[thelist] RE: Test Instructions with Users

Joel D Canfield joel at spinhead.com
Fri Dec 10 17:31:52 CST 2004

> How many of you actually test your instructions,
> directions, explanations, how to tutorials, help
> desks, with actual, uncoached, representative users?

I do.

I only write procedures inhouse, but I have them *all* tested by the
least technical folks I can find, and I make absolutely certain they
hear the delight in my voice when they find something wrong. I get
quality feedback, because I make it clear to my users that *their
experience* is what drives how these tools are built. On the occasions
when I have this kind of conversation with a non-technical client, I try
to build the same feedback loop kind of relationship.

It might seem like a little thing to us geeky types to tell the user to
click 'OK' when the button really says 'Submit' ("sheesh; it does the
same thing!") but when users are following a step-by-step, it darn well
better be *perfect*

Like someone said, give me a stopwatch and an accurate map, and I'll fly
the alps in a plane with no windows. I like my procedures and
instructions to be that perfect. At least, that's my goal ;)


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