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SunMicrophone Documentation

Price Waterhouse IAS home page
IA Information Architecture Challenge:
Map a information flow of the set up and use for the microphone which comes with a desktop workstation. The map will be used to create documentation to improve the out of the box experience.

IA Solution:
This microphone contained a battery. Accordingly it also had an on/off switch. This meant the document needed to show:
  • battery replacement procedure (maintenance)
  • connection to the system (set up)
    • placement for optimal performance.
    • set up (connecting the cables)
User Experience Challenge:
Improve Sun's "out of the box" experience by creating readily understandable document. Design a fully internationalized short and concise document to enhance the out of box user experience for Sun's flagship desktop workstation. Confirm the document conveys the information with usability tests.

Using the information map, we internationalized the document (making it work in all locales). We borrowed from the consumer electronics industry's reliance on illustrated documents. What couldn't be conveyed using illustrations could be by using international symbols. We worked closely with Sun's L10N (internationalization and localization) team to localize words.

Testing revealed not many user failed to notice or use the on/off switch. This would result in task failure with either the user failing to turn on the mic or battery failure. We determined we need to add a cautionary note to turn off the mic. Further testing revealed we also needed to add illustrate which position was on & which was off.

Visual Design Challenge:
Design the look and feel for documentation for the microphone accompanying its desktop workstations. Convey to the user NOT to turn on the system after hooking up all the cables.

We started by trying to use illustrations whenever possible. It became clear illustration could convey most of the information with the combination of illustration and minimal set of localized wording. This allowed us to condense what had been a a multi-page into a 2-sided 1-page folded fully visual document.

Client: Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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