Mélanie PIERRE, Amélie CARON, Coline MAGNIER, Margaux ZANINI
Paris Diderot University, July 15, 2021
“The simpler the better”, you have probably heard this sentence many times. It is particularly true in technical writing. It has been proven that having more than seven chunks of information or using useless information in a technical document can affect users’ working memory as well as an unstructured document. However, there is little research on the nature of the link between working memory and technical writing.
Our article examines the correlation between cognitive psychology and technical writing and more especially the importance of optimizing the user’s working memory when writing technical documents. To understand the impact of an altered procedure on the realization of a task, we conducted an experiment which consisted of a comparison between two drawing procedures: one which aimed at optimizing working memory and the other which aimed at altering it. Participants shared their drawings and told us the difficulties they faced for eachof the procedures.
Our research and the analysis of the conducted experiment allowed us to draw the conclusion that technical writers should always consider their user’s working memory to ensure that the instructions are easy to follow for every age and capacity range. The structure and content of documentations can help users to group information together and thus help improve their working memory while reading instructions.
Read the full article in PDF: Information processing and technical writing
Roxanne BOPOUNGO – Deborah CHAPLICE – Bouchra DRIF
Paris Diderot University, 2019/2020
We have been living in a digital era for more than three decades. As a result, digital documentation prevails over paper formats. Technical writers have therefore adapted to the market reality, where people use several types of screen: computers, smartphones, tablets… Each screen has its own specificity, hence the importance to adjust digital documentation to provide better readability and a better understanding. Users need to understand documents instantaneously.
With the impactful rise of all types of social networks, the way we communicate and exchange information has evolved as well. Users want and need to quickly find what they are looking for. They tend to be less patient and focused and would not want to go through the whole documentation. The information within technical documentation must be of easy access, and most importantly, users must have access to it quickly.
Technical writers are therefore facing a challenge: they must adapt to the specificities of the digital world and create methods that allow users to communicate with them and/or to give them a useful feedback.
As of today, technical writing teams use methods inspired by blogs or social networks (FAQs, “like” buttons, comments etc.), in order to receive feedback from the readers. However, this approach is not always effective or relevant.
Read the full article in PDF: Why and how should the interaction between users and technical writers be improved in online documentation?
Digital services transform our everyday experience, first through screens (websites, e-learning, online help, videos and social networks), and now through the physical world (voice assistants, augmented reality, blended learning). Technical communication has always had very strong ties with experience design. Now communication and design practices need to evolve to better support hybrid experiences across the digital and physical worlds.
Les projets de recherche en M2 Communication Technique Multilingue [PDF]
Marie Girard et les étudiants du M2 CTM
Assistants vocaux, comment puis-je vous aider? [PDF]
Maaike Coppens, Head UX design, M Creation, Paris
La réalité virtuelle au service de l’apprentissage [PDF]
Pierre Marole, Responsable partenariats, Digital and Human, Paris
Métadonnées : au service des expériences utilisateurs [PDF]
François Violette, Information Architect, ReachFive
Design responsable : concevoir pour l’avenir [PDF]
Aurélie Baton, UX Designer, IBM France
Que se passe-t-il lorsque vous mettez 50 rédacteurs techniques au sein d’une équipe de Design [PDF]
Sarah Baillot, SAP France
Quand les mots influencent le design et les interfaces [PDF]
Amandine Agic, Content Strategist, ACCOR
Camille Promérat, UX Writer, Freelance
Building UX As A Strategy for Growth [PDF]
Greta Goetz,PhD, Faculty of Philology, University of Belgrade
Claudia ANTHONYPILLAI, Laura BARIBAUD, Louise CLAUSTRAT
Paris Diderot University, July 15, 2019
Videos play an important role in our lives, as well as in the daily lives of technical writers. Technical documentation has evolved throughout time and beyond written text, with multiple tools to choose from. This makes us wonder, to what extent is the introduction of videos in technical writing necessary?
Our research article seeks to answer this question, presenting the results of different tests and questionnaires. We will be able to determine how a user reacts to different sources of information, as well as how user experience affects the way a technical writer produces documentation.
