Context-sensitive Help Implementation Guidelines

Context-sensitive help comes in different forms so they may be developed and implemented in various ways.

Implementation Types

You can implement context-sensitive help into applications in different ways, for example by:

  • Publishing it as an online asset that is linked to in an application
  • Integrating it with an application interface
  • Embedding it into a desktop application or web application
Note: Some products require context-sensitive help to be embedded as an offline asset into a desktop application. An offline context-sensitive help can be accessed without the Internet connection, but is more difficult to update than a context-sensitive help that requires access to the Internet. To update an offline context-sensitive help, a new desktop application version that includes the revised documentation needs to be built and deployed to target machines.

General Guidelines

Keep the following general guidelines in mind when implementing a context-sensitive help:

  • Determine how the users access the help content in the application or on the website.

  • Assign meaningful unique IDs to the elements that you want to map into the application or website.

    For example, Section_ProjectManagement, Procedure_SavingYourProject, or ChangePasswordScreen_LoginField

  • If you want to map a topic into multiple places in an application or multiple applications, you can add several unique resource ID elements to the topic.

  • The IDs remain assigned to the topics and topic elements even if you change their contents.