Context Sensitive Help

Also known as CSH or Context Help. This is a type of Online Help, but it is delivered in-product, providing assistance depending on the current state of the application (context).

Context Sensitive Help

As a rule, context help is not available as a single document for all application functions. Each piece of this documentation relates to a specific application state and extensively describes that state.

The idea behind the concept of context help is that most of the users are reluctant to turn to a user manual right away when they start working with new software. Unless some really deep and complex tasks need to be performed, a user would rather go the easy way and try to figure out everything without reading documentation. So, context help becomes a great solution.

Context help can be implemented in different ways:

  • tooltips with plain text;
  • context-sensitive links to specific topics that open in a new window;
  • floating popup elements with rich text, images and links;
  • assistant panels with more content, step-by-step UI tutorials, and even videos;
  • full-screen light boxes with rich content.

Context help is also one of the most efficient techniques of case deflection. The thing is - a user gets help right on the spot, without the need to go elsewhere to search for answers.

Locating context help elements is very important. Some research or survey needs to be carried out beforehand to find out the most confusing or complex spots in the app. And, this is exactly where you’d want a tooltip or a pop-up to go.

Another important thing for context sensitive help is design. Of course, approaches differ depending on a context help type since there are so many. Some tools for creating technical documentation, like ClickHelp, allow configuring context help to your liking.

Context sensitive help improves the user experience, helps your clients achieve their goals easier, improves the conversion rate for the trial version users, deflects support cases. The content for the context help element may be created by software developers or by professional technical writers.

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