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UX Essentials for Technical Writers; Part 1: How to evaluate and improve User Ex

 

Document Version: 1.0

Copyright © 2015 by Sudhira Ranjan Subudhi

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

Disclaimer: The case study explained in this document is simulated and it’s prepared for the demonstration of the concept only. Some images with usage rights as “Free to use, share or modify even commercially” have been used from Google Search and Bing Search.

About the author

Sudhir Subudhi

Lead Technical Writer

 

B.E in Information Technology

Certification in Management of Software Development

 

Sudhir Subudhi has an extensive experience in Technical Writing, Editing, Documentation Management, and Information Architecture. He is passionate about doing research in the fields of Agile Content, Information Experience, XML DITA, and Content through Social Media.

 

 

You can reach Sudhir Subudhi at:

 

Linkedin: http://in.linkedin.com/in/sudhirsubudhi

Email: [email protected]

Who should read this document

Technical Writers, Documentation Managers, Content Strategists, business stakeholders and other decision makers

To Learn:

What are the parameters to assess documentation deliveries for delightful user experience; how to define these parameters, and how to review the documentation deliveries by using UX Review Sheet and UX Score Card.

How the use of UX Review Sheet and UX Score Card in projects can help improve the user experience of documentation deliveries and bring benefits to the company.

and

How to adapt to the UX assessment methods in documentation services to remove the gap between the delivered content and the users’ wants.

Objective

Traditionally documentation departments across companies have adopted Editing as a process to evaluate and improve the documents they deliver. Through Editorial Review processes they ensure correct presentation, adherence to standards, simplicity, consistency, language and grammar, accessibility, and well organization of content.

Still, even after following these rules, organizations find their documentation is put aside by the users, and are increasingly achieving their objectives through alternative channels, thereby rendering the delivered documentation effectively useless. Although they understand the importance of documentation, they still struggle to achieve that goal.

While looking into this issue, scholars found that we deploy editorial review to enhance USABILITY of our documents. While we say Usability we try to produce documentation, so that the users CAN USE it. Although we apply all the means to fine-tune our online help and user guides to make these very effective, we don’t think whether the users are willing to use it at all! We don’t think whether they find it a trustworthy mean to follow! We don’t think whether they desire to use these as a part of their lifestyle on their own! Thus creating a big gap between what we provide and what they really want.

To resolve this problem, we found, that if we deliver content, in right amount, at right time, in right way, and as per the desires and preferences of the user, then the users would like it, keep using it again and again, and experience it as awesome and cool! It’s a whole different world when we start thinking from users’ point of view.

Also, technical documentation is now not limited to user manuals and help files alone. It includes all forms of information or content delivered through all forms of delivery channels, to meet numerous business requirements. It’s time that we move from the normal Usability (USER CAN USE) approach to a futuristic Experience (USER WILL USE) approach to close the gap between the product or service and the user and to reap best return for our businesses.

We need to redefine the forms of content and deliver them as per the needs, desires and preferences of users so that they get a delightful experience. We need to devise additional tools, methods, dimensions and metrics to evaluate and improve our documents. These methods would ensure that the documents provide right content, in right amount, at right time, in right way, and as per the desires and preferences of the user.

So in addition to doing normal Editorial Review, we recommend performing UX Review of your documentation deliveries at certain time intervals.

Through this document, we bring forth a UX Score Card and UX Review Sheet that is well received by stakeholders, and which you can use in your organizations to evaluate and enhance the user experience of your documentation deliveries.

Contents

What makes content amazing

Six dimensions of amazing content

Aligning with users’ objectives

Working effortlessly

Comprehending easily

Exercising control and authority

Driving users’ feelings

Spreading trust and brand perception

Set up UX Review for documentation

Engage content design experts

Define a schedule for review

Set the target for UX ready content

Know the users and empathize them

Define review dimensions and metrics

Evaluate documentation by using UX Review Sheet

Report review findings by using UX Score Card

Case Study: Evaluating documentation for a clinical diagnostic equipment

Background

Problem

Analysis

Solution

Before and After

Five questions I encountered

What makes content amazing

Have you ever analyzed about how the users experience your content products or services? What’s their reaction or response after using the products? Let’s see some of the reactions of the users:

You know what! This new video I saw on YouTube! Amazing! You got to see this! I will send you the link.”

