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Tech. Writing Usability Presentation

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This presentation describes some of the major techniques for ascertaining the effectiveness of technical documentation among end-users.

This presentation describes some of the major techniques for ascertaining the effectiveness of technical documentation among end-users.

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  • Transcript

    • 1. This program underwritten in part by a generous grant from
    • 2. Understanding and Applying Documentation Usability A Training Demo for Technical Communicators
    • 3. Usability
      • This presentation covers:
      • What Usability is and isn’t
      • Some of the tools of Usability
      • Some dos and don’ts of Usability
      • The end goals of Usability
    • 4. Usability Firstly … What This Presentation Isn’t !
    • 5. The Tip of the Iceberg!
    • 6. What Usability Testing Isn’t
      • Readability either, such as …
      • The Gunning Fog Index :
      • Avg. sentence length + the number of words of 3 syllables or more per 100 words * 0 . 4 = the approximate grade level at which material can be read.
      • OR …
    • 7. What Usability Testing Isn’t
      • Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level Formula :
      • 0 . 39 * (average words/sentence ) + 11 . 8 * (average syllables/word) - 15 . 59 = Grade Level .
      • Question : Who do you think uses such formulary…and for what purposes ?
    • 8. What Usability Testing Isn’t
        • The Dept. of Education
        • School Districts
        • College Presses
        • Book Publishers
        • … And so on and so forth!
    • 9. What Usability Testing Isn’t
        • Readability is “ Denotative ,” metrics-driven
        • (formulaic, quantitative…)
        • Whereas Usability is …
        • “ Connotative ” and people -oriented
        • Readability “Calculates,”
        • Usability “ Infers !”
    • 10. Usability IS Simply put … The ease with which people can employ a particular tool or other human-made object in order to achieve a particular goal or task.
    • 11. Passive vs. Active Testing
      • G athering user opinions about a document (or a product) via surveys, forms, hand-outs, etc. is Passive Usability Testing.
      • Active testing involves a controlled experiment to determine how well people actually use the document (or product).
    • 12. Usability
      • Rather than showing users a rough draft and asking, "Do you understand this?", usability testing involves watching people trying to use something for its intended purpose …
      • To complete a specific task !
    • 13. Usability
      • Example …
      • When testing instructions for assembling a toy, the test subjects should be given the instructions and a box of parts. Instruction phrasing, illustration quality, and even the toy's design all affect the assembly process.
    • 14. Watching…Evaluating
    • 15. Usability In human-computer interaction and computer science, Usability refers to the elegance and clarity with which the interaction with a computer program or a web site is designed.
    • 16. Usability & Ascertainment
      • The FCC requirement for non-commercial broadcast stations applies U-techniques:
      • Questionnaires, Mail-Outs
      • Person-on-the-street surveys
      • Telephone polling in key markets
    • 17. Usability
      • Usability attempts to observe how effectively a user (or a consumer) interacts with a document (or product).
      • 3 questions to consider when determining a document’s Usability …
    • 18. Usability & Documentation
      • How easy is it to learn?
      • How easy is it to use?
      • How satisfying is the experience?
    • 19. Usability
      • Some of the Tools of
      • Usability Measurement
    • 20. The Semantic Differential One of the best-known and most widely used Usability tools is the Semantic Differential . Example: Please check one of the boxes below? Excellent Good Adequate Poor Inadequate     
    • 21. The Semantic Differential The Semantic Differential was developed in the 1950s by University of Illinois psychologist Charles Osgood . The Semantic Differential is a rating scale used to measure the connotative meaning of objects, events, and concepts.
    • 22. Osgood’s Semantic Differential
      • In Osgood's Semantic Differential, the respondent is asked to choose where their position lies on:
      • A range of words or numbers spanning across a bipolar position, or
      • A scale between two bipolar terms.
    • 23. Model of a S-Diff. Bipolar Scale
    • 24. Usability Techniques
      • Imitation …
      • Can be the highest form of praise
      • OR
      • The mother of re -invention.
      • SO …
    • 25. What does “Big Blue” (or Purple) Do?
    • 26. Included as “Back Matter’ in all docs
    • 27. Expanded Semantic Diff. Mailer Format
    • 28. The BRM Side: Cost-effective, encourages user response
    • 29. A Word on E -Usability
      • Direct Electronic Feedback
      • Requirement : MIS Dept. “Buy In!”
    • 30. Way to go, Matt Way to go, Matt!
    • 31. Usability Techniques Document Usability means that people who use documents created by you, the writers, can do so quickly and easily to accomplish their own tasks. Technical writers thinking about the usability of their documents should …
    • 32. Document Techniques
      • Focus on the end-users
      • Understand that people use documentation to be productive
      • Realize that users are busy people trying to accomplish tasks
      • Remember that users decide when a document is easy to use… ultimately!
    • 33. Usability Testing
      • Usability testing involves measuring how well users respond in 4 areas:
        • Time
        • Accuracy
        • Recall
        • Emotional Response
    • 34. Usability Testing
      • Time on Task -- How long does it take the user to complete a basic task?
