Compelling documentation: a way to improve the user experience?

Laure Bach-Barast – Laetitia Bossu – Justine Gaucherand- Sarah Lasaracina
Paris Diderot University, 2017, July 31


Most people do not read user guides on their own initiative. When they do, it is often because they have no choice, or when they encounter a problem and need a solution. According to the general public composed of a representative sample of 105 people surveyed for our research purpose, guides are deemed plain, unattractive and people usually feel compelled to read them. Indeed, reading user manuals require a certain effort that people are not always ready or willing to make. Hence, they already have a somewhat biased view of the guide even before opening it. Thus, it might be interesting to wonder if a compelling documentation can improve user experience. User Experience implies not only the use of the product, but also the quality of documentation, if it answers questions and solves potential problems in the best, quickest, and most fluent way. User Experience is a cause-and-effect relationship between documentation and the product: the better the information, the better the use will be. However, is it possible to make documentation more compelling in the first place? How can technical writers alleviate the global reluctance to user guides? This paper provides possible solutions in order to make user manuals more compelling to users.

Read the full article (PDF): Compelling documentation: a way to improve the user experience?

Should companies combine marketing and technical content to adapt to the shift in UX expectations?

Saran Kante, Clémence Bolinga, Dina Radaoarisoa
July 2017


Companies put customers’ needs at the center of their strategy to build a relation of trust and increase customer’s loyalty to their products. In their effort, companies become more and more prone to offer customers a linear experience from the moment they are attracted by the perspective of buying a product or service (marketing) up to after their buying act when they start using the product or service (technical communication). The quality of both marketing and technical content is crucial.
We wanted to have an insight of what experts of technical communication and marketing think of a possibility for these two services to collaborate. In order to get this information
we interviewed professionals from these two fields, we attended conferences and seminars on the subject of combining technical content with marketing content to unify customer experience.
Companies undertaking such a change should thoroughly study the transition process, the product and the profit.
One of the challenges a company would face is how to make two services that are used to working separately pool their skills to achieve a common goal which is to provide their users a high quality service. The credibility customers grant to a company depends on it.
Because the two services use their own terminology to achieve their respective goals, they would need to reach an agreement on the terms they are both going to use to produce their content.

Read the full article (PDF): Should companies combine marketing and technical content to adapt to the shift in UX expectations?

Digitalization in professional learning and education

Jennifer Frederic, Blandine Paulet, Manon Di Vozzo, Austeja Varvuolyte

Paris Diderot University, July 2016


Nowadays, new technologies play a fundamental role in industrialized  societies and have become essential in everyday life. They also have a growing impact  on education and training, insofar as they have revolutionized the way people learn. However, some areas of knowledge seem to be incompatible with this new learning path. Therefore, we asked ourselves if every area of knowledge is suited for digital broadcast, and whether or not traditional education can be replaced with digital teaching methods. This article questions the influence of technology on education and comments on how electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets and computers can help the learning process. Our findings confirm that new technologies have an increasing impact on education and training strategies both in the professional and educational field: e-learning represents a significant share of training solutions in large companies, and digital trainings help increase productivity as they are more accessible and contribute to saving time.

However, the efficiency of IT is limited in practical fields in which virtual training is impossible, as they require manual practice or application in everyday life.

Read the full article (PDF): Digitalization in professional learning and education

Adapting Personal Learning Environments to the Workplace?


Paris Diderot University, July 2016


Personal Learning Environments (PLEs) have emerged in the higher educational field with the development of web 2.0 applications and tools. Their main features allow them to be particularly user-centric. They also rely on customization and collaborative  learning. As they cater to the learner needs – lifelong and ubiquitous access, PLEs stand at the border of formal and informal education spheres. They nevertheless raise technological and privacy issues that make them somewhat difficult to implement in the workplace. Moreover, business factors and corporate stakes are to be considered when trying to foster community-learning activities within a standardized and controlled environment such as that of the existing Learning Management System (LMS). However, some experiments have been conducted at companies level, leading to promising results for the future.

Read the full article (PDF): Adapting Personal Learning Environments to the Workplace?

Gamification in e-learning: a game-changer?

Gaylord CHESNAY, Sutarni RIESENMEY, Matthieu ROCHE

Paris Diderot University, September 2016


According to the Oxford dictionary, gamification “is the application of typical elements of game playing”, such as point scoring, competition with others or rules of play, to other areas of activity to encourage engagement. Gamification is a critical methodology in education and yet, many consider its implementation as a mere source of entertainment. Our modern society has been drastically influenced by the technological revolution that began in the late 1990’s. New forms of training have emerged, in the shape of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) or e-learning courses hosted on Learning Management Systems (LMS).

