A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

STC Usability SIG

13 found.

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1.
#11798

Accommodating Color Blindness

An estimated nine to twelve percent of the male population suffers from some form of color vision deficiency, commonly called 'color blindness.' It is important for computer interface designers to take into account and eliminate, if possible, any potential confusions that can arise because of color vision deficiencies. There are two major types of color blindness. The most prevalent causes are confusion between red and green. This type affects approximately eight to ten percent of the male population. In another type, an additional one to two Percent of men suffer from a deficiency in perceiving blue/yellow differences. Less than one percent of women suffer from any form of color blindness. To understand color blindness better, it is helpful to be familiar with the ways in which colors differ from each other. One standard way to discuss color is to divide it into hue, saturation and brightness (HSB).

Hoffman, Paul. STC Usability SIG (1999). Design>Accessibility>Human Computer Interaction>Color

2.
#35082

Adopting Documentation Usability Techniques to Alleviate Cognitive Friction

Usability is the combination of effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which the users accomplish defined goals in a given environment. User-centered documentation matches the users' mental model, thereby helping the users find information they want quickly and easily in their hour of need. The list of documentation usability criteria is fairly subjective at this time, and various opinionated discussion groups have contributed to this. Usable documentation is based on a deep understanding of the users' tasks, and this understanding can only be gained through interviewing representative users. Applying information architecture techniques, the content within documentation should be properly chunked so that the users can assimilate the information properly. Procedural guides should have a well-defined and searchable index that enables users to connect key application terms to their correct context. User-friendly documentation is always succinct, but never at the expense of omitting critical/useful information. It should be developed using a structured process so that it starts with the big picture and gradually adds lower level of details, addressing the needs of every unique group of users. Finally, the documentation must be tested among a representative group of users, and their feedback should be incorporated to make sure that it has met all of the major usability criteria.

Biswas, Debarshi Gupta and Suranjana Dasgupta. STC Usability SIG (2009). Articles>Usability>User Experience>Documentation

3.
#11802

Getting Involved in Product Usability as a Technical Communicator

Recently I transitioned into the role of user interface designer after working several years as a technical communicator in the software industry. Like many Technical Writers, I felt some frustration at being downstream in the development process and having to deal with some product usability issues while I wrote user documentation. As result, I became interested in getting involved upstream in the development process. A Technical Writer's role on the product team is as the communication liaison between the software domain and the user's world. Thus, a Technical Writer takes a broad view of the product and how it fits the user's world. This user perspective is critical to communicating effectively with the user. Not surprisingly this user advocate role also describes the view of the user interface designer.

Molloy, Karen. STC Usability SIG (2000). Articles>Usability

4.
#11918

Methods for Successful 'Thinking Out Loud' Procedure

When you are screening the participants for a study, notice how they respond to your questions. Decide on a strategy for engaging the participant before they arrive for the usability study. Be careful of the social dynamics you set up with the participant.

Ramey, Judith A. STC Usability SIG (1998). Resources>Usability>Testing>Methods

5.
#23363

Pithy Design Quotes

A collection of pithy quotations related to usability, communication and design. They were collected by colleagues on a usability discussion list and are loosely grouped by topics.

STC Usability SIG. Design>Usability>Communication

6.
#11795

Usability Interface From the SIG Manager's Desk

Accessibility is often the last challenge taken up in designing the user interface. A color scheme is created and shown to the team for review. 'But what about people who are color blind?, ' someone will ask and a small groan goes around the table. Or the screen layout template for a web site is almost complete before anyone considers how it will work with a screen reader. The problem, of course, is that people with disabilities are not usually considered during the process of user segmentation. Their needs, which fall outside of the matrix, become an afterthought to the design.

Quesenbery, Whitney. STC Usability SIG (1999). Design>Usability>Management

7.
#11797

Usability Interface: Convincing the Skeptics

People familiar with product development understand the dedication needed for any usability effort to be successful. However, people unfamiliar with usability think that it’s cosmetic and can be combined with other phases of development when time is available. How do you convince the skeptics?

Dick, David J. STC Usability SIG (1999). Articles>Usability>Methods

8.
#11783

Usability Techniques: Analyzing and Reporting Usability Data

There is an ongoing discussion in usability circles about the importance of formal reports that document the results of usability testing. I think that each usability evaluation should have a formal report that provides some context for the problems. Not all problems can be addressed immediately and memories fade. Usability reports are also important for showing what a usability specialist has done. They can also be used to determine some metrics, such as the number of problems addressed by development or the number of problems that occurred during successive prototypes or versions of a product.

Wilson, Chauncey E. STC Usability SIG (1997). Articles>Usability>Testing>Methods

9.
#19182

User-Centered Design and Web Development

User Centered-Design (UCD) is a philosophy and a process. It is a philosophy that places the person (as opposed to the 'thing') at the center; it is a process that focuses on cognitive factors (such as perception, memory, learning, problem-solving, etc.) as they come into play during peoples' interactions with things. UCD seeks to answer questions about users and their tasks and goals, then use the findings to drive development and design.

Katz-Haas, Raissa. STC Usability SIG (1998). Design>User Centered Design>Web Design

10.
#32993

User-Centered Design and Web Development

User Centered-Design (UCD) is a philosophy and a process. It is a philosophy that places the person (as opposed to the 'thing') at the center; it is a process that focuses on cognitive factors (such as perception, memory, learning, problem-solving, etc.) as they come into play during peoples' interactions with things. UCD seeks to answer questions about users and their tasks and goals, then use the findings to drive development and design.

Katz-Haas, Raissa. STC Usability SIG (1998). Articles>Web Design>User Centered Design

11.
#11799

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

It might be easy to dismiss the WAI as another mouthful of acronyms for yet another Web standard but that would be a mistake. Their goal is to, '…make Web content more available to all users, whatever user agent they are using (e.g., desktop browser, voice browser, mobile phone, automobile-based personal computer, etc.) or constraints they may be operating under (e.g., noisy surroundings, under- or over-illuminated rooms, in a hands-free environment, etc.).' To meet this goal, the WAI identifies two primary principles for accessible design, which are totally in keeping with the basic principles of usability: 'Ensure graceful transformation' and 'Make content understandable and navigable.' There are fourteen guidelines that help authors understand and implement these principles. Each includes a description and rationale, along with links to other resources and a set of checkpoints. A related document shows detailed techniques for implementing accessible web pages. Even if you are not primarily concerned wi

Quesenbery, Whitney. STC Usability SIG (1999). Design>Accessibility

12.
#11801

Why Technical Communicators and Usability?

Why technical communicators and usability? Both writers and software development managers have asked me that question. In both cases, it springs from a narrow view of communicators as 'just writers.' It is a point of view that fails to see the many activities, from learning the subject matter to organizing the information or creating good document design, that are hidden behind that final task of writing the words.

Quesenbery, Whitney. STC Usability SIG (2000). Articles>TC>Document Design>Usability

13.
#11800

Working Together: People with Disabilities and Computer

People with disabilities meet barriers of all types. However, computers are helping to lower many of these barriers. As word processors have replaced typewriters, electronic spreadsheets have replaced handwritten books, and on-line services have supplemented telephone and written communication, disabled students and employees who have computer access have become capable of handling a wider range of activities independently. Although people with disabilities face a variety of barriers to providing computer input, interpreting output, and reading documentation, adaptive hardware and software have been developed to provide functional alternatives to standard operations.

Burgstahler, Sheryl. STC Usability SIG (1999). Design>Accessibility

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