Common Desktop Environment: Style Guide and Certification Checklist

Access to Online Help



Your application provides a Help button in all message dialog boxes, except those that contain self-explanatory messages. 

Applications should be designed with both the expert and novice user in mind. The novice user must be able to access additional information clarifying the message, the circumstances under which it might have been displayed, and what the user should do in response to the message. 

The brief description of the problem in the ErrorDialog should be sufficient for the experienced user, but may not contain enough information to enable less experienced users to resolve the problem. Rather than confusing the dialog with additional text, use the Help button to take the user directly to the online documentation for a more detailed description of the error, its causes, and methods for resolving the issue. Users who still need additional help can browse the general online help facilities from there. A few notices may not need Help buttons because the text of the message will cover the condition sufficiently.

For more information on how to access online help directly from the error dialog box see the Help System Author's and Programmer's Guide.