Dlig2011 techwriting


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Karen O'Hara's "TL;DR" Powerpoint for the Distance Learning Interest Group (DLIG) 2011 Spring Workshop.

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  • What designers think the site should include…
  • What the site should include
  • Dlig2011 techwriting

    1. 1. tl;dr INOV8 May 13, 2011 Karen O’Hara | IT Services | Miami University, Oxford, OH
    2. 2. How long is “too long”?
    3. 3. Let’s hear from a leading web usability wizard…
    4. 4. Nielsen’s Alertbox column on Web usability, published on the Internet since 1995 Current readership: 12 million page views/year
    5. 5. <ul><li>What does Nielsen’s web usability research tell us? </li></ul>
    6. 6. 1997 Users don't read on the web; they scan Nielsen, 1997
    7. 7. 2005 ( teens ) have shorter attention spans , less patience for reading & prefer interactivity Nielsen, 2005
    8. 8. 2008 Users read perhaps 20-28% of the words during the average website visit Nielsen, 2008
    9. 9. 2010 ( undergrads ) dislike new interfaces , are goal-oriented & search dominant Nielsen, 2010
    10. 10. 2011 Users struggle to understand complicated content on mobile devices Nielsen, 2011
    11. 11. What does all of this tell us?
    12. 12. Our audience is in a hurry!
    13. 13. and…
    14. 14. They read selectively <ul><li>(Nielsen, 2006) </li></ul>
    15. 15. and…
    16. 16. Higher Ed users are frustrated
    17. 17. http://xkcd.com/773/
    18. 18. http://xkcd.com/773/
    19. 19. How do we fix it?
    20. 20. Design for… <ul><li>need </li></ul><ul><li>speed </li></ul><ul><li>the “hook” </li></ul><ul><li>the micro </li></ul><ul><li>the macro </li></ul><ul><li>cognition (and translation) </li></ul><ul><li>the searcher </li></ul>
    21. 21. 1. Design for need <ul><li>Who will be visiting this site? </li></ul><ul><li>Why are they using this site? </li></ul><ul><li>What kind of information are they looking for? </li></ul><ul><li>Where will the information in the site be useful to them? </li></ul><ul><li>When will they use this information? </li></ul><ul><li>How might readers use this website? </li></ul>(Johnson-Sheehan, 2010)
    22. 22. 2. Design for speed <ul><li>Reduce the number of levels between your readers and the information they need. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a maximum of three links for the most important information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a maximum of five links for 80 percent of all information. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a maximum of seven links for all information. </li></ul></ul>(Johnson-Sheehan, 2010)
    23. 23. 3. Design for the “hook” <ul><li>A short bit of “blah-blah” might actually help users better understand the rest of the page </li></ul><ul><li>Stick to answering the What? and the Why? To bring readers into the site </li></ul>(Nielsen, 2007a)
    24. 24. 4. Design for the micro <ul><li>Highlight keywords (through hypertext links, typeface variations and color) </li></ul><ul><li>Use meaningful sub-headings (not &quot;clever&quot; ones) </li></ul><ul><li>Use bulleted lists </li></ul><ul><li>Design links that contain effective “information scent” </li></ul>(Nielsen, 1997) (Nielsen, 2009)
    25. 25. 5. Design for the macro <ul><li>Offer one idea per paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>Adopt the inverted pyramid style, starting with the conclusion </li></ul><ul><li>Provide half the word count (or less) than conventional writing </li></ul>(Nielsen, 1997)
    26. 26. 6. Design for cognition ( & translation ) <ul><li>Supplement text with illustrations </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce text to a bare minimum </li></ul><ul><li>Create links that reflect titles (not “click here”) </li></ul><ul><li>Be as literal as possible </li></ul><ul><li>Minimize clichés, colloquialisms and humor </li></ul>(http://webaim.org/techniques/writing/#cog)
    27. 27. 7. Design for the searcher <ul><li>Accept search dominance & try to help users with poor research skills. </li></ul><ul><li>If there are two or more options to choose from, state them explicitly. </li></ul><ul><li>Design pages for how users search for information, rather than for how librarians (or IT professionals) think about it. </li></ul>(Nielsen, 2011)
    28. 28. Be proactive <ul><li>Plan for usability testing when rolling out new sites and features </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage development of Internet research skills in elementary schools. </li></ul>(Nielsen, 2007b) (Nielsen, 1995)
    29. 29. An example over the years April, 2001 Today
    30. 30. Good things, when short, are twice as good. — Gracián
    31. 31. References <ul><li>Johnson-Sheehan, R. (2010) Technical Communication Today, Third Edition. New York: Longman. </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (1995, May). Card Sorting to Discover the Users’ Model of the Information Space. Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/papers/sun/cardsort.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (1997, October 1). How Users Read on the Web. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/9710a.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (2005, January 31). Usability of Websites for Teenagers. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/teenagers.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (2006a, April 17). F-Shaped Pattern For Reading Web Content. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/reading_pattern.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (2007a, October 1). Blah-Blah Text: Keep, Cut, or Kill? Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/intro-text.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (2007b, February 26). Life-Long Computer Skills. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/computer-skills.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (2008, May 6). How Little Do Users Read? Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/percent-text-read.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (2009, April 6). First 2 Words: A Signal for the Scanning Eye. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/nanocontent.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (2010, December 15). College Students on the Web: User Experience Guidelines. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/students.html </li></ul><ul><li>Nielsen, J. (2011, February 28). Mobile Content Is Twice as Difficult. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://www.useit.com/alertbox/mobile-content-comprehension.html </li></ul><ul><li>WebAIM: Writing Clearly and Simply. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://webaim.org/techniques/writing/#cog </li></ul><ul><li>xkcd.com. (n.d.). University Website. xkcd . Retrieved April 25, 2011, from http://xkcd.com/773/ </li></ul>