Not Self-Centered, User-Centered

In most jobs, you’ll find yourself sending many emails throughout the day. Quick little blurbs about when to meet for a team meeting, sans subject line, greeting, or farewell. And sometimes this approach to communicating is fine! Some bosses will prefer a quick, to the point email that lacks a human component. Just a simple, “Large conference room, 2PM,” gets the job done. In these cases it is acceptable to not follow the typical email etiquette if your boss wants communication to be this way. The important thing to remember is applying the appropriate form of communicating based on the user.

Happy group of finger smileys 2
Happy group of finger smileys 2

User-centered design is creating pieces of writing that keep the audience in mind on many different levels. The reader has certain expectations and characteristics, so keeping their perspective in mind will help send the message clearly. Also providing all background and relevant information is important in the design in order to improve understanding and overall context. For instance, sending a mass email to people with different roles will result in information being lost and confusion about what is specifically relevant to each person. Incorporating a user-centered design in emails means sending only the necessary bits and pieces of information to the people that actually need them. This approach will ultimately be more effective because people will not receive extra information that does not pertain to their role. Outlining only the specific information that will help meet the recipient’s expectations and goals is an effective way to communicate in any piece of writing at work. For writing a report to a supervisor, here is an in-depth outline of every section. Document design for applying user-centered design discusses the order and appearance of the content of a report. The article shares exactly what to include and where. Note that they give advice about the appropriate audience to address in the various sections of the document as well.

communicating1Two experts share insight in an interview including advice and why it is so important to excel in written communication. Success and reputation are dependent on a person’s ability to communicate. The experts explain that the two most common mistakes in workplace writing are carelessness and failure to consider the audience. User-centered design is built on the concept of considering the audience. When people fail to think about who they are writing to, then they impact their success and reputation. By tailoring pieces of writing and quick emails to the recipient, communication is ultimately more effective. The interviewees also touch on another important lesson of this online class concerning personal brand. Our writing directly influences our personal brand, so it is vitally important to only send out pieces of writing that will positively represent us. User-centered design, rhetorical awareness, email etiquette, online persona, and all the other tools explored in this class revolve around building a strong personal brand. Every piece of the puzzle is important when creating the person that other people will see in the workplace.

There are countless tips when it comes to business writing, dozens of do’s and don’ts. But tips can be ignored if the importance of them is not evident. With the digital age upon us, it is easy to forget about the writing tips and simplify a quick message. However, there are certain tips for writing that can enormously impact success, including knowing the difference between it’s and its. First and foremost, the importance of having good business writing is explained, with comments from CEOs and statistics about promotions. Then, there are 10 business writing tips cover all the bases. Number 10 is a tip that I had not heard before until this class and I now understand its importance. Be authentic.

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7 thoughts on “Not Self-Centered, User-Centered

  1. I like how you talk about work emails in “real terms”. Like in a lot of work places it isn’t a super strict environment so intense email etiquette wont apply, but that doesn’t mean you can be casual and unclear. I think your descriptions of user centered design were spot on and your sources seemed really credible! I liked how had an over all feel of taking all the things people say about work emails and bringing it to reality. My favorite source of yours was the last one- awesome cite! Your organization on this post was amazing and kept me reading and interested the whole time. Great job!

  2. Hi,
    Good job on your blog post! First off I really liked your title, I thought that it was clever and made me want to read your post for today. Your introduction was my favorite part of your post, I thought that your example of “Large conference room, 2 PM” was a perfect choice in order to get your point across efficiently. The way you then ended it and tied it all into applying the appropriate form of communication based on this user was a good start for the rest of your post.

  3. I loved how you began your post by stating that it is not always necessary to communicate through thorough and drawn out emails since too many of us are concerned with length and professionalism. Instead, you stated that it is extremely important to tailor your emails to a specific audience. Defining User Centered Design at the beginning of your body was helpful especially for those who are unfamiliar with its definition and function. After the initial introduction your personal examples and sources provided a massive amount of information and clarity on how UCD can be incorporated. Overall your post was clean, to the point, and backed by a massive amount of support. Great work!

  4. “Not Self-Centered, User-Centered”…?! Ha! Talk about one super sassy title. However, I found your title to be a great attention getter, not to mention super applicable to the topic! Going off of that, I also felt that you did a very thorough job explaining what exactly User-Centered Design is; emphasizing that the writing is focused on the audience. I really liked how you used an interview as one of your sources. I felt that it provided readers a welcoming article to read, and after clicking on the link I found the content to be very straight forward and simple.

    Thanks for the quick read,
    Tessa Snow

  5. I like that you applied situations to your writing, giving examples of appropriate versus inappropriate email situations gets the point across even more. Especially how these bad situations can be fixed or helped with user centered design. I like that you cited articles, but think that you could elaborate on them a little bit more in the future so that we really understand how they exemplify user centered design. I also like that you connected our writing and the way that we present ourselves back to our personal brand, way to integrate topics! I didn’t think about it before but you are right, what we say online and even in the business environment affects our personal brand and by extension our “business brand”. Great job this week!

  6. The beginning of your post was very interesting and accurate. It is so true that some emails do not need to be as formal and communicated as thoroughly as others. Stating the importance of the audience when explaining User-Centered Design was a great way to show how to best use the method. You clearly explained what exactly User-Centered Design entails, making it easy for the reader to understand. I think that you did a great job with your sources, especially the interview as I have not seen that in previous blog posts. I also really enjoyed your source containing 10 tips. Great job!

  7. Hey great job on your post! I really enjoyed reading it. I thought it was very fluid and kept my attention throughout. I especially appreciated the examples you gave of what being User-Centered is and is not. I thought that your use of an interview as a source was an excellent example and very unique. It truly set your post apart from previous ones I have read over. I also think it was the most informative for me and perhaps I am the audience you are centering! Overall, you did a great job–Keep up the good work!

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