Summary and Info
Computer interfaces and documentation are notoriously difficult for any user, regardless of his or her level of experience. Advances in technology are not making applications more friendly. Introducing concepts from linguistics and language teaching, Language and Communication proposes a new approach to computer interface design. The book explains for the first time why the much hyped user-friendly interface is treated with such derision by the user community. The author argues that software and hardware designers should consider such fundamental language concepts as meaning, context, function, variety, and equivalence. She goes on to show how imagining an interface as a new language can be an invaluable design exercise, calling into question deeply held beliefs and assumptions about what users will or will not understand. Written for a wide range of computer scientists and professionals, and presuming no prior knowledge of language-related terminology, this volume is a key step in the on-going information revolution.Like many other authors in technical communication and interface design, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme challenges us to know our audience. What she does that is different from other authors is to take this challenge to a higher level. She asks us to think about our audience in terms of the language we use in creating user interfaces and documentation. She wants us to critically review each word that we place on a screen or in a manual and think about how and what that word or group of words communicates to a user. ... In the introduction, Kukulska-Hulme states that this 'book aims to educate and to stimulate reflection, and the reader should soon become persuaded thateven small changes, based on a better appreciation of language, can result in an improvement in design' (p. 18). This book is an excellent resource for all communicators and interface designers, and should be a required text for technical communication and interface design curricula. - Technical Communication"The following readers will find the book especially relevant and helpful: computer professionals, especially application designers and developers, and operating-system user interface designers, usability specialists and human factors specialists, technical authors, information developers, writers of training materials, writers of independent user guides to popular applications, educational software designers, educational technologists, instructional system designers, students following courses in computer science, cognitive science, communication science, human-computer interaction, and artificial intelligence, students of technical writing and professional and business communication, academic, industrial and commercial researchers in the computer and cognitive science communities, technical managers involved in system prototyping and development or in documentation development, Web site designers, both amateur and professional. - Mathematics Abstracts"
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