Technical White Papers

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Types of white papers, using IMRaD structure in a technical white paper, write-up usability test findings in a technical white paper. Slides are for students in my technical writing course.

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Technical White Papers

  1. 1. How to write-up UX test findings in a Technical White Paper 1 © Karen L. Thompson Ÿ Department of EnglishŸ University of Idaho Deliverable 1:
  2. 2. Types of White Papers • Position White Papers • Marketing White Papers • Technical White Papers 2
  3. 3. Position White Papers • The term white paper was originally used to describe a report that states the social or political position of an organization or think tank 3
  4. 4. Marketing White Papers • Offer to solve problems for a client or customer. They are persuasive documents aimed at selling features of products. 4
  5. 5. Technical White Papers • Technical White Papers present the results of tests or research findings and also aimed at solving problems. 5
  6. 6. 6 White papers are composed in a variety of formats and for delivery across multiple platforms.
  7. 7. White Papers and Document Design • Because white papers are written to external audiences they become part of the communication that businesses and organizations use to present a brand image. • Creating cohesive and consistent communication across platforms is important. 7
  8. 8. Structured Authoring 8 is a way of separating content from format and document design in order to produce communication products that have a consistent look and feel. Adobe FrameMaker is a popular tool used for this purpose.
  9. 9. 9 Notice how tableau’s website and white papers have a common look and feel. There is some variation in the pages of these white papers, but the design and structure is consistent.
  10. 10. These are examples of data sheets by SEL. These sheets describe the features and benefits of the products. Notice they have a consistent look and feel that supports the brand.
  11. 11. Structured Authoring and Your White Paper • You will not be using structured authoring technology, but you will be able to practice structured authoring conceptually. • I will require a rule for how to organize the body of your white paper. This rule is use IMRaD structure to organize the body of the paper, and it would be similar to a rule used in a structured authoring tool for any white paper content. 11
  12. 12. Deliverable 1: How to write the White Paper 12
  13. 13. Required pages and IMRaD sections. • Title (Page) • Table of contents (Page) • Use IMRaD structure for major section headings. 13 Introduction Methodology or Methods Results Discussion/Conclusion or Recommendations • Bibliography (Page) • Appendix (Page)
  14. 14. Title Page: use document design to create visual interest but pay attention to what you learned previously about graphic design. 14 Notice how these choices of color do not support the white paper’s purpose. In fact, they work against it.
  15. 15. Title Page: effective designs. 15 Color choices and design elements support the purpose of these white papers.
  16. 16. 16 Comparing Wix and Weebly A Cognitive Walkthrough and Analysis by Elizabeth Hernandez Examples of title pages by former students.
  17. 17. Table of Contents 17 • Use dot leaders. • Right-align page numbers. • This example organizes the results by task, but there are other ways to organize the results. • Try using the automatic feature in Word. ! Ii! ! TABLE!OF!CONTENTS! ! INTRODUCTION!............................................................................................................![#]! METHODOLOGY!...........................................................................................................![#]! ! Tasks!.......................................................................................................................!! ! Environment/Equipment!..........................................................................................!! ! Metrics!.....................................................................................................................!! RESULTS!.......................................................................................................................![#]! ! Task!1:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!2:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!3:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!4:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!5:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!6:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!7:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!8:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!9:![name!of!task]!.........................................................................................![#]! ! Task!10:![name!of!task]!.......................................................................................![#]! RECOMMENDATION(S)/CONCLUSION!.......................................................................![#]! !BIBLIOGRAPHY!............................................................................................................![#]! APPENDICE! ! Appendix!A:!Data!Collection!Completed!Forms!or!Spreadsheet!.........................![#]! !(NOTE:!!Page!numbers!must!be!right]aligned.)!
  18. 18. Introduction • Rhetorically, the introduction of a technical white paper creates a record of what was tested and why. 18
  19. 19. Rhetorical moves for the introduction. Option 1: start with a purpose statement that includes the definition of the product or website. 19 Example: This white paper describes the findings from a usability test of two free blogging tools: Tumblr and Blogger. Example: This white paper evaluates how Gimp, a free cloud computing tool, compares to its pricey counterpart: Adobe Photoshop.
  20. 20. Option 2: start with a phrase or sentence definition and then move to a purpose statement. 20 Example  1: Weebly and  Wix  are  popular  website-­‐builder  tools.  This  white   paper  presents  the  results  of  a  usability  test  that  compared   how  well  the  tools  performed  in  five  component  standards   that  define  usability. Example  2:   Image  editing  software  such  as  Adobe  Photoshop  often  have   steep  learning  curves,  deterring  most  novices  from  trying   them.    This  white  paper  describes  the  findings  from  a   comparison  of  two  image  editing  products  aimed  at  novice   users:  [name  the  two  products].  
  21. 21. Methodology (or Methods) • Just as in an engineering tests or scientific experiments, the methodology section explains the design of the test or experiment. • Rhetorically, it explains how you designed the test. 21
  22. 22. Methodology: What to include. • Tasks. Create a list of the tasks and use a parallel structure. • Test Environment. State when you did the test, where, and anything else that helps a reader understand the testing methods you used such as type of computer (laptop, desktop, PC or Mac etc.?). Version of the products tested etc. • Evaluative Criteria/Rating Scale. List the five criteria statements and include the five-point Likert scale. 22
  23. 23. Results • Rhetorically, the results present the findings and what the findings mean. • How you organize this section is your choice, but the organizing pattern should take readers logically through the findings. 23
  24. 24. Results need to include: • Clear, concise technical descriptions of what happened when you did the task and how you evaluated usability. • Incorporate visuals to help reader follow the test findings: • screenshots that support descriptions. • graphics that represent the scoring data either in the results and/or at the end in a summary. • you may also choose to include the criteria statements with Likert scale in the results’ section. And, if needed, make • suggestions about how to improve the product or website for each task. 24
  25. 25. Recommendation(s)/Conclusion • Rhetorically, this section should make an overall conclusion about how the products compared. • The recommendations in this section should list, in order of importance, any suggestions you made in the results section for how to improve the website or product. 25
  26. 26. Bibliography • Include for website(s) or fully online products you tested. • Include the URL for any specific information you cited when considering how a feature worked, such as claims made on the product’s website etc. • Use an endnote system (i.e. superscript that refers to bibliography end note page). 26
  27. 27. Appendix • You will need to include the raw data in this section, which is the completed data collection forms or spreadsheet. • Consider multiple forms to be pages of a single appendix. 27 Appendices is the plural of appendix. Since you have only one appendix (consider data collection forms to be one appendix with multiple pages), use Appendix in the title of yours.

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