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2:14 Use Users' Terminology in Help Documentation

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 3 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 3 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

General User Experience


Guideline:

Create ‘Help’ documentation using the users’ terminology to describe elements and features.


Comments:

Users have a colloquial understanding of website features, names and functions (e.g., breadcrumbs). Create 'Help' sections that address unfamiliar terms with the right amount of context. For example, if you refer to the 'navigation bar,' explain or highlight what you are referring. Remember that users and designers may use different terms to identify the same web features.


Sources:

  • Bailey, R.W., Koyani, S., & Nall, J. (2000, September 7). Usability testing of several health information Web sites, National Cancer Institute Technical Report. Bethesda, MD.
  • Foley, J. & Wallace, V. (1974). The art of natural graphic man-machine conversation. Proceedings of the IEEE, 62(4), 62-79.
  • Furnas, G.W., Landauer, T.K., Gomez, L.M., & Dumais, S.T. (1987). The vocabulary problem in human-system communication: An analysis and a solution, Communications of the ACM, 30(11), 964-971.
  • Scanlon, S. & Schroeder, W. (2000). Report 1: What people do with web sites. In Designing Information-Rich Web Sites. Bradford, MA: User Interface Engineering.