This article explores the use of gamification in e-learning for professional training. It aims to shed some light on the underlying causes, the needs, and the reasons behind its implementation. It also analyses the motives that provoke skepticism on some people’s part and why some companies are therefore reluctant to invest in this type of training.

In addition to readings from experts, we interviewed specialists, and we conducted our own research comparing a gamified e-learning deliverable with its standard equivalent and analyzed their completion rates. We discovered that the learners who followed the standard course were not totally put off by the lack of game elements.

Read the full article (PDF): Gamification in e-learning: a game-changer?

Infographics: A toolbox for technical writers?


Paris Diderot University, 01/07/2016


Over the last few years, visual elements have grown in importance and sophistication in technical writing. According to scientific literature, the inclusion of visual elements in technical documentation has resulted in a greater accessibility. Yet, technical writers tend to use visual elements not only to present numbers and help users to understand the meaning of those numbers, but also to explain a procedure, a concept, a reference, or another topic. The impact of this trend aroused our interest for infographics. Infographics is the abbreviation for information graphics. This visual representation of  information or data is used to convey information, and this information can be presented in a literal or more metaphorical way. As delivering a message in technical writing is not an easy task, implementing infographics in this context is particularly convenient. This article explores the compatibility between technical writing and infographics, and the limits of infographics implementation in technical writing. The difficulties of establishing a unique definition of infographics, and the differences between infographics and data visualization are also discussed in this article.

Read the full article (PDF): Infographics: A toolbox for technical writers?

What is the role of technical writers in fostering accessibility?

Victoria Genin, MarcAlexandre Jacques, Tiphaine Monange

Paris Diderot University, July 1st 2016


With the creation of international standards and the rise of public awareness, web and software accessibility have become a topical issue. Yet, it seems like accessibility is still rarely taken into account by technical companies who prefer to focus on innovation.

Part of the usability and accessibility of a software is based on its documentation. As technical writers, we wondered which role technical writers have to play in fostering accessibility.

The information used in this article was drawn from three main sources. In addition to reading articles written by accessibility researchers, we carried out two surveys to study the scope of accessibility in the creation and navigation of user interfaces: the first one was sent to disabled users and the second one to professionals. We also interviewed a highly experienced technical writer trained in accessibility. The results led us to conclude that technical writers definitely have a key role to play in fostering accessibility standards – either by increasing their cooperation with developers or by implementing accessibility solutions themselves.

Read the full article (PDF): What is the role of technical writers in fostering accessibility?

The impact of the digital enterprise on technical communication

Sarah Consentino, Paul Desreux, Alexandre Dias Da Silva, Vincent Perrot

Paris Diderot University, July 2016


The digital revolution has changed consumer behavior in the software industry, and digital organizations must keep up with all those changes to stay competitive. As a result, understanding customers’ needs has become part of technical communication. By compiling recent data and studies, this article aims at answering the following question: to what extent have technologies impacted the way that technical communicators assist users to offer them the best experience possible? We first analyzed how companies are starting to place more emphasis on customer experience through digital channels, and to what extent those changes have impacted the way technical communicators present the information and talk to customers. Then, we investigated and found out why technical communication is now perceived as a measurable added business value for companies.

Read the full article (PDF): The impact of the digital enterprise on technical communication

How User Experience helps reshape technical documentation

Célia Goiset, Océane Franc

July 2013


This article explains how the User eXperience (UX) reshapes technical documentation. The fundamental purpose of this research is to show how users’ expectations have an impact on technical documentation. Indeed, technical writing is not only the presentation of information but also how it is designed to meet users’ needs. The goal of the technical writer is to communicate the information in a clear and effective way so that the documentation audience understands it well and quickly. In this article, we will first explain the importance of user experience practices in the technical writing field to then analyze the methods used to satisfy users’ needs in our companies while highlighting the UX impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of the documentation. Finally, we will identify some of the UX best practices and tools to create better documentation and ensure the product and company sustainability.

Read the full article (PDF): How User Experience helps reshape technical documentation

2nd International Conference on Technical Communication – The semantic web and user experience (2012)

Patricia Minacori, le laboratoire de recherche CLILLAC-ARP, de l’Université de Paris Diderot, en association avec STC France et CRT sont heureux de vous accueillir, à l’amphi Buffon, 15 rue Hélène Brion, 75013 Paris, entrée libre

samedi 17 mars 2012

2nd International Conference on Technical Communication

Web sémantique et ergonomie

Les problématiques abordées concernant le Web sémantique porteront sur ses apports, les enjeux et les perspectives offerts à la communication technique.

