Designing and Evaluating Community-Based In-Application Help for Feature-Rich Applications
Millions of users seek help every day to troubleshoot feature-rich software applications, learn new functionality, or find application-related information. Although many knowledgebases, tutorials, Q&A sites, and other approaches exist for technical help retrieval, few users find them useful for all their help needs. In this talk, we will describe our approach for supporting in-application help retrieval by inventing new systems and techniques that connect users with each other in the context of their own tasks. We will first present LemonAid, a selection-based crowdsourced contextual help retrieval system that allows users ask questions and retrieve answers from other users within a web-based application by selecting a label, widget, image, or another interface element. Next, we will describe Social CheatSheet, an interactive information platform for retrieving community-curated help in the sidebar of any web application and show how users can quickly generate and aggregate task-focused curated instructions and multi-step tutorials using a combination of their own annotated screenshots and snippets of web-based help resources. Lastly, we will discuss some of our initial work in connecting users directly with experts by establishing a shared visual context and enabling in-context real-time conversations within a 3D modeling application. In presenting all of these systems, we will discuss results from various formative studies, lab studies, and field evaluations that shed light on the effectiveness, usability, and utility of these approaches and talk about opportunities for future research to explore how to offer more automatic targeted curated help to users of feature-rich software.
Parmit Chilana is an Assistant Professor at the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University where she directs the human-computer interaction (HCI) lab. Parmit’s core research in HCI focuses on the design and study of novel tools and techniques that help people use, learn, and program feature-rich software. Her work has been recognized with several awards and honors, including Best Paper and Honorable Mention awards at the ACM CHI conference. Parmit received her PhD from the University of Washington where her award-winning dissertation on crowdsourced contextual help became the basis of AnswerDash, a venture-funded startup in Seattle. Before coming to SFU, Parmit was an Assistant Professor at the University of Waterloo.
Laton Vermette is a PhD Student at the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University. He received his BMath and MMath from the University of Waterloo where he was an Ontario Graduate Scholar and an NSERC USRA. He led the work on the Social CheatSheet project and is currently exploring ways to provide more personalized software help to users.
April Wang is a Masters Student at the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University. She received her BSc from Zhejiang University in China and is currently working on better understanding and supporting the needs of conversational programmers who seek to develop conversational skills in learning technical concepts.
Mahya Sadeghi is a Masters Student at the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University and is co-advised by Stella Atkins. She received her BSc from the K. N. Toosi University of Technology in Iran and is currently working on developing a user-centered interactive content-based image retrieval approach for dermoscopy images.