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Help file is extremely difficult to navigate!

 
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raindrops
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Joined: 28 Oct 2005
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2005 1:00 am    Post subject: Help file is extremely difficult to navigate! Reply with quote

(I know I am in the wrong forum. Problem is, no separate forum is provided to discuss issues with the help file itself.)

The problems:

Unlike a CHM file, the OOo2's help file does not show where we are at present. Neither does it have a control to syncronize the tree (in the left pane) with the topic pane (on the right), so that we can locate our current position in the tree.

As a result, navigating to related topic is very restricted (we cannot go beyond the "Related topics" hyperlinks at the bottom of the topic page). This way of navigation takes the reader from one topic to another, and from there to yet another. After a while, the reader is lost.

So, if the reader has started with a keyword (i.e., from the "find" tab), he cannot read the relevant sections of the help file "from start to finish" and gain deep understanding of the issue. He has to come back to the contents topic and start all over again.

As a result, the help file does not make a good reading for a new user: It offers a blinkered view of OOo2. It is good only for spot references about a small issue.

Consider a new user's difficulties in using the help file:
1. He will open the file and select the application (e.g. Writer) from the pull-down menu
At this point, the tree does not change at all. In other words, he starts going around without a map from this point onwards.

Only the topic page changes, from which he is most likely to select the "Instructions for Using OpenOffice.org Writer" topic.

2. Even now the tree in the left does not open to show where he is. So from now on, he navigates only based on links in the right panes.

3. Some of the pages are left blank, which would confuse him. (e.g. The "Defining Borders for Pages" topic page) At least it should carry a single line "To be written".

4. After jumping to a topic from the main list, if he comes back (e.g. by pressing BKSP), he is taken to the very top of the main list. He has to scroll down to the point where he jumped from.

I believe that a fantastic help manual is vital if OOo2 aspires to challange MS Office that already rules almost 100% of the market. Not all users can be expected to read patiently through a multitude of documents (such as the migration guide, etc).

Just the help file must be adequate for the purpose.
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