Visual Web-Based User Manuals

Posted: October 17th, 2013

Visual Web-Based User Manuals







            Visual web-based user manuals are instructions or user guides on educational websites. Since innovation has enabled online learning, it is important for instructors to employ effective techniques by incorporating basic active learning principles in the website’s special features. The fundamental aspect in this regard is to develop learning objectives that will help the users to identify what they are required to know by the end of the course. Technical resources and pre-existing software must also be put into consideration in the development of an interactive user interface. The instructor should therefore ensure compatibility and convenience to enable easy access by the user and that more information is available.

Effectiveness and interactivity is also enhanced by securing commitment of all users such as the students, faculty, administrators and development of portals to link all of them. The use of hyperlinks, online communication and multimedia are effective when lecture contents are integrated with them creatively. The creative use of slideshows, sound, texts and images should be moderated to avoid deviation from the learning objectives. They should also be aligned with instructional design. Hyperlinks will allow the user to navigate through the pages in the educational websites. Video and audio conferencing over the internet, online discussion, emails and chartrooms provide comprehensive online communication with an effective feedback system. The user can ask questions and clarify certain topics to gauge their degree of understanding. Instructors can enhance the leaning process by creating, simple, efficient and attractive web pages. They should also provide opportunities for self-assessment, learning that is problem based and self-directed. On implementation, hyperlinks and online communication should be verified and monitored periodically to prevent difficulty in accessing the web-based user manuals.

Benefits and Challenges

            There are several benefits of providing web-based manuals. Multimedia and graphics incorporated in the web-based manuals makes them attractive to the users, hence motivates them to look through and understand.  The inclusion of hyperlinks allows for easy and efficient navigation of the web pages. The user is able to access more information on the particular course if techniques of online communication, hyperlinks and multimedia are applied with precision. Visual web-based manuals also have an advantage of larger space for sufficient packaging as compared to paper manual and they reduce tediousness. Challenges include difficulty in using the manuals among some learners, incompatibility with different web browsers and development of effective navigation through hyperlinks. If the user does not have online connectivity, he or she cannot access the manual. Therefore a paper manual must be produced along with the web-based manual and this increases costs.

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