. Friedman, Diane Nelson Bryen
- Beyond Conformance: The Role of Accessibility Evaluation Methods- Giorgio Brajnik
- Inclusive Design of Websites- Ana Isabel B. B. Paraguay, Miriam Hitomi Simofusa, Augusto dos Anjos Almeida
- Web for All: An User-Centred Design Approach for Making More Usable and Accessible Web Sites- A. Bernardini , D. D’Aloisi, C. Delogu S. Ragazzini G. Venturi
- Understanding palm-based imaginary interfaces: the role of visual and tactile cues when browsing- Sean G. Gustafson, Bernhard Rabe and Patrick M. Baudisch
- Auditory cues for browsing, surfing, and navigating- Michael C Albers
- Cognitive Therapy Abilities in People with Learning Disabilities- Kathryn Sams, Suzanne Collins, Shirley Reynolds
- Providing good memory cues for people with episodic memory impairment- Matthew L. Lee and Anind K. Dey
- Browsing shortcuts as a means to improve information seeking of blind people in the WWW- Christos Kouroupetroglou, Michail Salampasis and Athanasios Manitsaris