The May 1 Vancouver Island Tech Comm Café was held at Frankie’s Modern Diner, where writers enjoyed everything from milk shakes to mimosas and burgers to pasta. We also had the pleasure of chatting with two guest speakers: Michele Macklin, Senior Interaction Designer at Number 41 Media, and Andrew Macklin, Senior Software Developer at Reliable Controls.
Michele and Andrew shared their knowledge of user experience (UX) testing and user interface (UI) design. Michele defined UX as a person’s perception and responses that result from using a product, and mentioned that UX is best understood by usability testing. As an example, UX testing would determine how much scrolling is appropriate, and the number of tabs to navigate to a feature. Michelle then contrasted UX with UI, which is the graphic design, content layout, and behaviour of a user interface, such as help buttons and error messages.
UX/UI Best Practices
The discussion then went on to highlight a few best practices for UX/UI design, such as:
Michele mentioned that many UI testers have a tendency to blame themselves when confused by an interface cue: “Oh, it must just be me who can’t find this button.” However, it is more likely that the confusion results from a non-intuitive UI design.
Top UX/UI Considerations for Technical Writing
Other points touched on during the discussion included how UX/UI can inform technical writing by:
At the end of the evening, we discussed the future of user interfaces, citing examples of chat boxes, artificial intelligence, and voice control interfaces such as Apple’s Siri. We agreed that these are all exciting new areas for both technical communicators and UI/UX designers.
Our next Vancouver and Vancouver Island Tech Comm Cafés will be combined into one meeting and will take place online on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, at 7:00 p.m. Brew yourself a beverage and dial in from the comfort of your favourite chair. RSVP to admin (at) stcwestcoast.ca for login details.
The TCC provides networking opportunities, job leads, answers to work-related dilemmas, and a burst of professional energy to keep you motivated. We discuss technical writing tools and techniques, career planning, portfolios, and anything else related to working as a technical communicator.
We welcome anyone who’s interested in technical communication — contractor, in-house, student, long-time tech writer, STC member, non-member, career-changer, or recruiter. We hope to see you at the next meeting!