Il sera aussi question des nouvelles frontières de l’ergonomie : la multiplication des contenus numériques (livres, tablettes) constitue un nouveau défi dans le domaine de l’expérience utilisateur. Comment les ergonomes et les communicateurs techniques y répondent-ils ?

9h30 – 10h Accueil des intervenants et des participants

10h-10h30 Ouverture du Colloque : La recherche de plein champ à Paris Diderot [PDF]

Patricia Minacori, Directrice du Département professionnalisation, Paris Diderot

Ray Gallon, Président STC France

10h30–11h00 Les apprentis communicateurs techniques de Paris Diderot : les projets  de recherche

11h00–11h30 Web sémantique et représentation de la connaissance : une nouvelle proposition de valeur pour les communicateurs techniques [PDF]

Virginie Ahrens, User Technology Manager, IBM France, Professeur associé Paris Diderot

11h30-12h00 Application des principes du Web sémantique dans DITA (OASIS) : comment utiliser les métadonnées et pourquoi le rédacteur technique devrait s’en soucier ? [PDF]

Nolwenn Kerzreho , Professeur Associé, Université Rennes II

12h-13h30 Déjeuner

13h30-14h00 Standardisation des formats à l’épreuve des nouveaux media : situation et enjeux

Thierry Stoehr, Université Paris Diderot

14h00-14h30 Expérience utilisateur et innovation technologique : utilisateur-modèle/ utilisateur-concret [PDF]

Béatrice Drot-Delange, Dacia Dressen-Hammouda, Laboratoire ACTé (EA4281), Clermont Université, Université Blaise Pascal

14h30-15h00 Nouveaux usages dans la documentation et l’aide aux utilisateurs : le cas de la notice de montage [PDF]

Laurent Bidoia (Société Affordance), Anthony Loiselet (Société A+B)

15h00-15h30 Nouvelles applications tactiles, sensorielles, intuitives : que reste-t-il à expliquer ?

Yves Rinato (intactile DESIGN)

15h30-16h00 Débats

1st International Conference on Technical Communication – Technical communication and user experience (2011)

1st International Conference on Technical Communication

Technical communication and user experience

Le laboratoire de recherche CLILLAC-ARP, de l’Université de Paris Diderot, en association avec le Bureau de Paris de la STC (Society for Technical Communication) sont heureux de vous inviter à participer à un séminaire sur la communication technique le Samedi 26 mars à l’Université Paris Diderot.
Thèmes du séminaire
  • ergonomie des documents,
  • web sémantique,
  • e-learning,
  • stratégie de contenu,
  • architecture de l’information

10h-10h30 Ouverture du séminaire

  • Patricia Minacori, Directrice Département professionnalisation, Paris Diderot : La recherche de plein champ à Paris Diderot
  • Ray Gallon, Président STC France : La STC et la recherche
  • Les apprentis communicateurs techniques de Paris Diderot : les projets de recherche.

10h30–11h00 Comment intégrer la communication visuelle et interactive dans la communication technique ?
Bruno Wagner, Communicateur technique, SKF

11h00–11h30 Design et communication technique
Raya Hristova, Elodie Dionisio Gomes, Esteban Villate, Etudiants M2 CDMM, Paris Diderot

11h30-12h00 Prendre en compte l’utilisateur pour concevoir des documents procéduraux adaptés : une approche de psychologie cognitive ergonomique
Franck Ganier, maître de conférences, Université de Bretagne Occidentale Brest

12h-12h30 Ergonomie de l’avertissement
Marie Louise Flacke, Information Developer, Chargée de cours Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest

12h30-13h30 Déjeuner

13h30-14h00 Le Lego ® du contenu
Marie Girard, Communicateur Technique IBM France

14h00-14h30 Voyage dans le contenu: créer son modèle d’information
Virginie Ahrens, Directeur Senior Département ILOG User Technologies, IBM France

14h30-15h00 Ontologies et recherche d’informations dans le domaine scientifique
Claire Nédélec, Chercheur INRA

15h00-15h30 Developing Content for the International Marketplace
Patrick Aubry, Lloyd International Translations

15h30-16h00 Les agents conversationnels
Charlotte Levenès, Virtuoz