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Layered Navigation and Multiple Re-use of Structured Help Content

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000016147D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Nov-23
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-21
Document File: 6 page(s) / 185K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Disclosed is a system and method of implementing layered navigation and multiple re-use of structured content to provide comprehensive user help and basic self-study education services for web sites and desktop applications. This method helps to overcome the limitations exhibited by many help services for web sites and desktop applications. Little context is provided for the new user. There is no ability for a big picture" overview level of user information. Navigation does not provide the user an ongoing sense of his position in the help material and effective access to other levels. Help systems and knowledge bases are organized by "technical" or application step, rather than by business task. Search capabilities are often available only at the top level or entry point for the help material. There is little re-use of help and education content; different services often use very similar but purpose-built material. Task help and education are presented as separate services using different mechanisms. Novel contributions include: Extensions to known techniques for structuring knowledge bases; Extensions to the use of recognized techniques for designing, structuring, and delivering minimalist instructional material; Methods which enable the developer to prepare content once and to re-use the same content to provide multiple targeted user services; Synergistic cooperation among the novel extensions and a number of known techniques for structuring and delivering user help services.

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Layered Navigation and Multiple Re-use of Structured Help Content

   Disclosed is a system and method of implementing layered navigation and multiple re-use of structured content to provide comprehensive user help and basic self-study education services for web sites and desktop applications. This method helps to overcome the limitations exhibited by many help services for web sites and desktop applications.

Little context is provided for the new user. There is no ability for a " big picture" overview level of user information. Navigation does not provide the user an ongoing sense of his position in the help material and effective access to other levels. Help systems and knowledge bases are organized by "technical" or application step, rather than by business task. Search capabilities are often available only at the top level or entry point for the help material. There is little re-use of help and education content; different services often use very similar but purpose-built material. Task help and education are presented as separate services using different mechanisms.

Novel contributions include:

Extensions to known techniques for structuring knowledge bases; Extensions to the use of recognized techniques for designing, structuring, and delivering minimalist instructional material; Methods which enable the developer to prepare content once and to re-use the same content to provide multiple targeted user services; Synergistic cooperation among the novel extensions and a number of known techniques for structuring and delivering user help services.

This invention enables:

Early visibility to the user of:

   Range of services available Which path to follow to locate the desired information Layered content
Layered navigation
Persistent search Multiple use of material (linking, varying presentation) A higher percentage of users to identify the relevant path for their needs on the first attempt with a significantly higher success rate.

This allows a greater variety of direct uses through re-use of existing material, as well as a variety of indirect uses. Examples of indirect uses include access from portals, agents, and bots. The content and structure of user help services may be illustrated as follows. Fig. 1 defines the content of the various help services from the user perspective. With the exception of the help desk for operational problems, this model assumes user self-service.

1

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A "structural" view (Fig. 2) of these same user help services illustrates the novel contributions of the invention.

2

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The help desk Availability Service 1 is included to illustrate the total range of help services. This invention is not directly relevant to a help desk Availability Service. The Structured Knowledge Base 2 is structured by business task, rather than by the more typical approach of technical functionality. This granular task structure plus minimalist writing is necessar...