I just gave five star rating to that blog! Awesome one!”

There was this topic. Helped me setup my email app. Cool.”

Well! That’s User Experience (UX)! The users desire for it, have it again and again, and share it with others. For content industry it’s known as Information Experience (IX).

Information Experience (IX) = Information (or content) + User Experience (UX).

Which means …

Right content, in right amount, at right time, in right way, with the user preferences in mind… DELIVERED!

That’s when the users will find the content as amazing.

Who would like to open a shop of millions of dollars, getting no business! Who would like to post hundreds of blogs with no visitors around for years! Who would like to publish a series of videos that has no viewers!

As the owner of a specific content, you would like the users to:

Like it, not hate it.

Share it, not abandon it.

Take it, not dump it.

Run for it, not run away from it.

Have you ever heard a comment, “Nobody reads a User Manual!” Is it true? May be, to some extent! Technical communications services have vastly grown. It’s not limited to user manuals and help files alone. It includes all forms of information or content delivered through all forms of delivery channels, to meet numerous business requirements.

It’s time that we move from the normal Usability (USER CAN DO) approach to a futuristic Experience (USER WILL DO) approach to close the gap between the product/service and the user and to reap best return for our business.

Six dimensions of amazing content

Aligning with users’ objectives

The documentation should be designed as per the thinking and usage patterns of the users. It should align with and encourage the users to meet their objectives by using it. It should also provide guided flows and interactions to meet the objectives.

Example 1:

Thank you for travelling with OlaCabs. Your feedback would help us improve your next journey. Please give a missed call to 3355 3355, if you are not satisfied with the service.

Explanation: The message directly meets the users’ objective of providing a feedback, if they are not happy with the received service. It provides a method to do the same.

Example 2:

Web reference: http://www.slideshare.net/nuSchool/earn-more-make-your-client-happy-with-this-awesome-pricing-technique

Explanation: The title of the document “Earn More & Make Your Client Happy” clearly aligns with the objective of the user. It clearly sets a path “this awesome pricing technique” to achieve the objective.

Working effortlessly

The users should be able to work with the documents effortlessly. Navigations such as browse and search and finding of information should be easy and fast. All the content items should be quantified, configured, and accessible through the navigational utilities. The information architecture should be minimal and effective.

Example 1:

LM-FACEBK

Today is Arya Om’s birthday. Reply 1 to post “Happy birthday!” in his timeline.

Explanation: In a busy personal schedule, it’s quick to reply with just one character.

Example 2:

Explanation: The form is long. It takes a lot of information as input.

Comprehending easily

The users should be able to comprehend the content easily and use it. The content elements should be designed and styled with appropriate design patterns and style guide preferences. The users should find the content valuable.

Example 1:

Webinar: UX in Content Products

Outline:

Presented by: Tom Schindler

Schedule: 23:00 IST (GMT+5:30)

Link:

Explanation: The message block uses a proven pattern or design of presenting information about a scheduled event. All the critical information about the event is given upfront.

Example 2:

The following figure shows the documentation followed through Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

Explanation: The graph “Documentation through SDLC” is hard to comprehend. The users need to closely study the graph for some time to derive meaning out of it. It uses an inappropriate design to present the information.

Exercising control and authority

The user should be in control of the document. The follow-up or the interactions must be yielding result. The users must achieve their objective speedily. The users must be able to free themselves if stuck somewhere. The users must enjoy a full-featured and complete document, with no missing options.

Example 1:

Reach us at:

Phone: <>

Email: <>

Instant Messaging/Audio-Video Call: <>

Web: <>

Social Channels: <>

Office Location Map: <>

Explanation: The users got contact information over a variety of communication channels.

Example 2:

Web reference: http://www.bajajauto.com/pulsar200ns_index.asp

Explanation: The webpage provides the user enough facilities to browse available motorcycles, select a preferred one, check it with 360 degree view, read technical specs, read reviews, and many more, all of it right on the same page. The menu/option organization is compact and well designed. It’s quick to browse across different information.

Driving users’ feelings

The users should be attached to it instantly. The users should like to stay engaged with it with pleasure. The document should be able to drive the users’ feelings of excitement, exploration, and fulfillment. The content should match with the emotional feelings of the user, and should arouse feelings to pursue the course further.

Example 1:

Explanation: The message connects directly with positive emotion. It calls for action with reward. The supporting image propels fulfillment.

