Improving the Usability of Official Documents:
From a Decision to Online Text, Tweet and Facebook Update
In my dissertation “Improving the Usability of Official Documents: From a Decision to Online Text, Tweet and Facebook Update”, I examined whether it is possible to improve the usability of the agendas and minutes of municipal committee meetings. The usability of such decision-making texts is essential for participation and democracy.
I have examined usability with an experiment in which ten experienced municipal communicators wrote online texts, as well as Twitter and Facebook updates, based on a decision by the City Board. During the experiment, they verbalized their reading and writing by using a think-aloud protocol. The think-aloud speech was recorded during the entire process.
Applying usability criteria in the ISO 9241-11 standard for texts, I defined usability of the text as understandability, reading speed and the enjoyability of the reading experience. Usability problems identified by the subjects were divided into these three categories and their subcategories. Overall, the test subjects indicated 85 times a usability problem in the source text. The most frequently mentioned problems were the length of text, the lack of a resident’s viewpoint, the order of presentation, difficulty in identifying the main issue, problems with contextualization, the lack of concreteness, and unclear concepts. Usability issues on the textual level were reported more often than on the sentence or word levels.
Usability research brings to administrative texts an important, user-oriented perspective which has not been sufficiently studied or emphasized in the past. Text works well when the user achieves his goals quickly and comfortably. If processing a text is laborious, the solution is to improve it.
Here’s our new book on how to use social media in teaching! The book eTeacher (currently available in Finnish) includes an easy-to-use model on web course planning and applies it to the world of social media. The book will be later translated into English – are you interested?
The number, usage and usability of online services suitable for teaching have had an enormous increase in the past few years. Instead of useless hype, eTeacher is looking for actual benefits which these services could provide for online teachers and learners. This book is your guide to the most useful online tools.
eTeacher is meant for teachers who want to get off to a flying start in building their online courses as well as using information and communication technologies in teaching. You’ll become an e-teacher by doing: the first courses will be small in scale, and they ought to be tested and developed based on experience. The book is a useful and practical guide – whether you’re an experienced e-teacher or just getting started. It’s an excellent aid for the educational use of social media.
The book Verkko-opettaja – available in Finnish – can be ordered at BookPlus and you can ask to see extracts from the English version by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Become an eTeacher in a Week
The book is now available also in Chinese. It’s a practical guide for teachers who want to start online courses right away and learn by doing. If you’re interested, contact us by email: email@example.com.