RE: waking up to the world of Technical Writing

Subject: RE: waking up to the world of Technical Writing
From: <Daniel_Hall -at- trendmicro -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2004 13:02:56 -0700

David wrote: "Again, we must have different definitions of 'user experience.' In my experience, the UI is about 97% of the user experience."

I think this must depend in great measure on the type of product you are documenting. It certainly is not always true.

Case in point:
I'm documenting a gateway messaging security product. It filters e-mail for viruses, spam, etc. The product is (generally) used in a set-and-forget manner. The UI is about 3% of the user experience. The other 97% is the messaging filtering that occurs without further user intervention. This is "experienced" as a reduction in spam and the prevention of virus infections.

It's easy to confuse user goals with tasks, which seems to be happening here. The user goal in the example above is to prevent spam from consuming bandwidth and messages containing malicious code from damaging data. In the largest sense, the goal is to protect their network. The user doesn't _want_ to create messaging security policy, or filtering rules, or interact with the UI. If they could do it without interacting with the UI at all, that would be more than OK.

Anything that furthers user _goals_ is a Good Thing®. Anything that detracts is not.



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