Users have different learning styles, one can be verbal and the other visual, and a technical writer should keep that in mind when producing documents. Since everyone is different, having a video as a source helps and includes more people. However videos can be restricting depending on the situations.
Just like user needs, technical writing evolves, and so does technology. With the introduction of various forms of videos and the ability to integrate them in multiple platforms, a technical document can become more than just a traditional user guide. GIFs, chatbots and AI-powered applications are bringing new life to technical writing. Nevertheless, is video still really worth it?
Read the full article
The added value of videos in technical writing (PDF)
Selly BAL – Adel Yann BENZENATI – Heritiana RATSIMBAZAFY
Paris Diderot University, 2018/2019
Living with a disability in our society doesn’t necessarily mean needing constant care. However, it means having to adapt everyday: because the world we live in has not adapted to disabilities yet. This is a comment we can apply to technical communication, an activity in which the purpose is to make information accessible to an audience, but where accessibility guidelines are still rare to be found. We attempted with this paper to inquire about the current situation of accessibility to people with disabilities, focusing on visual and hearing impairment. We conducted a survey on technical communication professionals with different experiences and contacted various technical writers with the objective of presenting the norms that already exist in terms of accessibility and showing what’s still missing – with that, we tried to present an analysis of the reasons for the scarcity of norms in technical writing.
Read the full article
What are the challenges of implementing accessibility standards for technical writers? (PDF)
Cristiane FREITAS, Viviana MACALUSO
Paris University, July 2019
We come from different cultural and educational backgrounds and decided to analyze and focus on how colors may influence readability and, therefore, comprehension on technical documentation.
This matter came after we browsed a website from a marketplace corporation and we noticed that there was a lack of harmony and synchronicity between its marketing and documentation website. We noticed it mainly because the visual identity, particularly the use of colors and icons, was absolutely discordant. It was remarkable that the two websites were developed by different teams, what could eventually reveal an internal noise in communication, or even some problem in the enterprise architecture.
A simple misuse of colors can reveal much more than aesthetics, design or layout. And this seemed quite impressive to us. The color approach however can be very large, with multi-disciplinary, underestimated, usually treated randomly and not too scientific under the gaze of the academic community. We want to show that it can be theory-based and, by means of a user test, we intend to prove – practically – that colors should be treated with the importance they deserve, far beyond aesthetics and layout.
After applying a user test, we noticed that users react differently face to face with a colored and a black and white document.
Read the full article
The use of colors in technical writing (PDF)
Marie Fabre, Samia Rhaliès, Florian Peeter
Université de Paris, July 2019
Our world is increasingly virtual. Digitalization has been taking over every industry during the last few decades, and user experience and assistance is no exception. Reality and the virtual world were divided by a gap that seemed unbridgeable until recently. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) allow users to go beyond previous limitations. Users can learn and practice without being held back by the limitations of the real world.
AR and VR are not brand-new inventions. The praise they received the last few years is related to recent technical innovations such as advances in computational power, storage, graphics, and high-definition displays. These progresses opened the way to immersive technologies that were previously burdened with wires, heavy headsets, and poor graphics. Today, light, wireless hardware, and beautiful graphics immerse the user in a virtual world better than before. But innovation won’t stop there, as it is expected that $20,4 billion will be invested in AR and VR, an 68% increase 68% compared to the $12,1 billion spent in 2018. This growing interest for AR and VR is shared by a wide range of industries such as engineering, medicine, and even softwares.
Each finds its own in immersive reality. How do companies use AR and VR? To what extent do they enhance the User Experience? Are they the future of the user assistance, or just trendy gadgets?
After considering what are AR and VR and their usages, we will discuss their influence on User Experience (UX), their values, and what their future may be in the technical communication industry.
Read the full article
Augmented and virtual reality: Towards the enhancement of user experience (PDF)
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?
Saran Kante, Clémence Bolinga, Dina Radaoarisoa
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?
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
Erika CABOUL, Nicolas CHLEFFER, Caroline VAISSIERE
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?
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?
Armelle BURSI-AMBA, Aline EA, Romain GAULLIER, Manoela SANTIDRIAN
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?
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?