Want your documentation user tested ?

Subject: Want your documentation user tested ?
From: Jim Stratman <jstratma -at- carbon -dot- cudenver -dot- edu>
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 17:31:28 -0700 (MST)


In late January, 2000, the M.S. in Technical Communication Program at the
University of Colorado at Denver will again offer a semester-length course
in Usability Testing (at the graduate level). In past courses we provided
valuable usability testing for diverse clients, including (among others)
TargetSmart, Inc. (specializing in marketing software), for the National
Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL) Website, and for J. D. Edwards Company,
specializing in accounting software, among others. One of the areas we
emphasize in our M.S. curriculum, and that we particularly focus in this
course, is the testing and improvement of a broad range of
online/interactive and hard copy documentation and instructional material,
including (but not limited to) such things as:

--software documentation (including interfaces & help systems), tutorials &

--documentation for consumer electronics, appliances (VCRs, stereos, voice
messaging answering machines, etc.)

--health hazard/risk disclosures and documentation, such as:

*warnings on (or inside of) packaging
*patient package inserts for pharmaceuticals and home care health
products, devices (e.g., syringe kits)
*proper usage instructions for household appliances, tools, etc.

--government & consumer legal documentation, such as:

*tax documentation
*real estate documentation/forms
*securities prospecti
*banking/loan transactions
*insurance policies/forms

Here's the pitch: For the Spring 2000 course, we are again inviting both
public and private sector organizations to participate. We invite such
organizations to provide actual documents, software, and/or other technology
for which they would like user-testing and related comprehensibility
evaluations to be performed in our labs. All experimental participants that
we recruit must sign non-disclosure agreements as well as participation
consent forms for the university. While we would not charge organizations
for the tests and evaluations/reports themselves, we may require some
monetary support for securing and paying user-test participants and for
transcribing audio and/or video data. There is also a nominal participation
fee which contributes toward upgrades in our lab facilities or scholarship
program in technical communication. Note that we are interested both in
consumer-type documents as well as documents for more specialized
audiences/technicians. We are equally interested in online and traditional
hard-copy documents, and in electro-mechanical as well as computer
technology documentation.

If you or your organization think you might be interested in temporarily
supplying such documents/technology to our Program and obtaining the written
results of a highly competent user-test evaluation--please contact me right

Be sure to reply to my personal email (below), not to this list.


Professor James F. Stratman, Director
Technical Communication Program
Professor James F. Stratman
Director, Technical Communication Program
University of Colorado at Denver
Department of Communication
Campus Box 176
Plaza Building, Suite 102-B
Denver, Colorado 80217-3364
FAX 303-556-6018
Phone: 303-556-2884
Technical Communication Program Website:

"If wishes were fishes there'd be no room in the sea."

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