Formalizing the Technical Communication and User Experience Relationship (STC Summit 2013)


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Presentation for STC Summit 2013 session: Formalizing the Technical Communication and User Experience Relationship

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Formalizing the Technical Communication and User Experience Relationship (STC Summit 2013)

  1. 1. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13Formalizing the TechnicalCommunication and UserExperience RelationshipLori FisherDirector, IBM User Technology, Information Management DivisionFellow, STC, Silicon Valley Chapter1
  2. 2. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘132Loris organization at IBM Multidisciplinary organization of information developers, user interface designers/usabilityexperts, visual designers, and globalization professionals Mission is to design and develop all parts of the software product that users can see ortouch: interfaces and information Centralized group with responsibility for information deliverables across the division– Hundreds of database, Big Data, and warehouse products for commercial customers 200+ employees world-wide– US: San Jose, San Francisco, Boston, Las Vegas, Austin,Princeton– Canada: Toronto– Europe and Middle East: Germany, U.K., Israel– Asia: China, India
  3. 3. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘133Design and develop all parts of products and integrated solutions thatusers can see or touch:• User Interfaces – globalized, accessible• Information: printed, online, web – globalized, accessible• Installation and Up & Running experience• Best Practices, Samples & Examples• Collaboration on pre-sales enablement: blogs, white papers,tutorials, demos, product overview & walkthrough videos• Integration points across products, across the software portfolio• their language, culturally-sensitiveMission
  4. 4. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘134Another view of the mission:Our Value Add throughMulti-Disciplinary Skills:Make IT Clear!Make IT Easy!Make IT Appealing!What We Deliver:User InterfacesUser ScenariosDesign ValidationIntegrated User Assistance, Online Help, Info CentersMultimedia deliverablesBest PracticesID:UX:Visual Design:
  5. 5. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘135ID/UXDirectorUX ProductsA and BID Product A ID Product BThe structure before…
  6. 6. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13What’s wrong with that picture?6
  7. 7. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13What’s wrong with that picture? Success requires voluntary matrix behavior across departments ID and UX are probably working in parallel to design their deliverables ID probably starts with the assumption that certain kinds of informationare required because we’re• Trained professionals with information expertise• Recognized as specialists in information design UX probably making design choices that impact information withoutfactoring that in Collaboration: UX called upon to validate an information design, orspecific content–Too late to question the product design that might enable anentirely different information design Opportunity missed to completely redesign the approach to and needfor information7
  8. 8. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘138HoversTasklaunchersEmbeddedassistanceWizardsLabels &fieldsInformation architectureInformation designNavigationContent developmentEditingStandardsInformation DevelopmentInformation Development (aka ”Tech Comm”) skills
  9. 9. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘139Task AnalysisUserunderstandingScenariosCompetitiveassessmentsUser testingLayout & “blueprints”VisualizationUI graphicsTypographySkins / themesColor palette specsMockupsUI trendsUI guidelinesWireframesPrototypesInteractiondesignUser Research/Interaction DesignVisual DesignComposite roles: User Research & Evaluation; Interaction Designer, Visual Designer.( Also critical: UI Developer, Architect)User Experience (“Design+”) skills
  10. 10. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘1310Recognize the Information Experience as a key component of theUser Experience… Our most recent reorganization combines ID and UX skills at thedepartment level for targeted portfolios. Dramatically improve the user experience by leveraging thesynergy of ID and UX multi-disciplinary skills. The best UserExperience comes from the integration of UX and ID skills, tightlyaligned with their respective extended Development areas. Get a laser focus on overall consumability and user strategy byaligning all ID and UX teams under one management structure,aligned exclusively with a specific business or product. Define the user experience first, then architect an informationexperience to support that.10Walking the talk
  11. 11. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘1311ID/UXDirectorID/UXProduct AID/UXProduct BID/UXProduct CThe structure after…
  12. 12. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘1312Task AnalysisUserunderstandingScenariosCompetitiveassessmentsUser testingLayout & “blueprints”VisualizationUI graphicsTypographySkins / themesColor palette specsHoversTasklaunchersEmbeddedassistanceWizardsLabels &fieldsMockupsUI trendsUI guidelinesWireframesPrototypesInteractiondesignInformation architectureInformation designNavigationContent developmentEditingStandardsInformation Development User Research/Interaction DesignVisual DesignOrganization view of skills
  13. 13. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘1313 Simpler products require less documentation - simpler tasks, simplerUI’s, simpler navigation, etc Automation of tasks eliminates the need for documentation Progressive disclosure, specifically embedded assistance, is thestrategic direction – requires tight integration of TC and UX teams–“Walk up and use” will be a result of building information andsupporting affordances into the UI For many tasks, the information experience is still a key component ofthe overall user experience – especially up & running, getting started(including Task Launchers), and many others13Leveraging TC and UX synergy: the concept
  14. 14. © 2013 IBM CorporationInformation ManagementTC and UX Synergy:Getting StartedTechnical Communication Summit ‘13
  15. 15. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13Start simple… Technical communicators (TC) often take the role of UX as user advocate when there is notrained User Experience skill in the company– Hire technical communicators with some formal training in HCI• Many TC university programs now include usability and HCI training– Bring in a consultant to introduce the idea of what UX skills can bring to the company On a Technical Communication team:– Hire a full-time User Experience professional to focus on the information experience(ideally with info design experience as well)– Negotiate for one of the existing UX team to be dedicated to design of the infoexperience If the company has one or more UX professionals:– Formalize the collaboration of UX and TC around the Information Experience• User testing should include scenarios that exercise the information• Customer and user group interactions should include feedback on the information– Formalize the structure itself – UX leads and manages the overall experience,working closely with the Information Architect User Experience as the context for the Information Experience:– UX drives the up-front information design– Content is in support of an architected overall user experience15
