Documents as 'critical incidents' in organisation to consumer communication
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Official URL: http://visiblelanguagejournal.com/web/abstracts/ab...
A diary study tracked the paper documents received by nine UK informants over one month. Informants gave simple ratings of individual documents’ attractiveness and the ease of understanding them; more detailed reactions to the documents were gathered through informant diaries and follow-up interviews. The detailed reactions extended beyond the feedback gathered through the rating task. Informants showed sensitivity to the content, language, design and circumstances of receipt of documents, with indications that they developed opinions of originating organizations based on their experience of using their documents. Documents that failed to provide all the information needed, that failed to make their intentions clear (or obscured their intentions) or that were perceived as miss-targeted received negative comment. Repeat experiences of receiving either well- or poorly-conceived documents strengthened informant reactions to individual originating organizations. The paper concludes with recommendations for steps document originators, writers and designers need to take to prepare documents that enhance organization to consumer communication. We recommend that organizations evaluate and act on consumers’ reactions to their documents, beyond user testing in document development or scorecard ratings in use.