Designing User-Focused Context Sensitive Help

This presentation by Matthew Ellison [Goog docs] given at last year’s Australasian Online Documentation and Content Conference (AODC 2009) has some excellent points on how to craft online help for context sensitive calls. This is something Bentley uses (a lot) and I’m trying to catch up on. There are really a lot of excellent points in these slides. I believe that even if you aren’t employing context-sensitive help, structuring your help as though you were is just as likely to get your users to their answers faster.

Also, the slide in this photo (from the same conference) made me laugh out loud (literally, not in a LOL sort of way).

Tax and Spend Conservatives

USA Today‘s Dennis Cauchon:

Federal, state and local taxes — including income, property, sales and other taxes — consumed 9.2% of all personal income in 2009, the lowest rate since 1950, the Bureau of Economic Analysis reports. That rate is far below the historic average of 12% for the last half-century. The overall tax burden hit bottom in December at 8.8.% of income before rising slightly in the first three months of 2010.

“The idea that taxes are high right now is pretty much nuts,” says Michael Ettlinger, head of economic policy at the liberal Center for American Progress.

Who was in charge when the country had its last budget surplus? Bill Clinton (D). Who was in charge when it (quickly) ended and we reached the highest deficit in history? George W. Bush (R). Who is in charge now that we have the lowest taxes in six decades? Barack Obama (D).

Who nearly bankrupt the Commonwealth of Virginia with spending? A long line of Republican governors. Who slashed spending and got the state back in the black? Mark Warner (D).

So do we all understand the notion of ‘tax and spend liberal’ is a boogeyman? I sure hope so. (via Gruber)