- From: Pat Costello <Patrick Costello ireland sun com>
- To: rjp mail tele dk
- Cc: gnome-doc-list gnome org
- Subject: usability...
- Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 07:09:13 +0000 (GMT)
Thanks for your interest in testing Gnome documentation. The checks that you
refer to in your mail are more in the way of understandability and completeness
verification checks than a usability test. A typical usability test would
consist of, for example, a tester setting a user a number of defined tasks. The
tester then observes what actions the user takes in trying to fulfill the tasks,
and what obstacles the user comes up against. The observer can then make
recommendations about how specific tasks are described and any improvements we
can make in how we present information about those tasks. Another typical
usability test would be a navigation test, for example you ask a user to find
specific items of information in a manual, and measure how long the user takes
to find the items. You also ask the user to rate how easy or difficult it was to
find the information. This can help us to improve indexing, or suggest other
ways of flagging information. Ideally all these tests should be run on several
users, and a report published so that the findings can be used in future
revisions of that piece of documentation.
Having said all that, formal understandability and completeness verification
checks are excellent, indeed invaluable, exercises and we should try to include
these activities. It's just that I would like to differentiate these checks from
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> To: Dan Mueth <dan eazel com>, gnome-doc-list gnome org
> Subject: Re: Documentation development processes.
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> *bex raises her hand to volunteer to edit...
> I am still seeking employment, so my available time might decrease.
> (hint, hint to anyone hiring doc people) But I want to proofread/edit as
> many docs as I can get my hands on as soon as I can.
> I've been reading the discussion, and as for the usability review... I
> always do that to some extent when I am proofing a document. I make
> sure it is understandable to a user who isn't a computer genius (ie
> ME). I frequently check the document by comparing it with the program
> itself to make sure I can figure out what I'm doing. I would think that
> other editors could undertake a similar process, thereby killing two
> birds with one stone.
> just a thought..
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