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I learned the same kind of thing, although we called it usability testing,
and it involved setting up a video camera that watched our "test subject" go
through the steps in our procedures. Then we were supposed to retrieve the
tape and watch it to see where the user had trouble with the document.
Unfortunately, the classmate who was responsible for setting up the camera
for my group forgot to put in a tape, so we never actually reviewed a tape
or tested our document.
Turns out it didn't matter much, because we never test our documentation
that way over here in my world. I think I spent the first year out of
college coming to terms with the fact that my company doesn't put
documentation together or test it any way close to how I was taught to do it
in school. :) The one thing I did learn in college that has served me well
is how to write technical documentation--the actual styles and techniques
that make technical writing different from journalism or a term paper or a
FANUC Robotics North America, INC.
Views presented and opinions held are not necessarily those of my friends,
family, or employer.
For example, when we finish writing instructions, we trade with each other.
I have to watch the person with my instructions (the "doer") attempt to
execute the project (whatever it is). I am not allowed to speak to the doer
during the process; only to take notes on where the "doer" is running into
problems. Then I revise my instructions according to my notes and find
someone else to try it again. The instructions tend to dramatically improve
the second time around, with the "doer" sailing through them (mostly!).
IPCC 01, the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference,
October 24-27, 2001 at historic La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.
CALL FOR PAPERS OPEN UNTIL MARCH 15. http://ieeepcs.org/2001/
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