For any moderately complex web application a help section is mandatory. Most of us rely on displaying the help in a popup or a different window. One other interesting way is to display the help section beneath the main window, which then slides to display the help section below.
Reading is an active process. Weather you are reading a web page, a book or any other media, the information tends to generate ideas in the mind of the reader. An active reader asks questions, considers alternatives, questions assumptions and analyses the argument of the author. An active reader doesn’t passively store up information, but uses the author’s arguments to create a framework to further up his ideas and understanding.
Interface design is hard. Which is why most programmers turn a blind eye to it. During collaborative development I frequently encounter fellow programmers remark something to the following effect: ‘…do not worry, the users are not idiots, they will understand for what these buttons have been provided, no need to provide tool-tips or any help, lets get these code working and show it to the client.’
Interface design or rather usability design is usually left as an after thought; a colorful facade that you stick on to your backend code.
The following two videos provide a stark reminder, that for most of the time these are the people we develop software for.