Documentation and Usability (The Course)
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Documentation and Usability

Course Info

This course includes 1 attempt.

Informatics tools are designed to be used by a broad audience, everyone from entry level graduate students in biology to working professionals. Designing good user experiences can help increase usability of tools, but even for tools with necessarily complicated user interfaces, good documentation and tutorials can have an outsized impact on use and usability. This course is designed to teach principles of documentation and tutorials to tool developers in the ITCR and beyond.

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Course Material

  • About this course
  • Introduction
  • Motivation
  • Target Audience
  • Curriculum
  • References
  • Documentation: Why it’s worth the effort!
  • The context of bioinformatics tool development
  • Bioinformatics and usability
  • Why documentation is worth the time
  • References
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: Documentation: Why its worth the effort10 attempts allowed
  • Lessons we should borrow from user designers
  • Thinking about user-centered development
  • Exercise: Think about the user community for your tool
  • General principles about user-friendliness
  • References
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: Lessons we should borrow from user-centered design10 attempts allowed
  • What does good documentation look like?
  • Major components of good documentation
  • The documentation templates for this course
  • Exercise: setting up our templates for your own use
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: What does good documentation look like?10 attempts allowed
  • Creating a smooth getting started section
  • The goal of a getting started section
  • Aspects of a smooth getting started section
  • Good examples of getting started sections
  • Exercise: Create your own getting started section!
  • References
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: Creating a smooth getting started section10 attempts allowed
  • Creating helpful how-to examples
  • The goal of how-to examples
  • Characteristics of useful how-to examples
  • Good examples of How-to examples
  • Exercise: Create your own how-to examples!
  • References
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: Creating helpful how-to examples10 attempts allowed
  • Creating handy reference guides
  • The goal of a reference guide
  • Characteristics of handy reference guides
  • Good examples of reference guides
  • Exercise: Create your own reference guide!
  • References
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: Creating handy reference guides10 attempts allowed
  • Creating clarifying code comments
  • The goal of a code documentation
  • Characteristics of clarifying code comments
  • Exercise: Evaluate your own code’s comments
  • References
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: Creating clarifying code comments10 attempts allowed
  • Obtaining user feedback
  • The goal of user feedback
  • How to collect informative user feedback
  • Exercise 1: Create a plan for user feedback for your tool
  • Exercise 2: Determine a plan for usability testing
  • References
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: Obtaining user feedback10 attempts allowed
  • Other helpful features
  • The goal of these “other features”
  • FAQs
  • Cheatsheets
  • Videos
  • Forums/Knowledge Base
  • Exercise: Determine which (if any) of these features would work well for your tool
  • References
  • How to keep your documentation up to date
  • The goal of documentation maintenance
  • Keep your documentation in one, version-controlled place
  • Do not consider a tool fix done before its relevant documentation update is also completed
  • Make sure links work
  • Exercise 1: Add a reminder for documentation updates to your task manager
  • Exercise 2: Implement a URL checker
  • References
  • icon/quiz Created with Sketch.
    Quiz: How to keep your documentation up to date10 attempts allowed
  • About the Authors

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