Example 2:

Web reference: http://www.flipkart.com/offers?&icmpid=foz_menu_top

Explanation: The image “Binoculars & Telescopes” shows a child, in a grassy field, holding binoculars and seeing something from distance. The image highlights the child’s excitement and reaction of seeing the distant thing through the binocular.

Spreading trust and brand perception

The look, feel, tone, style, of every page and every interaction of the document should look professional and increase credibility. The content should be trustworthy. The users should be assured that they will be taken care of. The users should find some value each time they use the documents. The users should feel safe while using the document and its contents. The users should see the use of document by other people to get social proof. The users should feel that they are in trend by using the document.

Example 1:

26 people have liked this review. 12 people have recommended this review to others.

Explanation: The message informs that the review is being liked by many others. Even people are recommending it to others.

Example 2:

Web reference: http://www.yatra.com/?redirect=no&origin=US

Explanation: On the left pane of the browser window, the “Why Book With Yatra” section provides statistics on awards, recognition, operational scale, and so on, to build trust. On the bottom of the left pane, the number of likes in the Facebook fans section provides social proof for the website.

Set up UX Review for documentation

Engage content design experts

Content products and services should pass UX assessment round (or UX Review). Higher the UX score higher the awesomeness of the product or service. Experts in content design should perform the review and assess the content for their purpose, design, delivery mechanisms, and components. You can assign a content design expert or a content strategist in your company or take help of a third party consultant to do the same.

Define a schedule for review

You can perform UX Review at certain time intervals, may be once in a couple of releases, to align the documentation deliveries with the requirements, preferences, desires, and constraints of the user. We can also perform the UX Review immediately after designing the documentation deliveries to test their user adaptability.

Set the target for UX ready content

The content experts should set the target for information experience. That is… Delivering the right content, in right amount, at right time, in right way, as per the desires and preferences of the user.

Know the users and empathize them

Usually, products or services are presented as a solution to the needs of the users. In this way they give a good product-market-fit solution. So while designing a product or solution, we must hear its users in minute detail and ensure that all their needs are effectively captured and taken into account. This will bridge the gap between the service offering and their actual consumption. The more finely the users’ needs, desires, aspirations, behaviors, constraints, and preferences are addressed the more adoptive the solution becomes. You can use the following methods for the purpose:

*
p<>{color:#a6a6a6;}. Digital surveys

*
p<>{color:#a6a6a6;}. Meetings and interviews

*
p<>{color:#a6a6a6;}. Observation

*
p<>{color:#a6a6a6;}. Involvement

At the end of this study you will find the users’ needs, their behaviors, preferences, interaction stories, engagement patterns, and barriers. You will also be able to create user profiles (or personas). A persona is a profiled user with a particular demography, personal traits, family background, lifestyle, profession, interest, motive, knowledge level, preferences, constraints, and so on. The content needs to cater to all these kinds of users and must be developed accordingly. So, while performing the UX Reviews, the experts should visualize themselves as these profiled users or personas.

The following is a template to prepare a persona card.

Define review dimensions and metrics

Experts need to set the dimensions and create metrics under them to assess the user experience of content products.

In management terms: Until and unless we can’t quantify it, we can’t measure it! So we can’t have it!

Example:

Joe: “The article was good.”

Christina: “Really?”

Joe: “It got 300 likes, 20 shares, 11 downloads in 2 days flat!”

Christina: “Oh yeah, it was good!”

So here, the metrics such as likes, downloads, and duration helped assessing an article whether it’s good or not.

The following example shows the dimensions using which we can review a smartphone. For “Camera” dimension, we could define the metrics as Mega Pixels, Auto-Focus, Front and back camera, and so on, and rate the smartphone accordingly.

Similarly, for content products and services, we can define dimensions and quantify metrics under them.

Evaluate documentation by using UX Review Sheet

Dimension 1. Aligning with users’ objectives

The documentation should be designed as per the thinking and usage patterns of the users. It should align with and encourage the users to meet their objectives by using it. It should also provide guided flows and interactions to meet the objectives.

