Aug 31, 2012 Ξ Comments are off

Audience analysis

posted by Tenneti

Audience analysis is the process of arriving at the characteristics of the audience using formal and informal methods so as to direct all the documentation efforts towards the target audience.

Whether to inform an audience or explain to an audience, analyzing them helps you to pick up the right words, tone, approach, style, and delivery while preparing a document for them. The logical flow of the document and the resulting information flow are also determined by the audience and their characteristics.

As discussed earlier, we make documents to serve a purpose. It is the purpose that defines what document we need to make for the audience. If the user is new to the product and knows nothing, we need to make a step-to-step user guide. For sophisticated users, a briefing about the product and the options available would be enough. Hence, the knowledge level of the audience forms the significant part of audience analysis. You can gauge the knowledge level of the audience by asking these two basic questions:

  • What does the user know and what is it that the document should impart?
  • What level of detail is required for the user to neither get confused nor irked by including basic information?

Such an analysis will also help you in determining the scope and extent of your document.

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