Online Help is offered as a medium of user assistance with operating systems and other software. It is gaining popularity due to its effectiveness in offering the right information at the right time to the right audience. Therefore, Online Help is being used by a wide range of products for offering support and assistance to its users.
Tech companies are integrating Online Help as a part of their products as it makes support easily accessible for the users. Furthermore, the focus on making the content searchable is also gaining popularity. It is so because it aids the users in solving queries themselves by landing at the exact topic in question. Hence, it is very crucial to envision the structure of the Online Help to ensure efficient navigation across topics. Consult experts to understand the technicalities of Online Help based on your audience analysis.
Online Help comes with many benefits for both the organization and the users. To the organization, the URL to Online Help can help in redirecting prospects from search engines. For users, as mentioned above, it offers support and assistance.
An Online Help should, therefore, be customer-centric. It means that one should ensure that an Online Help can serve the following purposes
Quick support: Reduce support time drastically
Online Help should enable users to troubleshoot minor issues. The basic purpose of the document is to help the product support team to focus on core issues. Therefore, it should be checked during the review if it can help the users to perform simple tasks and get desired results.
User-friendliness: Make the product easily usable
Online Help also enhances the adoption and usage of the product by the end-users. Therefore, technical writers given to draft the content should ensure that detailed audience analysis is done. There should be no room for misunderstanding. To illustrate, if the majority of the users are going to use a laptop, the instructions should be clear. It shouldn’t use the same set of words used for guiding users of touch screen smartphones.
Easy navigation: Ensure topic-based flow on content
Online Help is a topic-based document where pages are added for topics. Creating pages is always a more effective way than creating a comprehensive file. The navigation structure should also ensure a smooth transition from one topic to another. The table of contents should be structured in advance coupled with an index and glossary if required.
Common Style: Style guide based on audience
Emphasis should be on the style guide to be used. To illustrate, Apple uses its own style guide and its users have developed an understanding of the same. In case, your organization doesn’t have its own style guide, it can opt for MSTP, Chicago Manual, etc. The style guide should be based on audience and competitor analysis.
Infographics: Addition of screenshots
Finally, Online Help is documented to help the readers in performing specific tasks. Therefore, in order to make the information more user-friendly, technical writers should add screenshots. It helps the technical writers to review their instructions and also helps the users with more assistance.
While these are a few of the factors that help in designing and developing the Online Help, it is imperative to understand the organizational goals too. The design and structure of the document should be able to align with the company’s vision. Therefore, Online Help should be written by professionals with expertise in audience analysis and technical writing.