Ladies and Gentlemen thank you for reaching this final stage of the Heuristic Series. Up until this point I hope all the information I’ve shared with you will aid all of your future endeavors. Today we’ll be discussing Jakob Nielsen’s 10th heuristic, Help and Documentation. For this post I’ll just be using a generic created example.
Alright, quick recap:
Help and documentation
“Even though it is better if the system can be used without documentation, it may be necessary to provide help and documentation. Any such information should be easy to search, focused on the user’s task, list concrete steps to be carried out, and not be too large.”
Alright if it’s needed, provide some help. DO IT ONLY IF IT’S NEEDED THOUGH. Make it to where it’s easy to find, and of course relatable. Putting a “?” Bubble next to a search box is an example.
Alright, so let’s for example say you will place a search box in a location where (after rigorous User Research and Data analyzing) you know that this is the optimal place to put it for users to know what it’s for. Knowing this, you also know that some error can still occur. So you include next to the search box a help button (Recognition rather than recall in use above!) that, when rolled over or hit, will pop up a little tidbit on what the box is for.
So what’s the importance of this?
We as designers cannot stop every single issue that pops up. Sometimes when we do something for our main target audience we register that this can still cause some issues with another target audience. Even if we compromise, sometimes there will still be errors. So when it’s necessary yes, do add a little help and documentation. It might just go a long way. Ah…and emphasis on little.
——User First, Designer Second——