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ERIC Number: ED261386
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985
Pages: 5
Abstractor: N/A
The Usability Edit: A New Level.
Soderston, Candace
Technical Communication, v32 n1 p16-18 1985
To assess the context in which information is presented to readers and to know what demands information being presented makes of an audience, IBM designed three procedures to help gather such material. First, customer sites are visited to interview representatives from the intended audience and see the environments in which the information will be used. Second, task analyses for new products and functions are performed before a single word is written. Third, interim drafts of manuals are tested on subjects who are similar to the target audience. This last procedure should incorporate a usability edit, not at the end of the writing effort but throughout the writing cycle. In usability edits and tests in the IBM Human Factors Laboratory, volunteer subjects are presented with a task, the written material, and the system. Subjects are left alone but are watched from behind a one-way glass as they verbalize their way through the process. Results have shown that subjects experienced gaps and ambiguities even though the written material had gone through numerous technical reviews. Readability, then, is not only an attribute of the text but also a function of the interaction between reader and text. Usability edits may eliminate confusion and ambiguity in texts. (DF)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A