Monday, April 20, 2009

Searching Help: Don’t Even Go There

Action vs. Vitamin insights for search usability ...

"Web site user assistance that consistently exceeds customer’s expectations can catapult your company to legendary status and create brand equity you can measure in billions of dollars. However, making Help a strategic asset for your company is an arduous task. To shed light on this important topic, I have teamed up with Tricia Clement, a renowned cognitive psychologist and Web site user assistance expert. In this month’s Search Matters column, we’ll deliver actionable insights about Web site user assistance.
Aspirin Versus Vitamins

We can broadly classify Web site user assistance content or components as either

* aspirin—solutions that address an acute problem for people who need assistance right now
* vitamins—solutions for process optimization and longer-term learning and training

Aspirin Help should immediately alleviate the, hopefully, short-term pain of an acute problem. Problems in need of Aspirin Help represent clear diversions from customers’ desired tasks and usually arise when customers are completely stuck and looking for an immediate fix to their problems.

A customer’s mindset when looking for such content is that of fear—for example, a fear of losing money, losing time, or feeling stupid. The natural response to such fear is usually anger and frustration, a highly emotional state, and Aspirin Help solutions need to take the customer’s complex emotional state into account. Aspirin Help content must present a straightforward and simple way to address the customer’s immediate problem, as shown in Figure 1."    (Continued via UXmatters, Greg Nudelman and Tricia Clement)    [Usability Resources]

Figure1. Amazon Asperin - Usability, User Interface Design

Figure1. Amazon Asperin


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