This hands-on course combines concepts and practice as students work through all stages of designing and writing a quality Help system, including analyzing user needs, designing information and visual schemas, writing, indexing, and testing. Students will have the opportunity to learn about industry-standard authoring tools and publishing formats, and discuss the future trend of online Help. NOTE: Students do not need to submit transcripts for entrance to this course. BUT, in the case of formal or informal grade appeals or reviews they will be asked to show proof of their English requirements. Students who wish to confirm their English level are strongly advised to take COMM 0015.
Students must have one of the following: 1) English 12 "67%" (C+) or equivalent (refer to BCIT's Admission page); 2) COMM 0015 score of 70 or better.
Upon successful completion, the student will be able to:
Determine suitable content for a Help system, based on audience needs and logical workflows.
Organize information into different topic types (conceptual, procedural, reference, and wayfinding) and know the basic structure of each topic type.
Design a consistent and predictable information flow and visual schema to help users quickly and easily find the information they need.
Write topics to industry standard guidelines.
Provide multiple pathways to access information by developing a table of contents, index, and effective links. They will also be able to explain how progressive disclosure and various search methods affect a user's ability to access information.
Ensure the quality of a Help system by testing and completing quality checklists.
Understand the differences between standard Help formats such as HTML Help, WebHelp, and Flash Help.
Assess industry standard help-authoring tools to determine which will best meet organizational and user needs.
Understand how the emergence of XML Help, task panes, push versus pull delivery, and an integrated approach to user-support may impact traditional Help systems.
Effective as of Fall 2006
COMM 1260 is offered as a part of the following programs:
Is the Help Helpful?: How to Create Online Help That Meets Your Users' Needs
Jean Hollis Weber
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