The help panel is a feature that allows newcomers to post questions directly to their wiki's help desk while they are in the middle of editing a page.
Filing this as an idea I've been thinking about over the last few days as I've been interacting with the help panel.
I think the help panel is potentially a lot more useful if we could load the mobile view of the pages we that are found from the Search panel and from the "Basics of editing" widget. The reason to do this would be to provide help on the topic the user wants within the editing interface, so that they are not required to switch between tabs/windows. As I understand it (citation needed in case I'm remembering incorrectly) most editors are single tab/window users.
My idea would be to provide a "Help browse mode" for the help panel:
- When a user clicks on a link from the "search" component or from the "Basics of editing" contextual links, open the content in the help panel.
- Provide a "Back" button to take the user one step back in the navigation stack. E.g., if the user clicks "Manual of style" they'd see the screenshot below, and back would take them to the home screen. If the user clicked "Manual of style" and then clicked "Guideline", the contents of "Guideline" would load in the panel and "Back" would take them to "Manual of style", not to the home screen. (I don't think we'd need a "forwards" button as that would overcomplicate things.)
- Provide a "Open in new tab" link in case the user prefers to view the content in its normal format, in a separate tab. We can't actually control whether it's a new tab or new window (that's a browser preference) but I suggest "Open in new tab" as something simple and easily understood by the user.
- When showing help link content in the help panel, change the "X" which closes help panel and resets to the default state, to a "down arrow" which collapses to the CTA; clicking on the CTA opens up the help panel to the previous state. That way, the user can view a help article, collapse it to do some typing, then click the button to pull it up again if they need clarification on something.
Crude mockup below:
I don't think the engineering effort for this would be unreachable before our target launch date. If we're interested to do this as a nice-to-have then we could try to work it in after all the other core functionality is implemented. On the other hand, if we decide that we want this to be the default functionality, then knowing that this week would help speed up some of the engineering around event logging, for example. This could also be an interesting A/B test as well (plain links versus links which load content into the help panel) if we're undecided.