User assistance and accessibility

As an Information Developer, I often ask myself what our biggest fear is. In my opinion, that’s the fear to create useless technical content that no one reads, miscommunicate information, or fail to assist your readers when they need help the most. This fear may come true when we don’t analyze deep enough who our readers are, their needs, and how they access our content.

In this article, I would like to have a closer look at how writers create accessible content and a multisensory experience for readers with disabilities.

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User experience in restaurants or keep your users in mind even at leisure time

Believe it or not, but an InfoDev at work is an InfoDev for life. As Information Developers, we perceive the world from the users’ perspective always questioning ourselves: “Is it clear enough? Can a procedure be shorter? Will that be understood globally?”
Sometimes, before you know it, you find yourself evaluating the user assistance in a 5-star hotel, scrutinizing an airport sign or a restaurant menu, and hunting for the ambiguous, the ineffective, and the incomprehensible with the noble intent to make a user experience smoother.

In this article, I will share my experience of reading the icons in a menu at one of the restaurants.

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Diagram Series: Troubleshooting

If you read my previous articles from the Diagram Series, you are already familiar with the process of creating diagrams, the role of text in diagrams, practical tips, and so on. Now let’s see how to troubleshoot issues that accompany you from the first drawing and to the final approved diagram.

The most informed people to create diagrams are SMEs, yet they are the least appropriate for this role.

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Diagram Series: The role of text

A well-drawn diagram communicates a very clear and direct message. You, as an Information Developer, can explain to users the workflow, interrelationship among components, or data exchange through visual assets. Diagrams are not just about cool shapes and trendy colors, but also about the meaning—text. In this article, I will share some important rules how to phrase, format, and position the text in a diagram to make it look more distinct and professional.

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Diagram Series: Pitfalls of interviews with SMEs

Look at the following broken-line graph (Figure #1). How much time do you need to create one? 5 – 10 minutes? How about two days?

Figure #1 (Click to enlarge)

Now, if I provide an estimate of two days for creating a graph, my Customer will expect to receive a 3D visualization, in color. Then, where is the problem? Why creating a graph with a few broken lines might take that much time?

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Diagram Series: Decrypting SME’s Drawings

User documentation that includes different types of graphics is more effective and easier to perceive than monotonous text. A diagram is just one type of graphics that prevails mostly in technical documentation. When creating diagrams on a daily basis, you eventually learn to overcome such difficulties as: vague explanations, inaccurate SMEs’ drawings, abundance of details, or lack of information. As an Information Developer, you must know how to combine these diverse chunks to create consistent graphics in user documentation. In this article, I will discuss some tips on decrypting SME’s drawings to make the process of creating diagrams an interesting and creative experience.

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