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. (3.0 Credits)
Before taking this course, students must have completed their technical elective (COMP 1850 or COMP 2007 or COMP 2369). Students must also have one of the following English prerequisites, as well as intermediate word processing skills (MS Word 2007 for Windows) include the ability to insert cross-references, assign paragraph styles, and create a table of contents and index.): 1) English 12 "C+" or equivalent www.bcit.ca/admission/upgrading/englishproficiency.shtml ; or 2) COMM 0015 score of 70 or better. Students who wish to confirm their English level are strongly advised to take COMM 0015. 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 prerequisite.
No class on Wednesday, May 1. The course end date has changed from July 10 to July 17.
This course offering is in progress. Please check back next term or contact the appropriate Program Assistant [PDF] to determine when this course will be offered again.
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.
COMM 1260 is offered as a part of the following programs: