Browse Prior Art Database

Method for Guiding Users Through an Application

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000105231D
Original Publication Date: 1993-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Mar-19
Document File: 1 page(s) / 45K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Danis, CM: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

User confusion in the face of new or complex software can contribute to failure, lost time, or rejection of the application. A method for presenting on-line help to reduce this problem is described.

This text was extracted from an ASCII text file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 73% of the total text.

Method for Guiding Users Through an Application

      User confusion in the face of new or complex software can
contribute to failure, lost time, or rejection of the application.  A
method for presenting on-line help to reduce this problem is
described.

      Software users must learn to operate application program
interfaces which are not intuitively obvious to them despite the best
efforts of the program designers.  The solutions to this problem
which are commonly in use today (metaphoric interfaces, tutorial
programs, on-line reference) are as likely to create confusion of
their own as they are to aid the new user.  Things which are
unfamiliar to the user are subject to ambiguous interpretation or
incorrect interpretation or are simply incomprehensible.

      Despite the fact that software interfaces are confusing and
complex to an uninitiated user, there are paths of action through any
given (working) interface that will accomplish the intended task of
the program.  If we assume an overlap between the intentions
implemented in the program code and the intentions of the user, then
it seems the user can succeed with even a novel or complex program if
one successful path through the interface can be marked.  This path
can be indicated to the user through an easily recognized
unchanging-content graphic element which indicates the next action
the user must take to follow a successful path through the
application.

      This method for guiding users to...