A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Humane Experience, The

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Accessibility: Some Honest Talk

I'm not saying we shouldn't do it; I just wish the conversation about accessibility would be more frank when it comes to the opportunity costs and real costs to implement it. And I'm embarrassed by my own petty frustration in having to accommodate someone who has a real beef with the world and a legitimate cause for frustration.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2011). Articles>Accessibility


Analysis of a Diagram

Just because you like something you created, it doesn't mean it's any good or you have a big ego. But it can be useful to stop and ponder something you did that you particularly like--so that you can understand your own design priorities a bit better.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>User Experience>Technical Illustration>Visual Rhetoric


The Degentrification of User Assistance

My job right now as the UX architect on the project is to translate these high level requirements into scenarios and the starts of stories so that my Engineering cohorts can estimate the various features. So with apologies to my technical writer friends, I have embarked on creating a design that will make it easy for SMEs, who have insight about how to get value out of our portal and services, to pass that insight along. I want it to be easy for the SME to post, and easy for the user to get to it.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2011). Articles>User Experience>Technical Writing>Help


Management as a Discourse Community

Every discourse community has its jargon and its cliches that are important vessels for cultural values and which are rich in meaning within those communities. Discourse community itself is a jargon-like word that I'm sure seems odd to someone not familiar with communication research.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>Business Communication>Management


The Power of an Example

I got an email with a set of instructions. There were liberal screen shots which initially made me feel good (even though I didn't want them to because I'd like to believe that users don't need screen shots.) As it turned out, the shots didn't help and even hurt in a way.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2009). Articles>Documentation>Usability>Technical Illustration


Requirements vs. Constraints

The more feature-rich a particular design approach is, the more it delights product management. Of course, that starts to overload available engineering resources which drives their delight down. Being a UX designer puts one in this position a lot. So you look for that acceptable area of compromise, somewhere close to the intersection of the two lines.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>User Experience>Collaboration>Project Management


The Roberts Rules of Order: Essential for UX?

I'm working these days on trying to design a report format around a particular data security standard. I've spent a lot of time trying to understand the standard and what it requires of users and what it would require of our product. I suddenly realized that my analysis was feeling like the kind of research I did on Roberts Rules. I don't think I could have critically analyzed the standard nearly as effectively had I not had the experience of trying to critically understand Roberts Rules so I could use them effectively to move my agenda forward.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>Project Management>User Experience


Three Mistakes Experts Make

As user experience professionals, we deal with experts a lot in the form of Subject Matter Experts. And in doing so, we become experts. Plus we deal with experts and expertise in a dozen different forms in our routine lives every day, so it is good to stop and talk about the three big mistakes experts make.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>User Experience>SMEs


Usability Risk

Usability risk is a concept that I first learned while working for my Usability Hero/Mentor Loren Burke. Loren had started his usability career at IBM as a project manager in charge of saving programs that had landed in the ditch. He developed a keen sense of the need to identify user acceptance issues that could kill a product or web app and then focus on those items.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>Usability


User Adoption: A War with Two Fronts

Any user adoption campaign is essentially a war waged on two fronts: Trying to entice the later adopters to come on board while battling resistance from the early adopters to anything that makes it easy for them. I suspect this problem is most pronounced in non-profit and governmental organizations that are not as driven by the economics of user adoption as commercial enterprises are. I also suspect it is higher in technology communities.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>Technology>Marketing


UX Design vs UI Development

One of the more interesting tensions I have observed since getting into User Experience (UX) design about five years ago is the almost sibling-rivalry-like tension between UX designers and User Interface (UI) developers. At the heart of the tension is that most UI developers consider themselves (rightfully so) to be UI designers. The coding part is like Picasso having to understand how to mix paint; it's not the value-add, just the mechanics of delivering the creative concepts.

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>User Experience>User Interface


What Makes Experts Expert

how should we interview SMEs and then what is our role to our readers as surrogate SMEs?

Hughes, Michael A. Humane Experience, The (2010). Articles>Collaboration>Interviewing>SMEs

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