I haven't tested documentation yet, but I've conducted interviews for
web site usability evaluations. As with so many design tasks, the best
place to start is to think about what you really want to accomplish. If
you know exactly what you want to learn from the interviews, then you
can make sure your interview plan reflects that.
My interviews usually consist of a few parts:
- Find out background info about the subject that tells me how to
interpret or classify their results (web experience, interest in topic)
- Ask about their goals, especially what they want out of the site or
experience. I also try to get a sense of their baseline expectations,
by asking about how they usually do this type of thing and what tasks
they use it for. (I would ask this about the search engine, not
documentation as a whole. That tells you what tasks to write the doc
- After having them do some tasks while I watch, I go back over the
tasks and ask them what they thought, what confused them, what made
sense, and something they didn't like and something they liked.
I try not to ask them if they liked the system in general, since there
is so much social pressure to be nice that these answers are
By the way, You describe this as an interview, not a utest. Why? I
would test the documentation by asking people to use it (find out how to
do X, show me where the answer was), just like a site or application.
Hope this helps!
p.s. Say hi to Scott :-)
Andrea Gallagher 921 Front Street
Red Sky Interactive San Francisco, CA 94111-1426
t: 415-392-2500 f: 415-392-2501
Download the Red Sky Interactive Millennium Clock today!
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Johanna van Egmond [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Friday, November 06, 1998 11:11 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: user interview plan
> I'm working on some interview questions to ask users of a
> search engine.
> I'm creating new support docs and a "support web". The
> primary goal is to
> make the documents readable and usable on the web. There are also two
> audiences I'm designing the info for: those who perform
> searches and those
> who develop web pages and want to make their pages more visible or
> invisible when a results page comes up. Has anyone every
> developed a plan
> for user interviewing in general? I"ve developed utest plans,
> but never one
> for user interviews. Also, if anyone has had experience with
> online documentation, I'd love to hear about your experiences.
> Any advice is greatly appreciated,