Why Should Technical Communicators Avoid Target Group Analysis?

In pursuit of the ultimate techCom information architecture

How do you know that the method you’re using to identify user tasks, such as Target Group Analysis, actually leads to the information users need? This article shows why such analysis is dangerous thing, and suggest an alternate solution.

I have always thought that grouping users into target groups, like installer, operator, etc., and analyzing the tasks each group is supposed to perform, is the wrong starting point for anticipating the information needs of users. Especially when designing information intended to support a user of your company’s products.

Designing usable user assistance starts with understanding what information users need. If you do not know what users want and end up writing information your users aren’t actually searching for, any investment to dress up such content (for example, by making it Googlable or moving it to DITA), will not be returned. Read more...

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