Use of User Environment Variables As Teaching Aids
Original Publication Date: 1987-Apr-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Feb-01
Exploring Usability Services (EUS) is a tutorial for an interface to an operating system. EUS must run on many hardware and software configurations, and the configuration information is stored in variables. EUS finds these variables, substitutes plain English for them, and uses this information to "personalize" the online tutorial. For example, EUS reminds the new user of his user ID (name), the keyboard he is using, and teaches him according to whether he uses a high-function terminal or an asynchronous terminal. Without this externalized use of variables, it would be difficult for many new users to know, or even guess, important facts about their user environment. EUS is unique because it does not have to ask, "What kind of keyboard do you have? What is your user name? What is your home directory?" etc.