The EMBOSS Documentation Project

Catherine Letondal letondal at
Mon Jun 24 20:04:41 UTC 2002

Damian Counsell wrote:

> What do users want from our documentation system?  

Ask them, or rather look at them.

The best way to know is to make a few user studies around the current documentation
system - not that many studies are necessary IMHO (I don't fully agree with Jose in his 
previous message that you really need a HCI research project for this, although it could of
course be very interesting).
A very efficient and light technique is testing by pair (see for instance with a scenario or a precise 
task + thinking-aloud method. This is a way to learn a lot about what should be done
in a few time. It brings more information than a questionnaire.

> I'm soliciting opinions on all these and other questions---ideally
> *other people's* opinions, so please come along if you can, and/or
> circulate this message to anyone else you think might be able to
> contribute.  I've booked facilities for "about half-a-dozen".

Several levels of documentation might be a good idea, the first one being the GUI 
itself to remove accidental complexity, and at least 1 not too simplistic example of 
input and output.
A FAQ (built on actually frequently asked questions :-)) could also be useful.
The new documentation itself should be tested.

What is simple has to look simple, but what is complex must not be hidden. A simple
aspect can be an affordance to go further also...

A pragmatic approach...

Catherine Letondal -- Pasteur Institute Computing Center

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