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Chapter 12. Reviewing, testing, and eval... > Testing information for usability

Testing information for usability

One way that you can improve and validate the quality of your information is to test it for usability. Through usability testing, you can find problems especially in task orientation and concreteness, as shown in Table 4. Users can provide direct and indirect feedback on the quality characteristics.

Table 4. Quality characteristics for users to focus on (Part 1 of 2)
Quality characteristicGuideline
Easy to useTask orientationThe information is appropriate for the intended audience.
The information is presented from the user's point of view.
A practical reason for information is evident.
The focus is on real tasks.
The headings reveal the tasks.
The tasks are divided into discrete subtasks.
Step-by-step instructions are clear.
AccuracyThe information reflects the current subject or product.
The information about a subject is consistent.
The references to related information are correct.
CompletenessOnly needed topics are covered.
Each topic has just the detail that users need.
Information is repeated only when needed.
Easy to understandClarityThe focus is on the meaning.
The elements flow from one to another.
The technical terms are necessary and appropriate.
The new terms are defined.
ConcretenessThe examples are appropriate for the audience and subject.
The examples are easy to find.
The code examples are easy to adapt.
Unfamiliar information is related to familiar information.
General language is used appropriately.
Easy to findOrganizationEmphasis and subordination are appropriate.
RetrievabilityThe index has predictable entries.
Links and cross-references are helpful and appropriate.
Visual effectivenessThe graphics are meaningful and appropriate.
The graphics complement the text.
Visual cues help users find what they need.
All users can access the information.



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