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Communication Design and Communication Research Introduction and Overview Menno de Jong, UT/ECU, 2007.

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Presentation on theme: "Communication Design and Communication Research Introduction and Overview Menno de Jong, UT/ECU, 2007."— Presentation transcript:

1 Communication Design and Communication Research Introduction and Overview Menno de Jong, UT/ECU, 2007

2 Communication Design A systematic, research-supported procedure of solving communication problems in a professional and organizational setting Applicable to:  Communication means (brochures, websites, forms, etc.)  Communication campaigns  Communication policy  Communication structures

3 Features of Communication Design ► ► Highly trained communication specialists ► ► Phasing of activities ► ► Use of relevant theories + research findings ► ► Use of applied research techniques ► ► Organizational context

4 Phasing of Activities Analysis Design Development Implementation Evaluation

5 Four Design Paradigms ► Instrumental paradigm ► Problem exploration and design specifications ► Pragmatic paradigm ► Rapid prototyping, reflection and fine-tuning ► Communicative paradigm ► Consensus within the design team ► Artistic paradigm ► Connoisseurship, freedom Visscher-Voerman, Gustafson & Plomp (2000)

6 Why Is Applied Research Needed? ► Problems with empathy  Cultural differences with receivers/users  Functional and/or informational complexity  Dominant internal focus in many design processes  Receivers/users are not the top priority  Insufficient role-taking skills  Differences in perspective  “Knowledge effect” / “curse of expertise”  Etc.

7 Empathy? Pictures vs words Not taking You get pregnant

8 Empathy? A fish recipe

9 Empathy? ds0157 How many US institutions have such short names and addresses? How many US educational programs are a one-day program?

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11 Applied Communication Research Campagne or message design ► Pre-design research ► Formative evaluation research ► Summative evaluation research Overall communication design ► Communication audits (internal/external) ► Identity, image and reputation research ► Service quality, customer satisfaction research

12 Formative vs. Summative Evaluation

13 Criteria for Applied Research ► Validity ► Free of systematic measurement errors ► Reliability: ► Free of random errors ► Stable across measurements ► Feasibility ► Practical relevance of the results

14 Reliability vs. Validity

15 Pre-Design Research ► Audience analysis ► Functional analysis ► Needs assessment ► Task analysis ► Contextual inquiry ► Behavioral determinants research

16 Functional Analysis ► Determine communication goals ► Determine target audience segments ► Analyze functions required for successful communication (per audience segment) ► Derive design specifications from functions

17 Example of a Function Description Case: Public information about legal name change To inform (speech act) readers who consider changing their name (target audience) about the possibilities they have (subject), so that they can decide whether it would be worthwhile in their situation to legally change their name (effect)

18 Target audience segments Readers who want to: ► Make an official distinction between their first and their family name ► Change their first name ► Change the family name of their minor child into the name of his/her mother, stepfather, foster parents, or mother’s new partner ► Change their own name into the name of their mother, stepfather, foster parents, or mother’s new partner ► Change a ridiculous or inconvenient family name ► Change a widespread, non-distinctive family name ► Change a foreign family name ► Correct an official misspelling in their family name ► Correct a mistake made at the registration of birth ► Add another name to their family name ► Object to the name change of someone else (being an interested party)

19 Three Main Functions ► To inform (speech act) readers who consider changing their name (target audience) about the possibilities they have (subject), so that they can decide whether it would be worthwhile in their situation to legally change their name (effect) ► To instruct (speech act) readers who have decided to try to legally change their name (target audience) about the official procedure (subject), so that they are able to start the procedure and take all actions required during the procedure (effect) ► To inform (speech act) readers who have decided to try to legally change their name (target audience) about the official procedure (subject), so that they are able to understand and judge the way their application is handled (effect)

20 Task Analysis Case: Donating plasma

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22 Behavioral Determinants Research Theory of Planned Behavior

23 Behavioral Determinants Research Technology Acceptance Model

24 Formative Evaluation ► Evaluation function: ► Verification, trouble-shooting, choice-supporting ► Source of information: ► Expert-judgment-focused, reader/user-focused ► Task for participants: ► In-use, non-use ► Data collection strategy: ► Laboratory, real-life

25 Formative Evaluation Methods ► Think-aloud protocols (concurrent/retrospective) ► Constructive interaction ► Plus-minus method / Focus ► Eye-tracking ► Focus groups / interviews ► Online questionnaire / server logs / online feedback ► Unguided expert evaluation ► Expert evaluation with heuristics ► Expert evaluation with scenarios

26 Think-aloud Variations ► Concurrent think-aloud protocols: users verbalize their thoughts while carrying out tasks ► Retrospective think-aloud protocols: users carry out tasks, and afterwards verbalize their thoughts while watching a recording of their process ► Constructive interaction: teams of two users collaborate to carry out tasks; their natural interaction replaces the think-aloud protocols

27 Summative Evaluation ► Zero and end measurement of effects ► Dissemination, Change in knowledge, attitudes, behaviors, Awareness, Appreciation ► Tracking or monitoring studies ► Periodic measurements during the campaign

28 Plus-minus method ► Readers read a document and put pluses and minuses in the margin to anchor reading experiences ► Interview to explore the reasons behind every plus or minus

29 Heuristics

30 Heuristics

31 Usabilty testingImproving artifacts Usability practice Developing and validating methods Investigating the revision phase Developing pre-design methods Studying problems of empathy Applying usability methods in new contexts Studying usability testing in practice Academic contributions on usability testing Writing research Methodology

32 Two Research Proposals ► Inventory of pre-design research techniques ► Literature research ► Exemplar use of techniques ► Outcome: Journal article (comprehensive overview) ► Interpretive research into the US visa application documents ► Document analysis ► Reader research (plus-minus method? CIT?) ► Outcome: Journal article (empirical study)


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