M 1.01 > The users can clearly see the tasks and align their objectives to complete the tasks.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 1.02 > The document persuades the user to follow and complete their tasks.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 1.03 > The document presents a set of related tasks appropriately to extend the experience.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 1.04 > The guided task flows effectively guide the users to meet their objectives.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 1.05 > The users complete their goals by using the document.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 1.06 > The document motivates and guides the user to take decisions on the goals.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 1.07 > The users take measurable actions for example adopts a plan, enrolls for a service.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

Dimension 2. Working effortlessly

The users should be able to work with the documents effortlessly. Navigations such as browse and search and finding of information should be easy and fast. All the content items should be quantified, configured, and accessible through the navigational utilities. The information architecture should be minimal and effective.

M 2.01 > It’s easy to find the content that the user is looking for. It’s easy to follow the flows in the document.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 2.02 > The document provides sufficient navigational utilities to browse the content.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 2.03 > The navigational utilities are logically designed as per the user’s interaction preference.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 2.04 > The users can access any information they need through the navigational utilities.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 2.05 > The procedures and instructions are straight forward and the user spends less effort to follow them.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 2.06 > The interactions and the links are functional. The users are not blocked midway.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 2.07 > The user doesn’t traverse to and forth to complete a single task. Instructions to complete the task are readily available at one place.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 2.08 > The interaction design is minimal. The user achieves the objective with a minimum number of actions.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 2.09 > The document keeps the user on task and allows completing the task first before instructing to go to another.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

Dimension 3. Comprehending easily

The users should be able to comprehend the content easily and use it. The content elements should be designed and styled with appropriate design patterns and style guide preferences. The users should find the content valuable.

M 3.01 > The content is delivered in a well suited delivery format.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.02 > Correct design patterns are used for all types of content elements.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.03 > Document titles or labels are well named and helps selecting the right content.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.04 > The flow of the information is uninterrupted and gives a complete picture.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.05 > The content is presented in a consistent manner across different parts of the document and across documents.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.06 > The content can be easily read, understood, and followed.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.07 > The document doesn’t overwhelm with too many actions at one time. It takes a progressive approach.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.08 > The document presents information as per the knowledge level and need of the user.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.09 > The users are not burdened with the information that they don’t need.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.10 > The content is well composed and effective.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.11 > The content elements are located at appropriate positions.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 3.12 > The users find the content valuable.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

Dimension 4. Exercising control and authority

The user should be in control of the document. The follow-up or the interactions must be yielding result. The users must achieve their objective speedily. The users must be able to free themselves if stuck somewhere. The users must enjoy a full-featured and complete document, with no missing options.

M 4.01 > The document is equipped with all the required content and utilities.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 4.02 > The information architecture is lean and delivers information in less time and with little interaction.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 4.03 > The users are in control of the document and channelize themselves as per their wish.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 4.04 > The users get all the notes, additional information, warnings, error messages as per their need and control the decision by themselves.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 4.05 > The document helps users to recognize errors, diagnose them, and recover from them.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 4.06 > The design is flexible. The users can switch between their objectives as and when they wish it, without losing control and information.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 4.07 > The document gives visible result in each step throughout the work flows.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 4.08 > The document offers the users the freedom of choice or decision.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

Dimension 5. Driving users’ feelings

The users should be attached to it instantly. The users should like to stay engaged with it with pleasure. The document should be able to drive the users’ feelings of excitement, exploration, and fulfillment. The content should match with the emotional feelings of the user, and should arouse feelings to pursue the course further.

M 5.01 > The users find the document design or layout aesthetically pleasing.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 5.02 > The visual elements, colors, and content triggers instant desire and inner-motivation to proceed with the document.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 5.03 > The users feel that the document understands their objectives and state of being.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 5.04 > The document provides a pleasurable interaction and engagement with the user.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 5.05 > The document respects the user, and doesn’t hurt personal sentiments or emotions.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 5.06 > The content drives the users’ feelings of excitement, exploration, and fulfillment.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 5.07 > Engages customers and creates desire as they discover additional value and rewards throughout the path.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

Dimension 6. Spreading trust and brand perception

The look, feel, tone, style, of every page and every interaction of the document should be professional and increase credibility. The content should be trustworthy. The users should be assured that they will be taken care of. The users should feel safe while using the document and its contents. The users should cite the use of document by other people to get social proof. The users should feel that they are in trend by using the document.

