Archive for the ‘User Experience’ Category

Top 50 Blogs and Feeds for Technical Communicators

February 15, 2011

Both my career and personal life is undergoing many dramatic changes. So I was not able to update anything over here after Jan 14th. On a pleasant surprise, I got an email from indoition.com stating that my blog too listed in the elite list. I am giving the URL so that  it will be easy to catchup other useful technical communication blogs. *ahem my blog  comes as forth from the top (of course there is no particular numbered list, number matters you know 🙂 )

Here we go:

Top 50 blogs and feeds

User Assistance

October 4, 2010

One fine day I logged on to my payroll information site to check some information. I have to select a Date using a Calendar function. For example if I wanted to select 28th October 2010, I need to click several times to get the corresponding month and the date as 28th displayed on the screen.

Here is the catch. I am using Internet Explorer 7.0 version. That website has some script error resulting Calendar function didn’t pop-up. So I was clueless how to enter or select the date. Without selecting the date, I can’t process my request.

I called my colleague to get some idea on that. Yes, my assumption is correct; he too came across the same error. And the solution that he gave was too funny. “Close the session and log-on after an hour”.  🙂

Why can’t I directly type-in the date that I wish to..?

Enter Date:  __________  (in DD/mm/yy format for ex: 31/03/10)

See the above example; I have a User Assistance on the screen itself. Do I need a calendar function here..? I don’t think so.

Note: By the way after an hour, I was able to enter the date and processed my request.  🙂

Customer Experience Management (CEM)

July 29, 2010

 Scenario:

U.S.airways came across a unique problem. Though many of their customers logged in their site, checked for flights, fare etc didn’t proceed to book their tickets. In short, there is a huge dip in U.S.airways business. Web Metrics results were quite interesting.

Many of their customers entered the flight numbers wrongly, so the site was unable to process their request. Annoyed customers changed their mind and as a result no business for U.S.airways.

When they corrected this error (?), (maybe an auto-popup flight number field instead of a text box), U.S.airways found almost 100 percent rise in their business.

So unless you don’t know how your clients use your website, you can’t say that whatever you have developed is user-friendly. The feature which sounds simple for you may be annoying for the clients.

This is referred as Customer Experience Management (CEM). There are many vendors deploy CEM for their clients (of course not in free of cost).

I am planning to explore the web metrics and post few more in this space.

How to add your Prezi in your WordPress blog

July 27, 2010

I created a sample Prezi (wait, final touches are going on) and I just explored the prezi site for finding a way to add my sample prezi in my space. WordPress usually don’t encourage third party components, java scripts (like web counter). They believe in self help is the best help. 🙂

When I went through the prezi community forum, I got the solution which I wanted to share here.

  1. Visit this site: http://vodpod.com/wordpress/ . You will see a “Post to WordPress” button on the left side.
  2. Right click on that button and add it into your browser Favorites (just in case for re-usability).
  3. Now from the Favorites, open that script (yes, it is a script). A pop-up window will open.
  4. Paste the Embed code in the Video Preview column that you copied from your Prezi  earlier.
  5. Fill-in your wordpress blog address, User name and password in their respective fields.
  6. If you wish, fill-in the Post details.
  7. Click the Send to Blog editor link. This will take you to your wordpress blog editor mode.
  8. Do the necessary edits and publish the post.
  9. You should see the Prezi created in your wordpress blog.

Present yourself with the Prezi

July 20, 2010

Are you

  • bored with static (with limited animated) Presentations..?
  • looking for some innovative techniques to present in a better way..?
  • interested in keeping your audience awake rather than snoozing during your presentation..?

If your answer is YES, then I would strongly recommend you to create an account for yourself with www.prezi.com

1)  Sign up with www.prezi.com and go through few basic lessons on how to create a prezi.

2)  Give a try by creating your own prezi (of course, with a lot of trial and errors).

3) If you really liked it and most importantly if you have a budget, go ahead with a licensed one. No, no, I am not paid by the Prezi to endorse their product.  🙂

Check out this video for knowing the Prezi in a nutshell. 

Note: Very soon, I will create one Prezi and upload in this space.

Writing Plain English

June 30, 2010

Last two months were hectic as I was running on my toes for our product release – updating the help system, reviewing, testing the product, re-checking the bug fixes… So I was temporarily not been able to update this page (though this site has very limited readership).

OK, coming to the point, recently I came across a website www.plainenglish.co.uk . These people conduct courses on writing plain English. First it sounded a bit funny. But when I read through a PDF from their site, I understood the importance of plain English in day-today life.

Let me give an example: Have you ever read and understood any Insurance, Bank policies or disclaimers especially Subject to Market risk paragraph..?  Those paragraphs will be in such a way that even if you read thousand times, you won’t be able to get the point.

Click here to read some general guides uploaded in their site. It has some special guides on grammar notes, financial glossaries, reports, Forms, websites etc… Worth reading.

Disclaimer: I announce that I was not paid(I wish) to endorse this website and it is purely on my intention to share and spread this useful information.  🙂

Dr.Explain

April 6, 2010

Sound knowledge in Help authoring tools is always on demand among technical writing industry. Dr.Explain is a Help authoring tool in the market. On March 30 2010, Dr.Explain team has released a version with new enhanced features.

Good news is that Dr.Explain team provides free copies to Technical authors, Site owners who are interested in writing a review on their product. Anything free is always welcome among people (esp for me) 🙂

Just now I received my license key. I am very eager to install Dr.Explain in my laptop and test my hands with this tool. Very soon I will update this post with my User Experience review on Dr.Explain.

Thanks to Tom Johnson to share this info in his space.

Correlating the things

February 16, 2010

I am sorry for not updating this space for quite some time. I was really busy with little personal stuffs, frequent weekend travels, blah blahs. I really ask sorry to those thousands of this blog readers (just kidding).

I really cherish those moments when I watch television ads with my son (18 months old), who likes ads than cartoons. I really surprise on his skills the way he correlates real things with those comes on television. One fine day, I showed a bottle of Dettol hand washer kept near the wash basin when the same product ad appeared on the virtual screen. After a day, same ad came on the screen (of course they sponsor a lot of programs in different channels). He quickly pulled my hands and showed the same bottle kept aside. I was on a pleasant  surprise. He is able to recognize that product colour, shape and that ad sound of course.

Now as a Technical Writer, I am correlating this incident (anecdote) with the user experience. Rather than writing hundred pages user manual, it’s really a good idea to present them with video tutorials, and captivate demos to explore a particular feature of a product. The User will grasp the new things easily by these kinds of visuals than reading hundreds of pages. Of course, it’s human brain’s tendency to correlate things visually than reading or learning by themselves.


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