Need for Research

Subject: Need for Research
From: "George F. Hayhoe" <gfhayhoe -at- SCESCAPE -dot- NET>
Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 09:18:45 -0400

Diane Burke asked for <<rules, research, or suggestions that
make on-screen documentation easier to read and to understand>>
in terms of text fonts, size, colors, etc.

Although there is a small body of existing work on the subject,
much of the research was done before larger monitors became
fairly common. Moreover, much of what has been written on this
subject is not research-based but a reflection of designers'
subjective tastes (no knock on designers intended).

Most of our best practice seems to be a reflection of what we've
seen and admired. That's all well and good, but tastes change,
and what's fashionable might not be very usable from the
information consumer's standpoint.

Our profession is desperately in need of research into the
optimal design of online information. Ditto for the design of
paper-based information. STC offers research grants (up to
$10,000 per project) to fund this type of work. There are also
many venues for publishing the results--STC's journal _Technical
Communication_ among them.

There are reputations to be made doing this work.

--George Hayhoe
Editor, _Technical Communication_

George Hayhoe Associates
Voice: +1 803-642-2156
Fax: +1 803-642-9325
Award-winning Web site:

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