M 6.01 > The document adequately and correctly displays all needed meta data, such as release date, version number, author name, module name, copyright info, etc.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.02 > The document doesn’t have typos, grammatical errors, broken links, and inaccurate content, or other credibility killers.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.03 > The documentation set is neatly designed and has reasonable amount of white space on the pages.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.04 > The document doesn’t contain irrelevant content that is out of context.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.05 > The document builds trust by successfully meeting the objectives of the users.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.06 > The document is carefully designed which prevents errors from happening. It helps users recover from errors, if happens.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.07 > The users feel safe and are assured that they are taken care of.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.08 > The users like to use the document again and again for long time.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.09 > The document has adequate elements for social actions.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.10 > The document is of value and the users are tempted to share it with others.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

M 6.11 > The users feel that they are in trend by using the document.

Rating: ……

Notes/Comments: ……

Linked design principle: ……

Recommended solution: ……

Report review findings by using UX Score Card

Here is a sample of the UX Score Card template. It:

*
p<>{color:#a6a6a6;}. Details the subject under assessment.

*
p<>{color:#a6a6a6;}. Shows overall rating.

*
p<>{color:#a6a6a6;}. Shows detailed break-up of rating with dimensions.

*
p<>{color:#a6a6a6;}. Refers filled-in UX Review Sheet for feedback received against metrics.

UX Score Card

Details of subject under assessment:

Company name: ______

Point of contact: ______

Document name: ______

Overall Rating: <>/5

 

Rating Scale:

1: No UX | 2: Poor UX | 3: Partial UX | 4: Meets UX | 5: Exceeds UX

Detailed break-up

Aligning with users’ objectives

Rating: <>/5

Raised concerns: comments

Working effortlessly

Rating: <>/5

Raised concerns: comments

Comprehending easily

Rating: <>/5

Raised concerns: comments

Exercising control and authority

Rating: <>/5

Raised concerns: comments

Driving users’ feelings

Rating: <>/5

Raised concerns: comments

Spreading trust and brand perception

Rating: <>/5

Raised concerns: comments

 

Note: See the UX Review Sheet for the detailed comments

 

Case Study: Evaluating documentation for a clinical diagnostic equipment

Note: This case study is simulated, and it’s prepared only for the demonstration of the concept.

Background

Clinical-Bio produces Clinical Diagnostic Equipment N2. Clinical-Bio N2 is used in Remote Health Clinics, Small laboratories, Doctor’s offices, Field hospitals, Diagnostic clinics, and Emergency care centers.

N2 can do the chemical analysis or test of blood, serum, and plasma with high accuracy and report the findings.

Clinical-Bio N2 comes with a printed user manual and a CD containing training videos.

Clinical Bio N2 is used by clinics and small laboratories in rural areas and small towns. The lab assistants operating the machine are pharmacists having low educational background and low learning curve. They prefer easy comprehensible documentation. They are motivated by trustworthy content. They have little social media presence.

Problem

The Clinical Bio N2 User Guide is of 140 pages long and carries all the information needed by the lab assistants. They find it hard to find the needed information in the manual. To them it’s confusing and time taking. And most of the time they prefer asking experts in the machine to carry out the tasks. The CD carries training videos of the machine, but they don’t find time and interest to look for it.

Clinical Bio sends feedback to the third party company which produces documentation, and asks to solve the matter quickly.

Analysis

The third party company realizes that it offers the same vanilla offering of User Guide and CD combo to many product companies. The client is of high value and the company doesn’t want to lose the upcoming business it can have through it. The company wants to understand the underlying errors and fix it through subsequent documentation releases.

Solution

The company makes its mind to deliver content that is actually useful to its users. To turn the story, it hires a content expert to evaluate the current set of documentation and recommend solutions. The content expert schedules multiple meetings, observes the lab assistants work, tries to get a firsthand experience of the job. The content expert then performs the UX Review on the content and records his errors, cites appropriate design principles, and recommends solutions by using the UX Review Sheet and UX Score Card.

Before and After

Before

UX Review comment on “Aligning with objectives” dimension

M 1.05 > The users complete their goals by using the document.

Rating: 1/5

Notes/Comments: The user has some unresolved issues and wants to get it resolved through discussion with an expert.

Linked design principle: N.A.

Recommended solution: Arrange a “Forum” session at the clinic on request or in a certain time interval. The Clinical Bio experts can moderate the sessions.

