online help

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online help

On-screen instructions for using software that are immediately available within the application or from a website. Users in general, and particularly first-time users, are always complaining about the quality of online help. For decades, no matter how big or small the company, online help has been spotty at best, if not downright useless. Quite often, help on the vendor's website is not up-to-date and refers to an older version without specifying which one it is.

Online Forums
The many user forums and articles on the Web are often more beneficial than the official help in the application or on the vendor's site. Perhaps this is one of the reasons software publishers put so little effort into their own help. They know that the user community will eventually do it for them even if people have to wade through dozens of postings to find the answer.

Which Version Is It?
However, user-submitted answers create the same problem as official online help because they often refer to a previous version of the software. Menus and functions change constantly, and the very first statement on any help article or forum answer should be the version number of the application. This is often missing, and after users wade through several menu steps, the next menu item does not exist because the help and software are not in sync. See first-time user, help system and RTFM.
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References in periodicals archive ?
That said, however, technical writers will find some good nuts-and-bolts guidelines for indexing computer-related documents, designing and indexing Web sites, and indexing online help systems.
In the computer field, technical communicators are primarily recognized as the writers of paper-based user documentation, and it should therefore follow that they would also be heavily involved in the writing of online help.
The company explains users simply click on the Knowledge Spotlight online help customizable avatar, and solutions from the central knowledgebase pop up, relevant to the screen on which they are working.
within label designs and meet regulatory requirements, and multi-lingual online help files in English and Spanish.
Hundreds of pages of old paper documentation had to be reviewed for accuracy and completeness, verified against the most current standards and regulations, and then sorted into appropriate topics and converted to online help in a format that would be readily available to all of Unitil's users.
CloudDraw includes complete online help so descriptions of how to use all tools and options are always at the user's fingertips if they need them.
These three problems are now among the main reasons for children to seek online help from a ChildLine counsellor.
Founded in 2009, the company has marketed itself as a lower-cost alternative to ZenDesk, another online help desk service, sources said.
Online help generally involves information and educational services as well as therapeutic services.
MORE than 5,000 people took a dose of online help in the run up to Christmas Day to keep healthy and well.
The authors of other Windows titles acknowledge that Windows 7, the latest version of the Microsoft operating system launched in October 2009, does require consulting references beyond its online help feature.

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