-8

This could be part of my related question but the request here is actually quite different. Instead of shouting to new users, "HERES THE HELP CENTER", how about we make it more accessible to any users. Similar to Shadow Wizard's answer where he suggested to add the 10k tools page directly into the topbar rather than hidden in the review page, why can't we do that with the Help Center link?

The Help Center is well placed under the help tab but I think it should stand out more so users can access the very useful articles quicker, in a sense of speed and early in the starting stages of their "Stack Exchange lives":

enter image description here

Made possible by some changes to Mego's userscript. Here is the userscript I used:

// ==UserScript==
// @name        Stack Exchange Tools Button
// @version     1.1
// @description A script to add a Tools button to the omnibar on Stack Exchange sites
// @match       *://*.stackexchange.com/*
// @match       *://*.stackoverflow.com/*
// @match       *://*.askubuntu.com/*
// @match       *://*.superuser.com/*
// @match       *://*.serverfault.com/*
// @match       *://*.mathoverflow.net/*
// @author      Anthony Pham 
// @grant       none
// ==/UserScript==

(function() {
    'use strict';
    $(".topbar-menu-links").prepend('<a href="/help" title="Detailed answers to commonly asked questions">Help Center</a>');
})();

As Mego also said, the change is relatively simple and should be easily established. So can we add the Help Center link directly to the topbar so it is more easily seen by users and more accessible? Or at the very least, shown somehwere else that is more visible than the help?

  • 2
    'Can we not hide the Help Center under the “help” option' - hmm... no sure if you're serious? Maybe rename 'help' to 'bagels' - if the users are hungry, they will be attracted there? – Martin James Jan 14 '17 at 23:11
  • @MartinJames Oh... that really is stupid – Anthony Pham Jan 14 '17 at 23:12
  • Well, I read your title several times, and a humourous comment seemed the most inoffensive possible reply.... – Martin James Jan 14 '17 at 23:17
  • Dupe? Same final goal. – Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard Jan 14 '17 at 23:18
  • @ShadowWizard Could that be a dupe to this since this already has an answer from a moderator? – Anthony Pham Jan 14 '17 at 23:21
  • But probably no because I flagged for re-deletion – Anthony Pham Jan 14 '17 at 23:21
  • 1
    All I can see resulting from this is an entire new breed of Meta question: "What's the difference between the 'Help Center' and 'help' links?" – Josh Caswell Jan 15 '17 at 0:28
  • Possible duplicate of Introducing a brand new, consolidated, Help Center – Joseph Farah Jan 15 '17 at 4:51
12

It's already plenty visible. If users want help with something, they'll click help. That will then bring them to a few options that might be useful to them. If they don't want help, then they're not going to click it. Without additional guidance somewhere, adding "Help Center" to the top bar will do absolutely nothing in the long run. They're not going to know they need to visit it and look at specific things in order to participate constructively.

This reminds me of when I worked at the grocery store and was in charge of the self service machines. The machines had a button in the top right corner. It said "help" and had a little question mark next to it, but, it wasn't actually a help menu. What the button actually did was called an attendant to come assist you. Management wondered why no one ever hit the button, as customers would instead look around and try to flag down the attendant instead of using the button that would notify and summon them.

After observing customers' actions, I finally started asking a few that would flag me down the old-fashioned way. One provided me with an amazing response. He stated he didn't want to hit help because he assumed it meant instructions, and didn't want to deal with the grocery store equivalent of the annoying paper clip. If the button had been more straight-forward with its intentions and said something like "Call Attendant" then he would have used it. (Sad ending: management completely ignored my report and made no changes whatsoever.)

So why did I tell this story? Well because we're kind of in a similar boat. But unfortunately we’re not in a position where we can just change the name of the link because our help center contains both:

  • information that just answers everyday questions for problems users encounter, but has no immediate importance.
  • information that is vital to understanding the proper use of our site, and should be looked at.

We want users to see the information from the second point right away, and we attempt to send them there in several ways via the tour, when they're first asking a question, and other side-bar guidance. But linking to the entire help center in the top bar just brings users back to the "well I don't have a question right now, so I'm not going to look at it right now" mindset. They don't know there's important stuff in there just from a vague link that... looks like it's probably going to be the same as the link a couple items further down the line.

We've been working on making sure we find all the pain points of being a new user and giving them more in-your-face at-the-last-moment information on how to ask their questions, because that’s where this information actually needs to exist. The help center will get the same amount of visibility whether it’s directly in the top bar or in a help sub-menu, but we can increase the visibility of specific, more important pages within it by targeting users with those links where it will have the greatest impact. Those are the places we need to focus our efforts, and we're happy to look at any suggestions for places where more just-in-time guidance is warranted.

  • "we're happy to look at any suggestions for places where more just-in-time guidance is warranted" Alright, here's one. The "help [down arrow]" button should start flashing when a user who never visited the Help Center lands on /ask! – dorukayhan Jan 16 '17 at 15:17
  • So when are you going to add "Call Attendant" to the help menu, and do we need to leave our doors unlocked or will you call when you're on your way? – Jason C Mar 25 '17 at 2:19

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