LINGUIST List 15.2474

Tue Sep 7 2004

Diss: Translation: Byrne: 'Textual...'

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  1. jody.byrne, Textual Cognetics and the Role of Iconic Linkage in Software User Guides

Message 1: Textual Cognetics and the Role of Iconic Linkage in Software User Guides

Date: Mon, 6 Sep 2004 03:58:55 -0400 (EDT)
From: jody.byrne <jody.byrnedcu.ie>
Subject: Textual Cognetics and the Role of Iconic Linkage in Software User Guides

Institution: Dublin City University
Program: PhD in Applied Languages
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Jody Byrne

Dissertation Title: Textual Cognetics and the Role of Iconic Linkage
in Software User Guides

Linguistic Field: Translation, Cognitive Science, Computational Linguistics 

Dissertation Director 1: Dr. Dorothy Kenny

Dissertation Abstract:

This study investigates whether Iconic Linkage - the use of identical
wording to present the same information recurring in a text - can
improve the usability of user guides. Drawing on research literature
in technical communication, cognitive psychology and human-computer
interfaces, Iconic Linkage is presented as a writing strategy that
potentially allows users to work more quickly and effectively and
which promotes better retention of information.

The usefulness of Iconic Linkage was tested in a laboratory-based
usability study that combined (1) objective task-based evaluation and
(2) users' subjective evaluations of a software program used in
recording parliamentary debates. A post-test survey designed to test
subjects' retention of information contained in the user guides was
also administered.

The study shows that Iconic Linkage significantly improved usability
of the user guide: in all tasks, subjects worked more effectively and
made fewer mistakes; while in the three timed tasks, subjects
completed the tasks much more quickly. Subjects also gave higher
ratings for the software and their retention of information was
noticeably improved. The study concludes by discussing the
implications and potential future applications of this research.
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