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 ®. 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)