As Colum McAndrew from The RoboColum(n) writes about how one’s customer service can let an entire industry down, I am once again baffled by the almost synthetic separation between the User Experience and Technical Communications (tech writing) fields. There is a clear and strong connection between these two user-oriented disciplines. I find it mind boggling that there is no strategic cooperation or coordination between members, professionals and thinkers from both communities
Thanks, ASME, for the cool image.
The UX folks often assume that a user’s need for assistance is proof of poor UXmanship, because the perfect UI design will be so intuitive, the user has known how to use it before he even knew the product existed. I have seen dozens of web applications that have a tiny, typo-riddled knowledge base that makes users feel bad about so much as needing to use it.
The tech comm professionals, on the other hand, regard UX as one of those stages in product planning and that has little to do with them. After all, they are the ones who get called in when the product is complete and ready for launching.
These two fields are both means to mediate the product/ service to the user in the best way possible. As previously mentioned, customer service is an inherent part of user experience. When designing an application one should assume that no matter how intuitive you think your design is, you need to cover all your bases, in terms of clarity and usability. If you don’t - it will cost you users. That there is a form of technical communication.
And so, if the allegory still needs clarification - these two disciplines circle around each other during different stages of the same cycle and constantly, tragically, never meet. Just like in the title’s namesake. Let’s see if we can break that spell.