usability study

Subject: usability study
From: lyndsey -dot- amott -at- docsymmetry -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 01 Dec 2004 11:21:46 -0500

Bruce Byfield wrote:
Or it may be the selective attention that everybody is capable of. It
always amazes me (and slightly terrifies me) how often even very
intelligent people take a phrase out of context, and insist that the
entire passage reflects that phrase.
I have a vaguely related, equally terrifying problem. My client has asked me to write a usability review of their online help and their paper documentation. So far I have about 40 pages describing all the things that are problematic with the help and the docs. I have been careful to talk about industry standards and why the problems are problems, but because the review focuses on negatives, I fear that the reaction to it will be unpleasant. Even when I mention some aspect of the documentation that is good, it is bracketed by a number of things that are "bad." For example, their paper documentation is quite excellent--well written, well laid out, etc., but there are a number of minor formatting errors, which I list on about six pages with recommendations on how to fix them. At the end of the list, I've written something like "Despite the problems noted above, the paper documentation is excellent--well written, well laid out, etc." Who's going to notice that statement?
I have asked if I can present my findings as a ppt presentation, which would at least allow me to make my points in a less formal and more friendly manner, but I am told that I must submit the review as a document. The more I write, the more I dread the fallout.
Lyndsey Amott
Winnipeg, MB R3G 2J



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