Language and Communication: Essential Concepts for User Interface and Documentation Design

Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes (1999). Language and Communication: Essential Concepts for User Interface and Documentation Design. New York: Oxford University Press.

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Abstract

Computer interfaces and documentation can be difficult for any user, regardless of his or her level of expertise. Introducing concepts from linguistics and language learning, the book proposes a new approach to computer interface design. The book explains for the first time why the much hyped intuitive or user-friendly interface is often treated with derision by the user community. The author argues that software and hardware designers should consider human-computer communication in terms of fundamental language concepts such as meaning, context, function, variety and equivalence. Imagining an interface as a new language for the user can be an invaluable exercise, calling into question beliefs and assumptions about what users will or will not understand. The book is for technical writers, computer scientists and IT professionals. It does not presume any prior knowledge of language related concepts or terminology.

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