You’ve probably noticed that many software vendors have dramatically reduced the amount and quality of embedded help they provide within their applications. Help content that’s served up with the “F1” key in most applications is generic and is often so vague that it’s hard to even know what to search for to find answers. And when you do search, the results are just as vague, disorganized, and irrelevant to what you’re searching for or the task you are trying to perform.
There are two basic problems with generic help:
- It doesn’t know who you are
- It doesn’t know where you are in the application
In an ideal world, the help you want would be Context Sensitive Help.
With Context Sensitive Help, the system first understands who you are and the role you play within your organization. Knowing this information, all help content is first filtered to only the content that is relevant to your role.
For example, what you see may be based on whether you are a sales manager or a salesperson. Why is this important? Most software interfaces look the same to all users, but the options within fields could change depending on who you are. Furthermore, the kinds of tasks that a sales manager completes on a screen may be very different compared to what tasks a salesperson completes. Context Sensitive Help customizes that help content to only show the options that are available to you in the role you play.
Secondly, Context Sensitive Help understands specifically where you are in the software system. Let’s say you’re in an accounting application. Obviously, the task you are trying to complete will be entirely different if you are on an invoicing screen versus on a general ledger screen.
With Context Sensitive Help, the help content served will be specifically tied to the screen you are on, eliminating the need for you to search. Furthermore, all the learning assets available to that specific screen, like videos, simulations, or eLearning courses, will be served, too. Context Sensitive Help provides options for you to get just the help you need, in your preferred format, just when you need it.
Individual workers are much more productive.
They no longer need to search internal Learning Management Systems (LMS), shared portals, or the Internet for help.
Overall work teams are also more productive.
When search activities don’t provide the answers, a co-worker is often the next source of help a user will turn to. Context Sensitive Help keeps the user focused on the application and the task they are trying to complete and reduces co-worker interruptions.
Help desks calls are dramatically reduced.
The majority of help desk calls received are “how do I…?” requests. By providing help content in context, users do not have to pick up the phone or log a ticket for answers. This allows help desks to concentrate on higher level tickets or longer-term projects.
User proficiency with the application is improved.
Rather than receiving all of their “training” on an application at one time in a classroom setting, users can access Context Sensitive Help to assist in their learning, improving their skills incrementally and at their own pace. And, if they happen to forget their learning, it’s always available right at their fingertips, so they can quickly re-familiarize themselves with exactly the right content needed to complete the task.
Context Sensitive Help is always the most up-to-date help.
Generic help, and even contextual help or embedded help, is often static information prepared when the product shipped or when the system went live. With Context Sensitive Help, content can be continuously updated and automatically pushed back out to the system so that changes in business processes, fields, pick lists, or user interfaces can be reflected in the help content accessed by users.
uPerform is the fastest, easiest way to create, manage, and distribute Context Sensitive Help. In fact, all content authors have to do is record the process exactly the same way it’s done every day. uPerform automatically captures the context and tags the content to the specific system objects associated with that transaction or business process. Then, when the end user is on a screen and requests uPerform help, uPerform knows exactly where they are, who they are, and what content to serve to them.
uPerform is the world leader, and provides Context Sensitive Help for web applications as well on-premise applications. For Context Sensitive Help examples, view our how-to video, or watch this testimonial video from Ann Austin at SSM health, who calls uPerform’s Context Sensitive Help “wonderful.” To see it in action for yourself, schedule a demo!