TecCOM - Profession of Technical Communication


Evaluation and user experience

Evaluation of information products is a technique that helps to identify potential and existing problems with information products and uncover solutions and strategies for improvement.

Technical writers need to understand and apply concepts of evaluation to create more effective information products. They need to have a strategic understanding of the purpose of evaluation, organize and select evaluation strategies that are appropriate for the situation, gather evaluation data, use evaluation data to improve information products, and make them more appropriate for target audiences. Use evaluation data to plan future information products and to strategically allocate resources.

This topic covers: definitions of evaluation, and methods of evaluation including corporate feedback, user feedback, and web feedback. It describes risks and benefits of evaluation.

Usability and user experience
  • Understand the common definitions of usability and user experience (e.g., ISO definitions)
  • Understand the differences and similarities between usability and user experience
  • Apply usability methods (usability tests and survey methods (e.g., thinking aloud, eye-tracking, questionnaires, observation)
  • Identify quality criteria for usability tests (e.g., quality criteria: reliability, validity, objectivity, representativeness, economy)
  • Understand typical problems and risks when carrying out a usability test (e.g., representativeness) and solutions (e.g., selection of test subjects)

see also academic research

see also legal requirements and standards 

  • Understand evaluation and its purpose
  • Understand different methods of evaluation and select appropriate method
  • Assess and share the results of different kinds of evaluation
  • Integrate evaluation into the project life cycle
  • Use evaluation data strategically
  • Get expert reports
  • Conduct user observation and self-testing
  • Understand evaluation and user observation concepts
  • Know how to apply methods of systematic observation and recording of observations
  • Know about sources of errors in case of observations and self-tests
  • Understand use tests and reports
  • Understand public testing methods
User feedback
  • Understand quality criteria for user feedback
  • Understand customer and user surveys
  • Apply survey methods (e.g., interviews, written questionnaires)
  • Design, draft and carry out a survey (e.g., produce a questionnaire, sources of errors in surveys, quality criteria, ways of improving response rates)
  • Understand typical problems and risks when carrying out a survey and solutions (e.g., ways of improving response rates)
  • Gather user feedback
  • Assess feedback and its meaningfulness
  • Understand problems and risks with user feedback
  • Understand methods of systematic evaluation of feedback (e.g., customers’ problems, complaints, customer feedback or internal feedback on the information product)
  • Analyse and evaluate survey data
  • Analyse and evaluate other types of data
  • Use statistical methods in data analysis

see also academic research

Corporate feedback
  • Gather corporate feedback and external feedback (e.g., call centers, after-sales service, service engineers, help hotline, translators)
  • Gather feedback from internal business units (e.g., training centers, trainers, after-sales service, service engineers)
  • Organise feedback processes
  • Analyse and evaluate corporate feedback
Web feedback
  • Gather social media and internet feedback, conduct web monitoring
  • Apply social media analytics
  • Gather web statistics
  • Use web monitoring methods (e.g. click rates, ranking, rating)
  • Use web analytics and use web and social media statistics
  • Develop an evaluation strategy

see also information technology

Professional communication
  • Define and exemplify specialised discourse
  • Understand the differences between professional and interprofessional communication (e.g. professional and non-professional audiences)

see also language skills

Genres and genre conventions in professional contexts
  • Understand the basic idea of genre
  • Analyse collections of text to find genre conventions
  • Apply knowledge of genre conventions in text production
  • Understand linguistic features of technical communication (e.g. word choices, sentence, paragraph and document structures, orthography)

see also content development