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Usability Email List

About the list Rules of conduct

The STC UUX SIG hosts an email list for discussion of usability, user experience, and technical communication.

What is the Usability email list (

The Usability SIG email list web service allows SIG members to join a discussion group. Messages posted to the group are sent to your email address. You can reply to a message, or start a new topic of your own.

What is the purpose of the Usability email list?

The purpose of the stcusesig_l email list is to provide a forum for technical communicators who:

  • Have an interest in usability
  • Are moving into the usability field from another job
  • Want to learn some tips and tricks
  • Want advice from people working in the field

Who can participate in the Usability email list?

The Usability SIG email list is for the use of STC members and others who are interested in usability topics.

Who do I contact to discuss problems or questions about  the email list?

Contact the SIG manager David Dick for questions or comments about the Usability email list.

What topics are appropriate for the Usability email List?

Any topic related to usability, user interface design, usability testing and evaluation, or human factors issues is in-scope for the Usability email list. Visual and information design are also appropriate topics. Some example topics are

  • Usability testing
  • Consistency in user interfaces
  • Icon design
  • Web usability
  • Layout and design of windows and dialogs
  • Task analysis
  • User profiling
  • How to conduct customer visits

How do I subscribe?

You can subscribe to and unsubscribe from the list by submitting your details on the Usability SIG Mailman page.

Rules of conduct for the list

What are the general rules for email netiquette?

A goal of the email list is to provide a supportive environment for people interested in learning about usability and sharing information that could help others.

  • Don't forward messages without getting the originator’s permission.

  • Don’t FLAME other users. Think before you write. Your message will convey your persona. You can argue, be critical, and express strong opinions, but do not embarrass, harass, or get into verbal wars. If a message upsets you, take a few minutes to calm down and then write a measured, clear response.

  • Use message headers (subject lines) that are brief and clear.

  • Provide some context for your replies. It is very helpful to extract a small portion of a message and use it in your reply to set the context for readers.

  • Avoid using ALL CAPS in message. Use of capitalization is OK for emphasis.

  • Be professional and careful what you say about other people in the list.

  • Be careful about the use of sarcasm and humor.

  • Give credit to all quotes, references, and sources. Let people know what is your opinion and what is fact, research, or opinion of others.

What will get me removed from the email list?

There are several things that will get a person removed from the email list: insulting behavior, blatant adverting for personal or corporate services, personal attacks, any form of harassment to members, disregard of members' privacy, or any illegal acts (for example, copyright violations or libel), or violation of any STC policy.

Can I advertise usability services for my company?

No. The list is not for advertising commercial services. You cannot post messages that advertise consulting or training. Since this list is sponsored by the STC, a non-profit organization, we must avoid marketing and advertising messages. If you have any questions about what is appropriate, please send email to David Dick ( Posting notices about commercial services is a serious violation of STC UUX policies.

Can I post messages about non-profit courses, non-profit seminars or conference tutorials and workshops?

Yes, you can post messages about non-profit and conference events. The messages should be short. List the location, date and time of the event either in the subject line or at the top of the message.

Can I submit job opportunities and course or seminar announcements?

Yes, messages regarding jobs related to usability are welcome and encouraged. Some job messages ask for resumes. Make sure that you don't try to send a resume with the REPLY ALL button on your email system or everyone on the Usability and User Experience email list will see your resume.

How long can my messages to the Usability SIG email list be?

Generally messages should be between 1 and 3 screens long. If you have a long message (3 to 8 screens or so), please alert the reader, for example, by putting "(LONG)" at the end of the subject line. If you have something REALLY long like a chapter that you want people to review, put a short excerpt of your document in your mail message and invite those who are interested to send you private email requesting the document.

Can I send an attachment to the list?

Attachments are not permitted on the Usability SIG email list. If you have something interesting, you can post a URL to the document or ask people to request it from you individually.

Can I use information from the Usability SIG email list in other forums (for example, in UTEST, in a corporate style guide, in a book)?

This question gets complex since it involves copyright and fair use issues. The safest guideline here is to always ask permission from the creator of a message if you want to use any message content for other purposes (for example, a book chapter, or seminar). Direct quotes should always receive proper attribution and keep in mind that the submitter of the message retains copyright. If someone submits a paper for review, for example, it would be a copyright violation to make copies of that paper for others at your company. Also, we want to protect the privacy of people in the SIG and make it a safe place to get review feedback on ideas, drafts of papers, or course notes.

Are there any problems submitting my messages through my corporate email?

If you are sending from your corporate email you should consider the following issues:

1. Are you representing your company when you submit messages?

2. Do you have the authority to represent your firm through these messages?

3. Can you use your company or organization's logo or name on your messages?

4. Would your comments affect any of your company's relationships with another company (for example, if you mention a product that your company is about to buy would that cause any problems)?

Some list participants put a disclaimer at the bottom of their mail messages saying that the comments in the message do not represent the official policy of their company.

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