It has occurred to me, in showing the new computer users in my family how to use a computer, that one of the most basic heuristics I use for getting help when I don't know how to do something on a windows-based system is simply to right-click on everything in sight, and see what I can see.

Given that, it seems like it would be a good idea (and this references my general rule of thumb that stuff ought to have instructions which cater to the needs of those most likely to need instructions--for example, the way one gets help on basic things ought to be clearly visible right away, and there ought to be a slightly less accessible way of making the basic-level help go away) to have the right mouse button on mice intended for use with windows to be labeled "Help," specifically because, to those who need it, this would be helpful, and to those who don't, it seems easily ignored, and mars the utility of the mouse in no way. Thoughts?

Well. This is a good technique for those who can interpret the context sensitive menus that pop up when the right mouse button is clicked in Windows, but for the uninitiated it can be a very scary ugly detailed and powerful can of worms. I believe a much better tool for understand the inner workings of a GUI that is as complex as Windows (as much as I dislike the coding involved, the usability of that particular OS is very good) is the tool tip. A tool tip is a little backdropped box with some text that appears after the mouse pointer is held over an icon or whatever. These can help in many situations. The context menus can be helpful later, but at the beginning they can be confusing and the fact that they change depending on context doesn't help at all.

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