The ElectronicManual allows to access help using a single device independent metaphor. The familiarity with the ElectronicManual enables users to have faster access to information and to be more successful when acting according to the manual instructions. The possibility of interactive access to the functionality of a device from within the manual allows not only a uniform access to help information, but also the uniform control of the device itself.
Integrating multimedia components as video or audio sequences increases usefulness of manuals making them appropriate for today complex devices. Teaching functionality, the use of hypertexts, videos or audio content could be integrated into the manual; also direct links to expert systems or human experts using telecommunication lines are possible. As a small handheld device is not capable of presenting particular multimedia content, such multimedia content is redirected to multimedia devices in the environment. Environmental context ( Schilit B., et al 1994) is needed to dispatch multimedia content in the environment. In Fig. 1 video and audio parts of the controlled device manual are redirected to an environmental device (a WebTV) for output.
The architecture of the ElectronicManual is depicted in Fig. 2. A central component of the ElectronicManual is an adopted Web-Browser application running on a small handheld device. This application is surrounded by two modules that give access to environmental devices and information. In order to access the device a Data Output System controls the physical and low level logical access to surrounding devices. For the access to information the Control/Access module handles the access rights to information and databases.
An application scenario should provide a clearer understanding of the run: First the ElectronicManual identifies the location of the manual in the Web. There are three possibilities for the identification process: First a controlled device could propagate its identification to the environment, e.g. via infrared communication. Second, the ElectronicManual device could detect the location of the manual, e.g. by reading a barcode identification. Third, in an ubiquitous computing environment like ( Beigl M., Schmidt A. 1998) the manual location is transmitted from an environment controller database, the Resource Directory. In this case location information to determine the ElectronicManual device