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Subject:Measures of reader's computer skills -Reply From:Carol Van Natta <CVANNATT -at- ITC -dot- NRCS -dot- USDA -dot- GOV> Date:Tue, 16 Dec 1997 06:35:30 -0700
Jim, I'd include in your list of characteristics "Users' goals in
using X software." In other words, why are they using the
program -- the underlying reason, not just because the boss
said so. For example, I use Word 7 to produce drafts and
final versions of software and system documentation, and I
therefore want documentation on the features that help me
do my job quicker and easier.
As to a user's computer skills, I'd try to compare roles and
program knowledge. For example, compare a user who has
trouble double-clicking a mouse, to one who knows/uses 5 or
more other programs, to one who can answer most
questions by others about a given program, to the IS
manager who doesn't know the program but knows software.
This (along with your other profile data) should help you
determine what to write and how to present it.
>>> "Snowden, Jim @Cimage" <jims -at- CIMAGE -dot- CO -dot- UK>
12/16/97 3:30 am >>>
I'm doing a bit of readership analysis for our next product
I'm finding it hard to think of some measures that I can use
different user characteristics. So far, I've been looking at
to build up a profile of the user:
- User types (novice user/experienced
- Information needs of each type (install/"how to"/background
- Products used by each user type (unfortunately we have
gazillion different products and versions)
- Computer systems available (processor/screen quality/etc.)
- Working environment (office/underwater/etc.)
- Computer skills
The idea is to design on the information structure, content,
suitable for the different user types.
Does that seem a reasonable list of things to look at or can
of something else?
For the Computer skills bit, I'm finding it hard to think of
measures to use (eg to categorize the users' knowledge and
computers), so if you've got some ideas, I'd be glad to hear
Finally, despite having been a technical writer for what
seems like eons
this is the first time I've really done a comprehensive user
can anyone suggest some good book or resources for finding
about how to do this in a thorough manner (I've got the
your document projects book, and that helps but doesn't give
some of the
detail I'm looking for).