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Apple Guide is returning to OS X

Daniel Kennett has resurrected a cool concept from the System 7.5 days: Apple Guide. Apart from being difficult to create content for (which, from what I've seen, he hasn't duplicated in his implementation), Apple Guide let you provide step-by-step instructions for executing a certain operation to your user. Also, it would use "coach marks" (circles drawn on your screen with a red marker) to show your users where a certain item currently was on the screen.

The cool thing about Apple Guide is that you can assist your users like Windows does it with its Wizards to introduce your users to operations and decisions, but in Apple Guide the user goes through the very same UI that advanced users get, instead of confronting users with a completely different interface and set of metaphors the moment they need something the assistant doesn't do.

Also, coach marks have the advantage over screen shots that they show the user the actual item to click. No more looking at a screen shot and then wondering which of two similar-looking items on the screen this little snapshot is supposed to represent (not everyone can quickly do pixel-precise comparison of two similar items, particular as screen resolution increases and UI stays the same but uses textures).

To help all of us help our users, Daniel has created the KNAppGuide Framework. It uses an updated look (HUD windows) for the step-by-step help, but otherwise is pretty much the same.

I'd love to see more help like that make its way into applications on the Mac. And even better: It's open source, so if anyone has ideas for improvements, they can easily be added.

Update: Slight wording adjustments to clarify my intent and make this look vaguely similar to English.

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Created: 2009-05-20 @639 Last change: 2009-05-20 @671 | Home | Admin | Edit
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