Advanced User Analysis

In science and engineering, the term “user analysis” refers to the method scientists and engineers use to determine the characteristics of users and how those characteristics influence the development of systems or other technological products. For plain language writers, the term is used similarly. For writing to be effective and meaningful, you need to analyze the characteristics of your target audience and understand who will be receiving your communication.

In this course, you’ll learn how to plan and evaluate writing and writing contexts so that communications can be targeted specifically to your intended audience.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Katherine McManus $565.00 28 Register
Online - Katherine McManus $630.00 30 Register

Instructional hours: 21

For online offerings, registration may close up to two business days before the course begins. Your course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. The interim dates/times are not your actual online class times.

What will I learn?

On completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the communication planning necessary to develop user-centred documents
  • Define usability as it relates to clear communication
  • Use several sources of information to analyze the users/tasks/contexts for a communication
  • Conduct a usability test
  • Revise a document based on user analysis so that it is clear and effective for the target audience

How will I learn?

  • Group assignments
  • Independent writing assignments
  • Extra reading
  • Online research and discussion groups

How will I be evaluated?

Evaluation methods may vary, but you will be evaluated using standard university evaluation approaches, such as a combination of examinations, projects, labs, papers, case studies, assignments and individual and group participation. An A to F letter grading scale will be used. To qualify for a certificate, you must successfully complete the program courses with an overall minimum B average.

Textbooks and learning materials

All required course materials are available online.

Recommended texts:

Cutts, Martin; Oxford Guide to Plain English. (2013) Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199669172.

Stephens, Cheryl; Plain Language in Plain English. (2010) ISBN: 978-0557537877.

Hardware and software requirements 

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See Online Programs and Courses for helpful videos and additional information.

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