Neha Singh - Portfolio
User Assistance Model
concept, product design, visual,
UX, research — 2017/18
help model
concept   .   UX   .   design   .   research
model of uam
help model

A suite of features designed to make help simpler and more usable.


2016 - 18


Help has usually been treated as such an after-thought in design that it fails to attract any user attention at all. For extremely complicated products that depend upon documentation to explain and educate, the need is for help that is simple, easily accessible and integral to products.


I am the lead product designer.

I conceptualized the features, evangelized the need, designed them, and was involved throughout the implementation phase. I worked closely with multiple engineering teams, writers, editors, product managers and customer support teams as I conducted research and designed the model.


Research on various help features showed me that there were two main issues with help design: lack of contextuality and forced assistance.

When I started with this project, there was no product level help, and customers had to either search for help or remember which website to go to for help.

My focus was on ensuring help became available as and when users needed it. The way I wanted to go with it was to incorporate help within products.

I conducted several rounds of studies with internal stakeholders, customer service and customers to understand their painpoints and when they look for help. I discussed my ideas with several engineering teams, and product managers to consider the feasibilities. Once I had the green signal to begin, I planned the features out in phases based on needs and past escalations.


One of the points I learned as I began designing the Help Model was that help should not interrupt. Nor should it:
slow down,
distract or
discourage users.

My first thought was to create a pop-up window with help material added within, but that would have obstructed users. I could have created a way to link out help from the product, but that would have slowed the users down. Popping help widgets based on my assessment of when users needs help could have distracted. Providing long form help in unreadable manuals would have discouraged them.

With these principles in mind, I set out to create a help model that was a self-contained panel, flexible enough to be moved around, closed or minimized, but informational enough to lead users through the necessary steps.

With this framework in mind, I designed different types of panels –
Getting Started,
What's New,
Quick Help.

I worked with writers, customer support, technical experts and sales teams to determine what would be the best content to put into these panels. I also worked with Product Managers and UX team to determine at what point could these panels be opened intelligently and contextually.

I guided engineering teams and writers so that content was presented in readable chunks. This has become the basis for another project I am involved in, referred to as, "Language Modernization",

The Help Model has now been successfully implemented in several products. I am working on expanding it across more applications throughout the company.

Stakeholders and users have been positive about their experience with the model and I am working on a few other ways to make help intelligent and contextual.

One of my ideas is patent pending.

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