Big Ideas in
User Assistance

UA is necessary. Rarely does the UI fully explain itself.

Curated content beats the noise of forums for first-tier info.

The UA must be strong where the UI is weak.

Least-First principle:
Lnk from pop-ups to more complete info.

Findability is crucial. If they can't find it, they can't use it.

The UA profession is broad in scope. UA thinks about the UI AND the UA content


This website will give you a good idea of what we will be doing and what you will learn in HCDE 407.

Software User Assistance (UA) is an important part of the user experience. UA specialists create content that enables people to better understand and better use digital technology. They also design and manage community support for software products. UI (user interface) designers need to understand UA because UIs will not be effective if they try to convey what really should be part of the UA.

UA is also a valuable skillset for people who want to broaden their usefulness within software development teams and play a role in product marketing.

In HCDE 407, you will learn to write procedures and embedded (pop-up) help that is displayed directly from the UI. You will also learn about help systems, SDK and troubleshooting content, wizards, videos, online demos/tutorials, and manuals. You will learn to write clear and compelling technical explanations, including white papers and marketing content. You will also learn how content management systems enable the reuse of UA content.