Re: Here's why formatting and layout can really matter:

Subject: Re: Here's why formatting and layout can really matter:
From: "Chuck Martin" <twriter -at- mindspring -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000 12:01:38 -0800

"Wally Glassett" <wallyg99 -at- home -dot- net> wrote in message news:77036 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> I agree with Dan. I've been voting for a long time and have lived in many
> states, and I don't think I've ever seen a ballot that wasn't confusing to
> some degree in some area or another. IMO, when you go into the ballot
> to exercise your rights, you also assume the responsibility for whatever
> do in there. If you don't understand, you should ask. If you think you've
> made a mistake, I'm sure you can take your ballot to the officials and
> it destroyed and then get another.

Those expectations are unrealistic. Tied into the communications aspect of
this (Tom Brokaw made the same point this morning, that people, if confused,
could have stepped out of the voting booth and asked) is the psychological
aspect. While not directly related to the cognitive psychology areas that
bear on technical communication, how many people would, for example, simply
feel too embarrassed to walk in the booth, then walk out and ask someone for
help? There is a strong streak of independence in many people, a thought
that "I should be able to do it myself." (Raise you hand if you've ever done
that yourself, with anything. Hmmm....I just took this new VCR out of the
box. I can connect all the cable and set it up without reading the manual.)
There could also be embarrassment that one made a mistake, as in the cases
of the twice-punched ballots, with a compounding thought that "this one one
make any difference anyway." Because you *can* go get another ballot does
not mean that someone *will."

People "should" read the manuals and Help that we develop for our products,
but do they? Beware expectations, especially of human beings.

Chuck Martin
Technical Writer, Online Help Author, GUI & Interaction Designer
twriter "at" mindspring "dot" com

Develop HTML-based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver! (STC Discount.)
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