Document Design and Production



Critical thinking paper #4

Critical thinking paper overview

"When you think your work is complete, ask at least one member of your target audience to look at it and tell you what message is initially conveyed. Find out if he or she has reviewed it in the way you had expected, and if any elements were inappropriate—perhaps too jarring, too large, too small, or difficult to read."

I like this advice (from the end of Page Design: Directing the reader's eye), but how would you go about actually doing it? It's one of those pieces of advice that sound very easy, but can fail miserably when you try to actually do it. In a usability course, on one homework, a student designed a page that was supposed to be tested with users. Instead, he said "I showed it to some people at work and they all agreed it looked more usable." Does that input tell us much about the quality of the overall design or its ability to communicate information?

Some specifics to consider:

How do you handle the issues of getting and intepreting feedback from your target audience?

A couple of points

Do not described how to do a usability test in general terms, from start to finish. Likewise, do not explain why it is important to do a usabilty test. The issues that surround formal usability testing, which is what I've seen in past answers, are not were this question is trying to get you to focus.

"Iissues of getting feedback from your target audience" is a different question than "how do you conduct a usability test." The real idea here is work at a very focused level and think about how to interpret the results.


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