      • ( Example : Enter a new patient, order a test, obtain the results of the test, generate a report of test results.)
    • 35. Usability Testing
      • Accuracy -- How many mistakes did the user make?
      • (And were they fatal or recoverable with the right information?)
    • 36. Usability Testing
      • Recall -- How much does the user remember afterwards or after periods of non-use?
    • 37. Usability Testing
      • Emotional Response -- How does the person feel about the task completed?
      • (Confident? Stressed? Would the user recommend this system to an associate?)
    • 38. Methodology: Heuristics
      • Some of the guidelines for applying Usability best practices are what communicators have termed Heuristics .
      • ( pronounced : your - wrist - ticks )
    • 39. Methodology: Heuristics
      • Heuristics can …
      • Lead to solutions that are reasonably close to the best possible answer,
      • Provide "rules of thumb," educated guesses, intuitive judgments or simply common sense,
      • Employ strategies that use readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem-solving in situations.
    • 40. Methodology: Heuristics
      • NOW , here’s Mike’s “ Top 10 List ” of
      • How To Apply Heuristics To Your Documentation …
    • 41. Methodology: Heuristics
      • “ Somebody give me a drum roll?”
    • 42. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 10 . Load pages and content in a timely way.
    • 43. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 10. Load pages and content in a timely way.
      • 9 . Speak user’s language in terms they know.
    • 44.  
    • 45. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 10. Load pages and content in a timely way.
      • 9. Speak user’s language in terms they know.
      • 8 . Be consistent with graphics, buttons, content.
    • 46. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 10. Load pages and content in a timely way.
      • 9. Speak user’s language in terms they know.
      • 8. Be consistent with graphics, buttons, content.
      • 7 . Make key information visible.
    • 47. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 10. Load pages and content in a timely way.
      • 9. Speak user’s language in terms they know.
      • 8. Be consistent with graphics, buttons, content.
      • 7. Make key information visible.
      • 6 . Always keep users oriented.
    • 48. Don’t Leave Them Wandering Aimlessly In The Desert!
    • 49. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 5 . Provide clearly marked exits.
    • 50. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 5. Provide clearly marked exits.
      • 4 . Tailor actions to novice and expert users.
    • 51. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 5. Provide clearly marked exits.
      • 4. Tailor actions to novice and expert users.
      • 3 . Minimize “off-task,” non-essential information.
    • 52. Don’t Create Road Blocks For Users!
    • 53. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 5. Provide clearly marked exits.
      • 4. Tailor actions to novice and expert users.
      • 3. Minimize “off-task,” non-essential information.
      • 2 . Express error messages in plain language.
    • 54. Mike’s “Top 10 List” of Heuristic Methodology
      • 5. Provide clearly marked exits.
      • 4. Tailor actions to novice and expert users.
      • 3. Minimize “off-task,” non-essential information.
      • 2. Express error messages in plain language.
      • 1 . Use minimalism for wording and designs.
    • 55. Verbal Minimalism Saying More with Less!
      • Economy : Don’t use 24 steps if 12 will do!
    • 56. Verbal Minimalism Saying More with Less!
      • Economy: Don’t use 24 steps if 12 will do!
      • Edit , chop, cut and then edit some more!
    • 57. Verbal Minimalism Saying More with Less!
      • Economy: Don’t use 24 steps if 12 will do!
      • Edit, chop, cut and then edit some more!
            • French writer Blaise Pascal , in a 6-page letter to a friend, once said, “I apologize for writing you 6 pages but I didn’t have time to write only 3 .”
    • 58. Embedded Object or Submenu?!
    • 59. Audience Analysis: A meeting of the minds!
    • 60. Focus Groups…
      • Can provide the best “litmus test” of your documentation’s usability by providing you with direct, objective user feedback .
      • Are an “ Active ” approach to U-testing!
    • 61. Client Focus Groups
      • BUT if we can’t go on-site ,
      • how do we obtain clients’
      • DIRECT feedback?
      • HOW can we obtain
      • clients’ input?
    • 62. Documents + Daiquiris = Ummm !
    • 63. Client Focus Groups
      • SNUG
      • SoftIWS / FLARE Help demo
      • Purpose : Show & Tell only, OR
      • Let clients test-drive the system:
        • Observe their usage, comments.
        • Sell themselves on Help product.
    • 64. Client Focus Groups
      • SNUG
      • SoftIWS / FLARE Help demo
      • Other team activities: Active vs. Passive
      • (To be tabled for another meeting!)
      • AND don’t forget sources close to home …
    • 65. Internal SCC Staffers !
      • Implementers
      • Account Executives
      • CSRs
      • Sales Staff
    • 66. Usage Data Warehousing
      • External client-based usage data
      • Internal staff-based usage input
      • Hosted on Shared Folder site in …
    • 67. User Feedback: “The Good, The Bad, and The (sometimes) Smugly!”
      • What to expect?
      • Adulation?
      • Gripes?
      • Useful Input !
    • 68. User Feedback: “The Good, The Bad, and The (sometimes) Smugly!”
      • What to expect?
      • Adulation?
      • Gripes?
      • Useful Input !
    • 69. The Dos and Don’ts of User Documentation
      • Results:
      • In the Final Analysis …
    • 70. Minimize Users Descending On Your CSRs!
    • 71. Leave ‘Em Jumping For Joy!
    • 72. Don’t Cause Them To Blow Their Tops !
    • 73.  
    • 74. Make It Smooth Sailing For Them, Always!
    • 75. THE END