re: Value of / requirement for user testing

Subject: re: Value of / requirement for user testing
From: Sean Hower <hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 2002 08:32:59 -0700 (PDT)

Kevin McLauchlan wrote:
Toward the end, as the product is taking shape, and
the interface is beginning to gel, we might be lucky
enough to get half a dozen pre-production units in-house
for our testing ... and then we have to ship four or five
of them for demos or for customer-mandated trials,
leaving us to do all our testing on two (or fewer)
pre-prod units and the few stray prototypes that are
actually, sorta, kinda, functioning... although not exactly
the way the final units will, but hey... that's life for a
small company.

My first job was documenting a video editing suite that included both a non-linear editor and live switcher (that's the software that let's you piece together all of your footage into a movie (the editor) and the software that let's you control the cameras during a live shoot (the switcher), like they'd do during a news broadcast). The software we had wasn't the most recent (there was some reason for that at the time, but I don't remember...), we didn't have any decks (VCRs), we didn't have any live input devices at all (like cameras), we didn't even have all of the hardware that went with the product. Many of the product's features changed depending on what you had hooked up to up until the night of printing the docs, we were still finding features that we didn't know about, that all of our "SMEs" seemed to not notice were missing, but "just had to be in manual." <sigh />

I think it comes down to a lack of organization.... :-(

Sean Hower - tech writer

"Whatever you do, do NOT let your editorial decisions be made by the squiggly spell-checking lines in Word!" ~Keith Cronin, Techwr-l irritant ;-)

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