All writing done in the “business-world” needs to be tailored specifically to your audience, and meeting their needs and not your own. I believe this is often forgotten, and the writer unknowingly writes to please themselves. Whether writing a memo, pitch book, or quarterly report, user-centered design should be incorporated at all levels. Via Purdue Owl, user-centered design is considering your readers expectations, goals, and characteristics when reading the document. I believe this is very important in not only your wording, but also the interface of the document or application. Many people will immediately disregard a document or application if it is not visually appealing to them. As a millennial who is often under scrutiny, we need to make sure we are as effective and efficient as possible in our writing.
Another article from Purdue Owl discusses how to apply what they termed HATS methodology. Purdue Owl states using HATS “creates documents that are easy to access, easy to navigate, and easy to remember.” That one sentence perfectly puts together what writing with user centered design is. The acronym HATS stands for headings, access, typography and space. The idea that resonated with me the most is that we often believe all white space on a page needs to be filled, instead this makes the page feel overwhelming and cramped. Purdue Owl suggests that writers should step back from their document and hold it at a distance. Traditional essays will look like a couple big blocks of text, while a well written report will have small blocks of concise information with obvious headings and well wrapped infographics. This is not only extremely important in the work-place, but also in the classroom. When presenting to upper level management or a professor, they want to be able to find the information to form their own opinion on it as quickly as possible. As millennials with many negative stereotypes attached to us, practicing these techniques can increase our credibility in the workplace immensely. Something as simple as one effective report can immediately gain the respect of your superiors.
As many of us millennials are on the job hunt our resumes and cover letters will be the most important documents we create. This article from UX Movement gives a very in depth look at how user centered design can be used in resumes. The article talks about a common filtering process used when choosing potential job applicants. First, any “maybe” resumes are thrown in the trash. Once the maybes are gone, the remaining resumes are scanned to make sure the applicant has the appropriate qualifications for the job. Last the writer looks for something compelling, and those applicants are invited for interviews. Reading that some resumes are thrown away without even reading a word should not be discouraging, but should excite you! This means that by simply formatting your resume in a way that appeals to the end user, you are more likely to get the job than almost half of the applicants! UX Movement states that “you need to show the company not why they need what you do, but why they need you specifically to do it.” This idea is nothing other than user centered design at it’s core. I think this is often over looked when writing resume, and this one idea alone can get your foot in the door of a prospective company. While I really like the Leeds resume format, this article does provide another template that can be used when creating a resume.
By implementing user-centered design in not only our professional writing, but our day to day writing we can drop many of the negative stereotypes attached to millennials and get that dream job we all want.