User Needs

Interface Design

Usability Testing

User Support

User support includes all of the user oriented materials, in addition to the user interface, that will support the user in learning and using the system. Such materials include overviews, online help, performance aids, documentation, tutorials and training. User support materials may be online or in paper form, but the trend is to provide all user support online as part of the system software. Online support includes:

  • Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) - Online support that is so tightly integrated with the system that it is part of the interface. Developing an EPSS requires a high level of cooperation between the developers of the EPSS and the developers of the application. An EPSS would typically contain several, interrelated pieces of more traditional performance support such as online help, online tutorials, and wizards attached to a sophisticated, supportive user interface.
  • On-line Help - Online text and graphics that is contextually linked to the application at the screen or field level. Contains information about the system; its screens, fields, and commands; and gives instructions on how to complete tasks using the system.
  • On-line User Guide - Traditional user guide information delivered online.
  • On-line Tutorial - An online, interactive tutorial that does not contain testing of student performance. Online tutorials may be delivered by means of various media, e.g., CDs, downloaded from a server to the users desktop computer, or via the Web.
  • Computer Based Training (CBT) - Similar to an On-line Tutorial, but is typically more performance oriented and includes testing and tracking of student performance.

Synergetic Applications has experience in developing all of the different user support mechanisms, particularly EPSS and online help. Please contact Dr. Williams ( for more information on how we might help you develop user support. Also see Dr. Williams' new book on performance support.