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Microsoft Implements Context Sensitive Help for SharePoint Online

SharePoint-Videos has championed the usefulness of in-context, on demand technical help for SharePoint users across the full spectrum of skill levels, and rationales for using SharePoint. Our Group ID and Multi-User subscription offers can serve this purpose when pages of links to our content are included within a SharePoint 2007, 2010, 2013, or even SharePoint Online computing environment. VisualSP is a market-leading example of how a help system for SharePoint can be implemented to extensively exploit the benefits of provisioning this type of training to users.

So we are pleased to see Microsoft® augmenting the native help resources of SharePoint Online to include context sensitive options, which can be consumed on demand. Anyone using Office 365 should now be able to consume these training aids with simply a click on the circle with the question mark, which can be found on the upper right of any out of the box SharePoint Online page.

The changes include new mouse rollovers, which expose short summaries of training content to the consumer. A right mouse click on any of these options can be used to pop out the training content in a separate window, so as to facilitate multi-tasking (which approach, we think, is the best to ensure a high level of retention of training content on the part of the consumer).

But best of all is the context sensitivity of the click options. When consumers are on site pages, the options including working with site navigation, or a “how to” on configuring a team site to manage projects. When these same consumers visit document libraries, the options include accessing training content on managing items in libraries (unfortunately, a lot of the content rolls lists and libraries into the same procedural bucket). The mouse rollover function provides consumers with a peek at the content, which should help to ensure minimal time is wasted leafing through otherwise irrelevant training content.

When we acknowledge Microsoft moving to renovate SharePoint Online help in a direction more consistent with the principles we, ourselves, has espoused for quite sometime, we have to acknowledge a sense of gratification. As more subscribers to SharePoint Online become aware of the availability of context sensitive training, which is available to them on demand, we can’t help but think their level of satisfaction with SharePoint Online, itself, will grow substantially.

Ira Michael Blonder

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