This article was originally published in the April 2011 issue (Vol 16, No. 1)
About the Author
Arun Martin is a member of the India Chapter. Arun is working as a Technical Writer for VMware, Bangalore..
Report on the STC India User Research and Usability SIG
By Arun Martin, India Chapter
The STC India User Research and Usability SIG continues to grow in membership and attract a growing interest by local technology companies.
On August 28, 2010 we held three information sessions at the Misys Software Solutions (India) Private Limited in Bangalore.
HCI Research Method
In this presentation, Dr. Tripathi discussed the fundamentals of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) research, research approaches and methods, and closed with a discussion on the limitations in application.
Dr. Tripathi explained that in HCI research, researchers conduct a systematic study of users in relevant tasks by constructing relevant prototypes and evaluating the prototypes with users. Such research will change in the future, as computing moves to the background, thus merging into our everyday living spaces. Interfaces will have the capacity to understand and emulate human communicative intentions. He also talked about the strengths and weakness of HCI methods, and the use of HCI research methods such as case studies, field studies, action research, laboratory experiments, survey research, applied research, basic research, and normative writings.
An example of strengths and weakness of HCI methods are natural and environment independent settings:
About the Speaker
Dr. Sanjay Tripathi holds a PhD in HCI, and a Masters in technology and management from Flensburg University, Germany. Dr. Tripathi is a member of the India HCI community and Conference General Chair of India HCI 2011. Currently, Dr. Tripathi works as a scientist at the ABB Corporate Research in Bangalore.
Usability Heuristics for Documentation
Neha explained about what defines content and why it is tough to maintain it. Arunima stated that to make content accessible to users, organizations should define a content strategy. Arunima explained that a well-defined content strategy makes content usable, findable, accessible, and readable. They focused on the content strategist's role in the user experience lifecycle: research, requirements, ideation, design, and validation. With market opportunities opening for content strategists, career options exist for technical writers, professional editors, etc.
About the Speakers
Anupama Gummaraju discussed the usability principles for documentation. She said that peer-to-peer or technical reviews do not check usability issues. She compared a nd contrasted Vesa Purho's heuristics and documentation and STC Associate Fellow Donn DeBoard's heuristics and questionnaires. Writers can evaluate their content using heuristics through questionnaires, checklists, group reviews, and rating scales. To perform heuristic evaluations, identify the section to be evaluated, and brief the evaluators on the product context, usage, users, key tasks, and goals.
Note: Vesa Purho's article on heuristic inspection for documentation appeared in
the April 2000 issue of Usability Interface
About the Speaker
Anupama Gummaraju has worked in the area of technical writing and user experience for 11 years, at Infosys Technologies Ltd. She has worked on projects that incorporate usability and design in technical writing.
Web Analytics in Technical Documentation
Jigesh TV spoke about the use of web analytics in technical documentation. Documentation can be used as an online-lead generation tool by placing a value on each visit. For example, when a user visits the Help pages, it equals one support call avoided, which is an indication of the monetary value of documentation. He shared information about the free tools available in the market such as Google Analytics, Yahoo! Web Analytics, Webalizer, and AWStats.
About the Speaker
Jigesh TV holds an engineering degree in Industrial Management and a post-graduate diploma in Instructional Designing. Currently, Jigesh works as a technical writer with Cisco in Bangalore. He is part of the voice technology group working on the VoIP end-points and API documentation. Jigesh has been in the field of technical writing for about six years.
|All articles are property of the author or publication providing reprint permission. Reprinting this content in part or in whole requires permission from the source.|