Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UX Psychology Applied to Industry Safety

Always on the lookout to improve my knowledge of psychology I joined this months UX Psychology call unsure about what I was going to learn.

Titled 'UX Psychology Applied to Industry Safety' and with a summary talking about documentation I was not sure how interesting or relevant it might be.

I need not have worried. Klaus Hofer, joining us from Canada, gave a very entertaining talk which covered a very serious subject.

How can we help people to find the important answers that might save lives in our documentation?

He was focusing on aerospace, medicine, manufacturing and the oil and gas industries, but I think there were lessons for all of us.

Firstly he told us how people looking at this sort of documentation are not readers. They are users trying to find something quickly. This means they will not read all the words but scan the page quickly.

I have seen this so often when doing research, although I could not have told you the why behind it.

I have also seen the second thing he told us - that once someone has found what they think they need they stop searching even though they might be missing vital information. I have witnessed this so many times in tests, but have found it so hard to explain to stakeholders and the compliance team that people will not keep going if they do not think they need to.

He then showed us ways to structure our documents so that people can use them more easily - something I wish more compliance teams were aware of.

It was a great talk and helped me better understand several things that I have seen in my research sessions but not been able to explain very well.

I now look forward to taking this knowledge back to work with me to help the team improve our pages even more.

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