June 14, 2010
Microsoft User Manual Critique
The focus of this paper will be to evaluate the Microsoft Word 2007 manual based on the criteria defined in Comparative User-focused Evaluation of User Guides: A case study (2007). The Microsoft Word 2007 manual is evaluated based on the following criteria: (a) attractiveness, (b) practicality, (c) simplicity, and (d) efficiency. Each of the four criteria are assigned a point value of between zero through five, zero meaning none of the criteria was not meet and five meaning the criteria was completely meet. Attractiveness
A user manual should be attractive to entice the user to use it (Ganier, 2007). Attractiveness is subjective, a matter of personal esthetics, it is difficult to quantify attractiveness as it is defined differently by individuals. For the purposes of evaluating the attractiveness of the Microsoft Word 2007 manual three criteria as defined in Design 101 (2007) are used: * Proximity: is related information groped together
* Contrast: do the text and headings contrast with one another * Repetition: are design elements repeated throughout the manual Proximity
To evaluate if related information is properly grouped in the Microsoft Word 2007 manual four main topics: (a) Activating Word, (b) Headers and footers, (c) Creating specific documents, and (d) Page numbers were selected at random from the table of contents. The main topics were checked to ensure that the sub-topics contained only information related to the main topic. In addition each sub-topic should be related to other sub-topics listed.
Activating Word. The Activating Word main topic contains three sub-topics: Activate Microsoft Office programs, Activate or renew your Microsoft Office subscription from Office Live, and Read the Microsoft Software License Terms. The main topic and all three sub-topics are related to licensing Microsoft Office products. The Activating Word topic fulfills the proximity criteria.
Headers and footers. The Headers and footers topic contains one sub-topic: Insert headers and footers. The main topic and the sub-topic are related to the creation of headers and footers in Microsoft Word 2007. The Headers and footers section fulfills the proximity criteria.
Creating specific documents. The Creating specific documents topic contains five sub-topics: Set up a document, Scan and edit a document, Help with blogging in Word, Templates, and Forms. The main topic and all five sub-topics are all related to the creation of documents within Microsoft Word 2007. The Creating specific documents topic fulfills the proximity criteria.
Page numbers. The Page numbers topic contains two sub-topics: Remove page numbers, and Remove the page number from the first page. The main topic and two sub-topics are all related to page numbering in Microsoft Word 2007. The Page numbers topic fulfills the proximity criteria.
The selection of four main topics in from the Microsoft Word 2007 manual is a small sample size for the evaluation. However, the sample size is enough to demonstrate that the Microsoft Word 2007 manual meets the proximity criteria. Contrast
To evaluate the proper use of contrast throughout the Microsoft Word 2007 manual, several topics were selected at random. These topics were checked to ensure that text, headings, and sub-headings are well defined and easily differentiated. The Microsoft Word 2007 manual makes good use of colors and text size to differentiate between standard text, headings, sub-headings, and links (figure1).
The Microsoft Word 2007 manual makes good use of contrast to separate headings, and text from one another. Although it meets the contrast criteria the use of light gray for informational headings and orange for sub-headings is open to criticism as it could prove difficult to read for low vision or color blind users. Repetition
In evaluating the Microsoft Word...