After

—————-

Before

UX Review comment on “Working effortlessly” dimension

M 2.01 > It’s easy to find the content that the user is looking for. It’s easy to follow the flows in the document.

Rating: 1/5

Notes/Comments: The user finds it cumbersome to open “Sign-off” duties page in the User Manual every day to check the tasks at hand.

Linked design principle: N.A.

Recommended solution: Create a wall print illustration “Sign-off duties at the end of each shift”, and paste it to the room wall.

After

—————-

Before

UX Review comment on “Comprehending easily” dimension

M 3.06 > The content can be easily read, understood, and followed.

Rating: 2/5

Notes/Comments: It’s difficult to comprehend and remember all the caution messages. The messages appear as technical jargon.

Linked design principle: N.A.

Recommended solution: Add a clear title to the messages. Simplify the message description. In the body of the message include images to show what should be done and what should not.

After

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Before

UX Review comment on “Exercising control and authority” dimension

M 4.01 > The document is equipped with all the required content and utilities.

Rating: 1/5

Notes/Comments: The critical information requirement areas are not evident upfront. Some information such as quality control procedures is not available at all. The user feels lost browsing the document.

Linked design principle: N.A.

Recommended solution: Divide the monolithic user guide into small user guides each targeted for specific critical information requirement area. This would give a feeling that the users have the information at hand at the time of need.

After

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Before

UX Review comment on “Driving users’ feelings” dimension

M 5.01 > The users find the document design or layout aesthetically pleasing.

Rating: 1/5

Notes/Comments: The document and the content don’t excite the users to browse these further.

Linked design principle: N.A.

Recommended solution: Create stories of incorrect actions performed by staff by use of an additional document rich in color and graphic.

After

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Before

UX Review comment on “Spreading trust and brand perception” dimension

M 6.07 > The users feel safe and are assured that they are taken care of.

Rating: 3/5

Notes/Comments: The procedure appears automated; without personal touch it makes hard to trust.

Linked design principle: N.A.

Recommended solution: Add an opinion or advice from an expert with the procedure. It would reveal that the procedure is validated and entrusted by the expert.

After

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Five questions I encountered

1) We have Editorial Review processes in our company. Do we still need UX review?

We deploy editorial review to enhance USABILITY of our documents. While we say Usability we try to produce documentation, so that the users CAN USE it. UX Review implements the USER WILL USE approach to close the gap that exists between the product/service that we provide and the users’ wants. UX Review helps delivering the right content, in right amount, at right time, in right way, as per the desires and preferences of the user.

2) When we can perform UX Review of our documentation?

We can perform UX Review at certain time intervals, may be once in a couple of releases, to align the documentation deliveries with the requirements, preferences, desires, and constraints of the user. We can also perform the UX Review immediately after designing the documentation deliveries to test their user adaptability.

3) Who should perform the UX Review of documentation deliveries?

Experts in content design should perform the review and assess the content for their purpose, design, delivery mechanisms, and components. You can assign a content design expert or a content strategist in your company or take help of a third party consultant to do the same.

4) Is it required to follow the UX Review Sheet and the UX Score Card as it is?

The UX Review Sheet and the UX Score Card provided in this document is for educational purpose. You should tailor these assets and build on these to create your own.

5) Are there any other methods exist to perform UX Review?

There are many standards and specifications available to perform UX Review of products and services on a whole. The dimensions and metrics mentioned in this document are specific to documentation deliveries and information solutions.


UX Essentials for Technical Writers; Part 1: How to evaluate and improve User Ex

This ebook is meant for Technical Writers, Documentation Managers, Content Strategists, business stakeholders or other decision makers. With this ebook, you can learn how to evaluate and improve User Experience of your documentation deliveries. It explains what are the dimensions and metrics to evaluate documentation deliveries for delightful user experience. It explains how to define these metrics and review documentation deliveries by using UX Review Sheet and UX Score Card. It also explains how to setup the UX Review Process for documentation deliveries in a company to improve the quality of documentation. This document would help you to remove the gap that exists between what documentation you deliver and what the users really want, thereby bringing in benefits to your company.

  • Author: Sudhir Subudhi
  • Published: 2017-01-16 10:50:12
  • Words: 6112
UX Essentials for Technical Writers; Part 1: How to evaluate and improve User Ex UX Essentials for Technical Writers; Part 1: How to evaluate and improve User Ex