RE: cooking instructions for Kraft Dinner

Subject: RE: cooking instructions for Kraft Dinner
From: "Bailie, Rahel" <r_bailie -at- trillium -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 12:27:40 -0800

I've held back comments on this topic, but would like use the impromptu case
study to learn from from it.

Case study:
Cooking instructions on the Kraft Dinner box are reported to be unclear to
some adults and children. It seems that novices to food preparation may not
distinguish stovetop and microwave instructions as two discrete processes,
and instead perform both sets of instructions, leading to less-than-savory
(pun intended) results.

Case study conclusions:
1. The instructions seemed clear to the writer.
2. The instructions turned out to be unclear to some of the audience.
3. The writer made assumptions about the audience but did not test those
4. If the assumptions were tested, the test was unsound (otherwise, the
instructions would be clear to the audience.)

Lessons learned:
1. Do not make assumptions about the audience.
2. Do not rationalize your mistake by becoming defensive(e.g. "why are kids
being allowed to cook Kraft Dinner anyhow").
3. Use the feedback you receive to improve your instructions (e.g. you may
discover that novices are more likely to venture into food preparation with
a product such as Kraft Dinner).
4. Test or, if you've tested, use an iterative process until you get it
5. Keep your sense of humor. After all, who could have predicted that
MacDonald's would have to label coffee as "hot" because customers burned
their mouths? Or is that lesson: never underestimate the softheadedness of a
percentage of consumers? ;-)

Rahel Bailie

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