Technical Writing, November 7th, 2013


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Technical Writing, November 7th, 2013

  1. 1. TODAY 1) 2) 3) 4) Anderson on a text usability test Pair up– test those drafts! The corner we’re turning: the proposal Start an outline– how’s the document going to change?
  2. 2. In Chapter 16 Anderson tells us how to usability test. With a text, this process is similar to a workshop, but it’s not precisely the same. We’re going to talk through it– and we’ll use this method to workshop the proposals when the time comes. So here are Anderson’s guidelines:
  3. 3. Guideline 1: Establish your test objectives
  4. 4. Why it matters: If you just test something randomly, you have no idea what sort of data you’ll get. BE FOCUSED!
  5. 5. Guideline 2: Pick test readers that really represent the target readers
  6. 6. Why it matters: If you test something that is meant for parents on their kids– you’re not really getting good info.
  7. 7. Guideline 3: Ask your testers to use the text the way your readers will.
  8. 8. Why it matters: You couldn’t user test a baseball bat by playing tennis, would you? 
  9. 9. Guideline 4: Learn how your draft effects people’s attitudes.
  10. 10. Why it matters: You might, at times, want an emotional response, but if you’re getting one you DON’T expect, you need to know that.
  11. 11. Guideline 5: Interview your test readers after they have read and used the document.
  12. 12. Why it matters: You have a valuable opportunity when you get a chance to talk to the reader; take advantage of those moments.
  13. 13. Guideline 6: Avoid biasing your test results.
  14. 14. Why it matters: Bias is bad. There’s no sense in going through the effort of testing if you’re going to then botch/taint the data.
  15. 15. Guideline 7: Interpret your test results thoughtfully.
  16. 16. Why it matters: You might be tempted to assume that your text does what you want it to; be careful! The test could tell you interesting things.
  17. 17. Based on those criteria You have your rough draft, from last class, that you tested using our usual peer review methods. I want you to pair up and each use the other person for a usability test using Anderson’s criteria. Bear in mind this could take some time; don’t rush through it.
  18. 18. Next up… … is the proposal. We’ve talked a bit about it, but we will dive head-first into it next week. What I’d like you to think about between now and then is how your report will inform the proposal and what will be different. If we have the time, we’ll start outlines here, but I’d rather we went slow with the user tests, so if we’re out of time, we can do this later.
  19. 19. We’re almost out of time… For Tuesday: read: Anderson, Chapter 23 For a refresher, re-watch the Proposal video if you can’t remember it.