New Knowledge in the Technical Communication Field

User-Centered Design and User Experience

The purpose of part II of Rachel Spilka’s Digital Literacy for Technical Communication was to provide insight into some new, foundational knowledge in the TPC world which all technical communicators should know about. As this book is from 2010, these ideas are likely a bit more understood now then they were at the time of publishing, but are still relevant. The overwhelming idea that I saw between the three chapters was the use of user-centered design and the importance of user experience in technical communication. Although most explicitly discussed in Chapter 4, Salvo and Rosinski’s “Information Design”, all three chapters discussed concepts that either directly or indirectly related to user experience.


Components of User Experience, found here

Having taken a course last semester on user experience, I have studied in-depth its importance in technical communication and the use of user-centered design. All three chapters in part II of Spilka’s book emphasize the increasing importance of these ideas for technical communicators. As Salvo and Rosinski point out, when the internet first became commonly used, websites were often created without regard to traditional page design conventions, leading to websites that were difficult to navigate and unpleasant to use (poor user experience).


Photo found here

We now know the importance of considering page design even when creating web pages. Additionally, we have to consider all aspects of documents (both online and in print) including the rhetorical situation, the user experience, accessibility, etc., when creating any documentation – these chapters emphasize the importance of the role of technical communicators as we are trained to examine documents in this way.

These chapters outline the importance of understanding and utilizing the technologies available to us as technical communicators to help readers and users in all tasks. I would argue that immersing oneself in these technologies and examining them from a critical standpoint would help all technical communicators become more effective.

Posted on September 28, 2016, in Social Media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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