Watch Users Read Your Writing

Tom Johnson offers a great writing tip especially for tech writers and others who write instructions. This method also works well with Web content and forms. Watching people use a Web site, a product, a service — anything is a superb way to get insight on how others use the product or service.
Those involved in the creation of the product or service — whether a little or a lot — see too much and know how to find what they need. So where do you find this user especially if you’re a freelancer? Ask family and friends. While they might not be the target market, they have one important thing in common with the target market: They haven’t seen or used the product or service. It’s better than nothing.
In writing the Brilliant Outlook Pocketbook, the editors assumed the role of the users. While I didn’t watch them read over the chapters — they identified areas where the instructions or tips didn’t make sense. By the time the proofs came to me giving me fresh eyes, I could see why they had questions.

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