Usability issues - Help popups

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Are there other ways that users get help or more information about how to proceed in Moodle? (apart from alt text that pops up over an image indicating what the image is for, question marks that pulls up a popmenu and links in Moodle Docs)

A part from that users can:

  1. Application messages: Operational error messages and warnings.
  2. Tutorials and Moodle Manuals
  3. Asking to the forums
  4. Searching in the internet
  5. Searching for media files for instance at youtube
  6. Move over the mouse over that item so a text explains shortly what is the use of this item
  7. Accessing to a page where tutorials can be seen http://moodletutorials.org. One could then link to the videos from Moodle docs.

How and under what circumstances user's find help?

Users usually find help when there is a short description about a functionality. If the description is too long sometimes they become lazy and prefer to try to do that by themselves without looking for help. If the help description is too long they become nervous and stop reading. For that question marks in Moodle are more used than moodle docs. Moreover a functionality that should be changed is that moodledocs should open in a new window, as it is not possible to link moodledocs with the site (obviously all functionalities described at moodle docs won't be at the site and an error will be produced) and it is really not usable to come back every time that you click moodledocs and you don't open it in a new window.

What type of visual cue are they provided indicating that help is available?

  • There is a yellow circle (yellow indicates help) with an i inside to indicate the Moodle docs page (which is always at the bottom of the page)
  • There is a yellow circle with an interrogation mark inside to indicate help of this particular issue

Are there places where we are being inconsistent? Are there places where more help is needed?

Consistency is preserved although in some places help is needed or there is too much help as it was founded after the usability test made for the gradebook:

  1. In the gradebook sometimes the user needs help to return to the main menu.
  2. Users use the help menu to calculate the average but they don't learn how to calculate the average (this menu is not helpful for them, it was too much information and they get lost)
  3. They think a demo would help them to solve the problems they have using the gradebook.

Might we setup some type of help hierarchy like alt text (a word or two), then a question mark with a brief description, then something for a more detailed description, and possibly even a video demo?

It would be extremely useful to:

  1. Add a short sentence to describe what he/she could find at the help file
  2. Make a summary of the content of the help icon. Not all users have the same knowledge of Moodle and it can cause that novice are annoyed because it is too difficult for them, and that advanced moodle users don't find all the information they need. For that it would be important to make a short help paragraph for starters and a detail description with advanced functionalities and a detailed help for users with experience
  3. Make a demo would be really valuable mostly for novice. There are some manuals but nowadays more and more multimedia content is on the internet. Furthermore, it would be useful to have a quick manual with basic functionalities at Moodle's manual page making a demo in a desktop and recording it for example with RecordMyDesktop. It will be useful that the demo is accompanied by a tutorial with some screenshots such as the gradebook tutorial. Moreover this demo should be accessible from Moodledocs. A demo study has been done in order to design how to add demos at Moodle. Moreover, an example of a demo (about the Gradebook) has been done.

Doing this research could be a project in and of itself but how is it that users look for and find help?

After doing several usability tests, the general steps that a user take to find help are the following:

  1. They put the mouse over the icon so they search for information.
  2. They look near the icon they want to find in case there is some information there.
  3. They look for any icon in yellow or looking for a question mark all over the page so perhaps there is some help there.
  4. They look at the right top part of the page because help information usually is found there.
  5. They try to look to some manual or some quick tutoria, in order to know what they have to do.
  6. They post to some forum or try to ask someone.