RE: Which style of giving instructions is more effective?

Subject: RE: Which style of giving instructions is more effective?
From: Kelley Walker <kelley -dot- walker -at- libtax -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2012 13:51:00 +0000

Out of curiosity, does anyone know if there is any research on the topic? The OP asked for the "more effective" style. Were it me, I'd want to know what actually works, under what conditions, and why.

I'm doing UX work right now, but a heavy component is content - getting instructions right, setting standards and style guidelines. Instructions are common throughout the application. I've been following the approach I was taught, "To use your current account, do X," especially since there's often a lot of technical verbiage that the SMEs want to stay in for legal and due diligence reasons.

While we have headings, when we did usability testing on this issue, we found that the bulk of our users completely ignore headings. I call it heading blindness.

Thanks for any pointers to research on the topic.

Kelley Howell
UX Designer
Liberty Tax
P: 757.453.6138
M: 757.717.9969

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