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Get Help

help icons

The Get Help function provides users with content that provides answers to questions they may have about purchasing items on-line. The objective is to provide users with “self-service” assistance—that is, users can get answers or solve problems without having to contact the merchant.

Data below is from 75 leading e-commerce sites, collected in May, 2002. [sites examined]


Frequency of Get Help

84% of sites in the sample had a self-service Get Help function; the remaining 16% of sites provided a non-self-service option for users to obtain help, such as a 1-800 number on the page or a “Contact Us” link.


Location of Get Help

Location of the Get Help function was plotted on an 800 by 600 pixel grid.[details]

location of help

scale for chart

[actual size view of plot]



The location of the Get Help function corresponds quite closely to the results of a study conducted by Michael Bernard, who examined where users expect to find common e-commerce functions.

Labeling of Get Help

The Get Help function was most commonly labeled “Customer Service” (41%) or “Help” (41%), but other variations of this wording also occurred. Nearly all sites used noun syntax (either a single noun or a noun with a non-possessive modifier). A single site used the imperative label “Ask Us.”

[view frequencies of exact labels]


Icon Use for Get Help

22% of sites providing Get Help used an icon to help identify this function on the page. All except one used a question mark icon.

Question mark
Box/person icon
[view icon examples]
©Heidi P. Adkisson. 2005. All rights reserved.
Related Studies
Examining User Expectations for the Location of Common E-Commerce Web Objects
January 2002
Wichita State University