A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Chisnell, Dana E.

8 found.

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Are You Designing or Inspecting?

Guidelines are statements of direction. They’re about looking to the future and what you want to incorporate in the design. Guidelines are aspirational. Heuristics challenge a design with questions. The purpose of heuristics is to provide a way to “test” a design in the absence of data and primary observation by making an inspection. Heuristics are about enforcement. Both guidelines and heuristics are typically broad and interpretable. They’re built to apply to nearly any interface. But they come into play at different points in a design project.

Chisnell, Dana E. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>User Experience>Assessment


Review: Comments on: Selker, Rosenzweig, and Pandolfo (2006). "A Methodology for Testing Voting Systems"   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

In the article, 'A Methodology for Testing Voting Systems' (JUS, November 2006, pp7-21), Selker, Rosenzweig, and Pandolfo discuss their methodology for usability testing of voting systems. With so much at stake in the usability of our ballots and voting systems, we can only applaud any research in this field. There is little history of research in this area, so discussions of test protocols are especially valuable. Unfortunately, although this article sets out to compare 'the relative merit in realistic versus lab style experiments for testing voting technology,' it falls short of this goal. If their point is that real-world testing is important because real election environments add burdens that are not present in lab settings, this conclusion is not supported by any of the work described.

Quesenbery, Whitney, John Cugini, Dana E. Chisnell, Bill Killam and Janice C. 'Ginny' Redish. Journal of Usability Studies (2007). Articles>Reviews>Usability>Civic


New Heuristics for Understanding Older Adults as Web Users   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article reports on a study performed for AARP on the needs of older Web users. It defines a model of older users that includes four dimensions (age, ability, aptitude, and attitude). It defines 20 heuristics, as well as personas and tasks for reviewing Web sites, and a methodology for doing persona-based, task-based heuristic review that would allow us to evaluate many sites in a relatively short time in a highly realistic way. Finally, it reports the results of an analysis of 50 Web sites for general audiences that include older adults, using that methodology.

Chisnell, Dana E., Janice C. 'Ginny' Redish and Amy Lee. Technical Communication Online (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Elderly


Shopping for Ideas at UPA Idea Markets

Ever feel that the best part of a conference happens between sessions? Ulf Andersson did. So, in the 1970s, he created a format for conference sessions called an 'Idea Market.' Attendees are free to roam from one idea station to the next, until they find a topic that grabs their attention. 'Activators' at each station stir up lively discourse on a variety of subjects in an interactive, fluid session. I had attended Idea Markets at other conferences and thought that they might be perfectly suited to UPA conferences because of the potential for getting practitioners buzzing about a variety of topics. So, I submitted a proposal to conduct an Idea Market at UPA in 2002 as a special type of 'panel' session. The reviewers had a tough time grasping the concept. Fortunately, the panel co-chairs went with it, and the first-ever Idea Market launched successfully.

Chisnell, Dana E. Usability Professionals Association (2003). Articles>Collaboration>Usability


Teaching Teachers at the Institute in Technical Communication: A Special Report on Our Pilot Project   (PDF)

In STC’s first special opportunity grant, seven STC-funded high school teachers attended the Institute in Technical Communication, held at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Mississippi in June, 1999. Originally developed for teachers at two-year colleges, the 19th Institute became a small experiment, combining high school teachers and 13 other teachers from community and technical colleges.

Chisnell, Dana E. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Education>Instructional Design


Traps Freelancers Fall into and How to Get Out of Them   (PDF)

Every trap can be instructive if you realize what’s happening, when it's happening. There are dozens of possible scenarios, and if you get a roomfull of independent consultants together, they’ll all have at least one war story to tell about their nightmare client. We pooled some of our worst experiences. Then we came up with solutions. Some of the solutions came to us as the situation unfolded; some solutions came only with wizened hindsight.

Chisnell, Dana E., Susan Becker, Frank Elley and Mavis Wall. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>Freelance


Usability Testing Demystified

There seems to be this idea going around that usability testing is bad, or that the cool kids don’t do it. That it’s old skool. That designers don’t need to do it. What if I told you that usability testing is the hottest thing in experience design research? Every time a person has a great experience with a website, a web app, a gadget, or a service, it’s because a design team made excellent decisions about both design and implementation—decisions based on data about how people use designs. And how can you get that data? Usability testing.

Chisnell, Dana E. List Apart, A (2009). Articles>Usability>Testing>User Experience


Why We Call Them Participants

Sometimes we need to take a step back to ensure that our motivations are in the right place. It can be easy to forget that, when people participate in our studies, they are our partners. Dana Chisnell has taken the time to examine these attitudes and help us understand how to avoid falling into such traps.

Chisnell, Dana E. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Articles>Usability>Testing

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