Essay about Microsoft Outlook® User Manual Critique

1161 Words Dec 26th, 2010 5 Pages
Microsoft Outlook® User Manual Critique
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English 221
December 12, 2010
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Microsoft Outlook® User Manual Critique
The objective of this paper will be to evaluate Microsoft manual for Outlook®. According to Torkzadeh (1988), author of The Quality of User Documentation, “User documentation is an important tool for communications. It enhances the value of an application to the user and in turn, improves user satisfaction” (p. 99). When designing a manual Ganier (2007) suggests in his article, Comparative User-Focused Evaluation of User Guides, the strategy for a user manual should focus on 3 characteristics: format, structure, and its content. Ganier in his article also includes the criteria for measuring the
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The Outlook® e-manual contained very good content. It has step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow with a mixture of applicable illustrations. The manual uses clear and concise language which is easily understood; however, the only drawback is a lack of illustrations in the manual’s headers.
Assessment of Criteria
The first criterion Ganier identified for measuring the quality and efficiency of a user manual is attractiveness. (Merriam-Webster’s, 2010) defines attractive as “arousing interest or engaging one's thought, consideration, etc”. Attractiveness is a subjective measurement which attempts to measure the ability of a manual to entice users to access it. The attractiveness of the Outlook® user e-manual is minimal and the format is very simplistic. The headers are basic, but functional, and the lack of graphics or icons to help identify the topics makes the appearance less attractive and approachable. By using icons along with the headers, it would improve the overall look, making the document look more appealing and approachable. When clicking on a high level header for “creating messages”, the user is presented with a list of submenu topics from which to choose. The submenu topics have a third level of headings with instruction options for creating an e-mail message. The actual instruction is

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