This paper is a usability report in a memo format. Its is the first assignment I told you about. The second assignment consists of two different parts: Revised Instructions and Analysis of Your Composing Process. I’m going to make another order for the second assignment and I will send it on your way. Like I mentioned above this assignment is a usability report. In order to complete this usability report you would have to follow the following steps:
1. You would have to first compose your instructions,
2. Conduct the usability test
3. Finally, write the report.
Remember that the instructions you are going to compose for this first assignment is going to be a draft and you will not turn it in to me. You will just need it so that you will be able to conduct the usability test and finally write the usability report that you are going to turn in to me for this assignment. You will turn in the final instructions containing all the changes needed for the second assignment not this one.
1. Directions to follow for composing instructions:
The final instructions that you are going to turn in to me for the second assignment is approximately 3 pages in single space. Therefore, your instructions draft that your are going to need in order to write this usability report have to be 3 pages in single space as well.
Remember that instructions typically include introductory material like a description, materials needed,etc., so the “approximately 3 pages” includes more than just the numbered steps. However, this document is standalone and doesn’t include analysis of the instructions as a user would have no such need for an analysis.
You would have to compose a detailed set of instructions in which you explain to an audience how to complete a task. Use these guidelines to do so:
- Identify a complex task that involves multiple steps and require notes and/or warnings. You need to find more more challenging topics than tying a tie or making a sandwich, for example.
- Once you have decided upon a task, avoid looking up instructions for this same task. Having seen examples, you might find your composing process stymied by what you have already seen done.
- Determine the audience in terms of its knowledge, background, and need for the instructions.
- Make your instructions as clear, readable and/or understandable as possible.
- Make sure you organize your instructions and format them using the step-by-step approach and that you use numbered lists for step-by-step discussion.
- In an introduction to the instructions, make sure you identify or define the procedure that you are going to present; indicate the audience and any special audience requirements; and list the main tasks or phases you’re going to discuss.
- Define any potentially unfamiliar terms you use in your instructions. (Remember that “familiarity” is dependent upon audience.)
- Describe any objects that are essential to your instructions.
- Make sure you use choose a useful format for headings and lists. (If you choose to do a video, you will still find it useful to use something like an aural-equivalent of a heading. Or you may find it useful to have a heading in the form of text appear in the video.)
- Use graphics of your own making, even if they are not as professional looking as you may like.
- Use the standards of effective process, style, design, etc.
WARNING!!! Your task must be sufficiently complex so as to demonstrate your ability to compose a sophisticated set of instructions. No peanut butter and jelly sandwich instructions, for example. In order for a someone to read a set of instructions, they actually have to have a need to use the instructions. Don’t choose an activity for your instructions that is so taken-for-granted and naturalized, that a user wouldn’t have a purpose for them (i.e., they wouldn’t need the instructions).
2. Conduct the usability test
After you’re done with instructions now you would be able to conduct the usability test. In order to generate a plan of revision for your set of instructions, you will choose 2 people to usability test your instructions. The people you chose to conduct the usability test should have the same degree of knowledge that your intended audience for the instructions would have.
You will conduct 2 usability testings at different times and with only 1 user-tester in attendance. Following the protocols for talk/think-aloud protocol, you will do the following:
- Obtain permission from the user to record the testing.
- Explain to the user the directions for usability testing using talk/think-aloud protocol. Be sure to make the directions useful for the testers. They likely do not need to know that you are asking them to use the talk/think-aloud protocol, but they do need to know that they need to think aloud their experience using the instructions. (You will need to watch the short videos in the next section, “How to Conduct a Usability Test.”) It is extremely important that you watch the videos because one of the objectives of the assignment is to conduct usability testing properly using talk/think-aloud protocol.
- Start recording the user test and take notes on what you observe. Be sure not to interact with the user as the user tests the instructions. The exception is if the user is having a problem with the instructions and cannot continue the test. At that point, you might provide additional information in order to allow the user to continue.
- Once the test has concluded, ask the user questions that will help you determine a plan for revision. Such questions might include: what did you find useful about the instructions, what did you find confusing, and what changes would you make to the instructions. You might also refer to your notes to ask more specific questions about what the user said at a particular moment or questions about specific times when the user appeared confused or did something that the instructions did not ask them to do.
- Repeat steps 1-4 with the second user.
- Review the data you collected from the user testings (e.g., the recordings and your notes)
- Generate a plan for your revisions and communicate that plan in a report written in memo format.
HOW TO CONDUCT A USABILITY TEST
You will find the following videos about talk/think-aloud protocol useful, as this is the method you will be using to conduct your usability test of the instructions you have composed:
- Think Aloud Protocol and Minimum Questions by Chris Nodder
- The Observer’s Role: Active Observation by Chris Nodder (You won’t have a team of observers to help you for the usability test, but the concept of active observation will be useful to you as you prepare for the usability tests.
- An example of talk aloud protocol by Paul Annett
3. Write the report.
Finally, after you’re done composing instructions and conducted the usability report you can start writing the report in a memo format. The report is the only thing that you are going to turn in to me for this assignment but like I mentioned above you would have to complete the steps before that I discussed above which are composing draft instructions and conducting the usability test because you can’t write the usability report without completing those tasks first. The instructions that you composed, you will turn in to me for the second assignment that I’m going to make a separate order for because the second assignment is going to be the instructions you’ve revised according to the plan for revision that you detailed in your usability report.
Very Important Notes :
As, you compose your memo, do not simply list the revisions. You instead want to discuss specific issues that arose in the user testing and what you will do to address those issues in the revision. Speak to why and how, as well as to what in explaining your plan for revision.
Also, don’t include your instructions in the usability report like I mentioned above. The purpose of the paper is to report on how the user testing of your instructions went and to offer your plan for revision. So Please don’t forget to add at least 2 screen shots of your instructions that were tested, (for instance, to show where a tester became confused) it is important don’t forget that , but you do not include them as a whole in the report.
On top of that the report has to be in a memo format, the assignment is for a technical communication course, so please pay attention to the format because it really matters. I’m going to provide you an example of a basic memo format showing how our professor wants it, so please check it out. Organization, readability, and clarity are a big part of the assignment so please pay attention to them. Please click on the comment signs that you’re going to see on the example that I’m going to upload because those are additional information our professor added. Finally, please don’t write the paper like it is an academic paper, don’t be afraid to demonstrate agency, you don’t have to avoid using “I”.