Technical Writing




Need a lot more on how to write up the report. Don't have a report body of user #1 said....user #2 said.....


Week 1

Grayling .If we build it, will they come?

Jones. Lessons Learned from Discount Usability Engineering

Improving the usability of patient information leaflets

Incorporating Usability Testing into the Documentation Process

Week 2

No readings. Do the user test.


Create and execute a usability test


Answer these questions and email me your answers.
The answers must be in your own words and not a cut&paste from another source.

1. Many managers and engineers want statiscal analysis to accompany a usability test. Why is this rarely a good idea?

2. Define a formative and a summative usability test.

3. A manager said that you can test 10 people and that would be enough. How many people should you test? Is 10 too many or not enough? Explain your answer.

4. Define iterative testing. Why use it?

5. When do you perform the usability tests?

6. Marketing refuses to let you have access to any customers to test, but they offer to be subjects and your manager also says that you can use some of the development team working an another project (they know basically nothing about your project). Is this going to give you valid results? Explain why or why not.

Discussion questions


How do you handle writing a usability report with sigificant negative issues? Especailly if the people responsible for the negative points will be in the room for the oral presentation.

A couple of questions

1. In what order to people privilege information (the the first, middle, or last information used as the baseline for comparing other information?) In this case, would the information presented first (good or bad) be used to compare the goodness/badness of the second?

2. How does information salience effect interpreting information?

The answers are very relevant for how people will make decisions using the information. Falling back on any prior training about "how to present negative information" is much too simplistic.


In this scenario, you are reporting the results of usability test. So things in the product have to change, which means money & time.

Your report is not the final thing. You give the report at the meeting and then decisions are made based on it. There is a mental disconnect brought on by academic writing where "it's done and turned in.....it'll all over" versus the corporate world where people are going to read and act on what you wrote. You give the report and then a discussion of potential actions occur.

You need to be providing what has to change and why. Burying that or putting it someplace where it can be easily ignored has ethical writing considerations.


In the article on patient information, there is a quote "Instead of asking simple reproduction of text information (e.g. ‘‘please mention two side effects from this leaflet’’), our questions required the participants to apply information in the leaflet to real life situations."

These two different question types (simple information look up versus applying/using the information) can substantially influence the results of a usability study. When are each of them appropriate? What are the problems of using the wrong one? How are the results between the two going to differ? How will your choice affect your analysis and reporting of the results?






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