  16. 16. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13The continuum of change16From ToTC designs an information set based onbest–practices and prior contentUX designs a user experience thatincludes a view of the informationexperience; TC (Info architect) designscontent to support the overall userexperienceTC and UX collaborate to designembedded assistance or interactivecontent elementsTC included as part of the overall UXtask to design the informationexperience. Content can only bedesigned in context of the userexperienceUser testing validates the effectiveness(completeness, task- orientation, etc) ofthe informationInformation is tested only in the contextof a holistic user taskTC = Recognized specialists ininformation design and architectureTC = Recognized specialists in design ofthe information experienceAssumption that certain kinds ofinformation are requiredRedesign the approach to and need forinformation by designing the userexperience firstGoal: a great information set Goal: a great user experience
  17. 17. © 2013 IBM CorporationInformation ManagementTC and UX Synergy:A Case StudyTechnical Communication Summit ‘13
  18. 18. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13Big Data Case Study – interactive conceptual models Goal: How do we jump start users so that they can use our products with less assistance? A mental model of the solution to enable users to understand its value and how to use it– New paradigm for speeding time-to-value– Convergence of design and information; lead with design, rather than text• Make it interactive and augment with 100 words not 1,000, for savings of an order-of-magnitude. (Also less translation, less content to review!) Approach– Collaborative, multi-disciplinary team effort across UX and TC with a visual, interactivefocus– Continue to create and refine conceptual models, with user validation– Use them as launch points into key user roles, scenarios, tasks, etc.– Include them in appropriate media: product UI, Information Center, videos, other collateral– Use them to drive change, because they can illustrate the delta from what the user expectsand can highlight usability issues that may exist– Define best practices to generalize conceptual models and interaction patterns What is it?– First layer of a progressive disclosure model. Each section of the interactive model containsflyover text, and can also include screen captures. The combination of interactive features,flyover text, screen captures, and related links to the information center creates aninformative, useful solution that goes beyond still graphics and plain text.18
  19. 19. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13Interactive conceptual models – early iterative designs19Build a mental model for the user of the tooling and how it works together, by role
  20. 20. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13BigInsights - Overview20 IBM ConfidentialGrouped by RolesDefault state:Task/nodes are full colorwith connectors to indicateflowBackground graphics aresubdued colors withsimple outline rendering
  21. 21. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13BigInsights - Overview – Hover state example21 IBM ConfidentialHover over Install:Background Services andCluster graphic display inFull colorClick on Install:Screen updates andnavigates to respectivetopic in the InfoCenter
  22. 22. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13BigSheets – v2.0 Fly out with screen capture22 IBM ConfidentialHover over step 2displays therespective screencapture
  23. 23. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13BigInsights – SDA Fly out with link23 IBM ConfidentialHover state for link in flyout.User clicks on link andfly out updates
  24. 24. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13BigInsights – SDA Fly out – link update24 IBM Confidentialfly out updateBack link
  25. 25. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13Try It Live!BigInsights v2r0 IC is live!– conceptual models–––– Started with IBM BigInsights– Confidential
  26. 26. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘13Results–Dramatically improved clarity of tasks and task sequences to driveinteraction design points–Dramatically improved understanding of tasks to drive improved andmore effective information–Key Technical Sales leader: “best documentation inside or outside ofIBM”– Usability testing with 35 customers at key customer conference:• 100% rated it “better” or “much better” than the doc provided todayby other vendors• 98% stated it was “likely” or “very likely” to help them achieve a task• Quotes: "The interactive documentation is very useful" and “If wehave this chart, even my 9 year old son can do it.”–Business analysts achieved time-to-insight in x minutes–Data scientists analyzed social data in y minutes26
  27. 27. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘1327 Up & Running:– A TC/UX team executed on key findings from user research to provide the types ofinformation users need when they need it. UX led effort (including design and code)to include architecture / deployment topology as part of the installer itself. Teamjointly created a Quick Start Guide and installer planner. These collaborative, multi-pronged efforts ensured users could successfully get up and running, quickly. Task Launchers:– An innovative task aid called the Task Launcher was created by a team of 1 SeniorUX and1 Senior TC lead, to address up and running across platforms by helpingusers find key tasks organized by application lifecycle phases.– The Task Launcher has been delivered in eight products. Embedded Assistance– TC/UX made significant strides in architecting Embedded Assistance into theproduct interfaces (instead of documenting help or Info Center topics) in the past 2-3 years. The joint team has also created a DITA XML customization for codingEmbedded Assistance. TC and UX have collaborated to create embeddedassistance in 51 products across one division in a single year, doubling from theprior year.27Leveraging TC and UX synergy - examples
  28. 28. © 2013 IBM CorporationTechnical Communication Summit ‘1328 An TC/UX product team jointly developed initial designs for a basic "ComponentLauncher" for the product to address user feedback that finding the rightcomponent out of the box was confusing. One product TC/UX team developed and improved embedded assistance (UItext, messages, tooltips, icons) and validated previews of that work at animportant user conference. Another set of TC/UX teams jointly planned and conducted a usability sandboxsession, as well as individual and group feedback sessions, at a key userconference. The results of these activities include: user data that will informvNext plans for product design and information quality improvements; over 300surveys returned to provide insight and priorities on improvements and bestpractices content; 240+ customer contacts for future followup on both informationand product design issues.28Leveraging TC and UX synergy – other examples