Publication | ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020


Peer-to-Peer Software Help Sessions in Three Minutes or Less

This paper looks at how we can get people help in a very short amount of time, potentially increasing productivity and satisfaction with our software.

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MicroMentor: Peer-to-Peer Software Help Sessions in Three Minutes or Less

Nikhita Joshi, Justin Matejka, Fraser Anderson, Tovi Grossman, George Fitzmaurice

ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020

While synchronous one-on-one help for software learning is rich and valuable, it can be difficult to find and connect with someone who can provide assistance. Through a formative user study, we explore the idea of fixed-duration, one-on-one help sessions and find that 3 minutes is often enough time for novice users to explain their problem and receive meaningful help from an expert. To facilitate this type of interaction, we developed MicroMentor, an on-demand help system that connects users via video chat for 3-minute help sessions. MicroMentor automatically attaches relevant supplementary materials and uses contextual information, such as command history and expertise, to encourage the most qualified users to accept incoming requests. These help sessions are recorded and archived, building a bank of knowledge that can further help a broader audience. Through a user study, we find MicroMentor to be useful and successful in connecting users for short teaching moments.

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