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The Diagnosis-Resolution Structure in Troubleshooting Procedures . David K . Farkas Dept. of Human Centered Design & Engineering University of Washington Seattle, Washington, USA http://faculty.washington.edu/farkas/ [email protected] Big idea.

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The diagnosis resolution structure in troubleshooting procedures l.jpg

The Diagnosis-Resolution Structure in Troubleshooting Procedures

David K . Farkas

Dept. of Human Centered Design & Engineering

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington, USA

http://faculty.washington.edu/farkas/

[email protected]


Big idea l.jpg
Big idea Procedures

  • Troubleshooting procedures always exhibit a diagnosis-resolution structure

  • Understanding this structure leads to important insights for design


Presentation vs proceedings paper l.jpg
Presentation vs. proceedings paper Procedures

  • Proceedings paper has more depth

  • Presentation has more illustrations and explicit guidelines

  • The presentation slides are available here:

    http://faculty.washington.edu/farkas/IPCC.pptx


Acknowledgments l.jpg
Acknowledgments Procedures

  • Connie Olberg (formerly) at Microsoft and her user support team


Background what are troubleshooting procedures l.jpg

Background: Procedures What Are Troubleshooting Procedures?


Troubleshooting content is problem focused l.jpg
Troubleshooting content is problem focused Procedures

Is this your problem?Here is how to fix it.

Problem = Symptom


Similar to medical diagnosis and treatment l.jpg
Similar to medical diagnosis and treatment Procedures

  • Similar to a doctor asking a patient to describe symptoms and then indicating treatment

  • Even more similar to a first-aid manual


In most cases this problem is a bug incompatibility or component failure l.jpg
In most cases this problem is a bug, incompatibility, or component failure

EZGrab 3.0 freezes or closes unexpectedly

My computer no longer plays audio or produces any sound from the speakers or headset


Tps are written for l.jpg
TPs are written for . . . component failure

  • Support Centers/KBs (Knowledge Bases)

  • Help systems and manuals

  • Forum posts

  • Etc.






Forums are an alternative to tps l.jpg
Forums are an alternative to TPs printing problems (excerpt)

2/20/09 6:17 pm

Tony: I used to be able to open two different ppt files in different windows. But somehow when I open the file it shows up in only one window.

2/20/09 11:46 pm

Mike MVP: Open both your presentations, then select the View Tab, Arrange All. Always a good idea to mention which version of PowerPoint your using.

2/21/09 8:46 pm

Tony: Maybe you misunderstand what I meant. I mean that when you open two ppt files, the screen will show . . .


The diagnosis resolution structure the diagnosis phase l.jpg

The Diagnosis-Resolution Structure: printing problems (excerpt)The Diagnosis Phase


Tps always exhibit a diagnosis resolution structure simplest case l.jpg

M printing problems (excerpt)

TPs always exhibit a diagnosis-resolution structure: Simplest case

Diagnosis

phase

Title

Describes symptom

Resolution

phase

Explains method


More complex problems will exhibit multiple symptoms l.jpg
More complex problems will exhibit multiple symptoms printing problems (excerpt)

Title

I cannot connect to the service

  • Possible causes with their own specific symptoms:

    • Browser settings

    • Router problems

    • Firewall settings

    • Wi-Fi Internet connection problems

    • Parental control software

    • Service is down

    • Older version of client software


Multiple symptoms in a flat list l.jpg

S printing problems (excerpt)

S

S

S

Multiple symptoms in a flat list

I cannot connect to the service

Title

Broad symptom

Diagnosisphase

Specific symptoms


Tree of symptoms l.jpg

S printing problems (excerpt)

S

S

S

S

S

Tree of symptoms

Broad symptom

Title

More specific symptoms

Diagnosisphase

Still more specific symptoms


Slide20 l.jpg

Tree of symptoms printing problems (excerpt)

=

“I am having trouble with my modem”

Statements of symptoms

S

S

S

S


Isolating the cause l.jpg
Isolating the cause printing problems (excerpt)

More specific statements of symptoms

S

S

S


Identifying a successful method we hope l.jpg

M printing problems (excerpt)

Identifying a successful method—we hope


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The Diagnosis-Resolution Structure: printing problems (excerpt)The Resolution Phase


Key distinction method vs solution path l.jpg
Key distinction: Method vs. solution path printing problems (excerpt)

  • Method: A single procedure intended to solve a problem

  • Solution path: A broader approach to solving a problem, usually consisting of several related methods

P

M M M

=


A solution path consisting of multiple methods fixed sequence l.jpg

M printing problems (excerpt)

M

M

A solution path consisting of multiple methods(fixed sequence)

J

J

Resolution phase

J

Contact your system administrator


A solution path consisting of multiple methods variable sequence l.jpg

M printing problems (excerpt)

M

M

A solution path consisting of multiple methods(variable sequence)

J

J

Resolution phase

J


A solution path consisting of multiple methods fixed sequence27 l.jpg

M M M printing problems (excerpt)

M M M

M M M

A solution path consisting of multiple methods(fixed sequence)

Resolution phase

J

J

J

J

J

J

J

J

J


A solution path consisting of multiple methods variable sequence28 l.jpg

M M M printing problems (excerpt)

M M M

M M M

A solution path consisting of multiple methods(variable sequence)

Resolution phase

J

J

J

J

J

J

J

J

J


You can empower users to choose solution path based on their own priorities l.jpg

P printing problems (excerpt)

You can empower users to choose solution path based on their own priorities

Path splits with user decision

P

P


Guidelines 1 general guidelines 2 guidelines from diagnosis resolution structure l.jpg

Guidelines: printing problems (excerpt)1. General guidelines2. Guidelines from diagnosis-resolution structure


General guidelines tech comm instructional design etc l.jpg
General guidelines (tech printing problems (excerpt)comm, instructional design, etc.)

  • To minimize expenditure of time and effort, strive for clarity, brevity, etc

  • To minimize user’s risk of failure, provide sufficient information, accurate information, etc

  • To motivate users to attempt and stick with TPs, strive for an unintimidating appearance and offer encouragement


Example motivating users at the outset of a tp l.jpg
Example: Motivating users at the outset of a TP printing problems (excerpt)

This method has a high probability of success. It is lengthy but easy to follow.


Guidelines 1 general guidelines 2 five guidelines from diagnosis resolution structure l.jpg

Guidelines: printing problems (excerpt)1. General guidelines2. Five guidelines from diagnosis-resolution structure


Users must be to identify the tp that applies to their problem l.jpg
Users must be to identify the TP that applies to their problem

  • Phrase titles and symptom descriptions carefully (at audience’s level)

  • Error messages are excellent symptoms, especially when they are specific to a particular problem

  • Sometimes you need two articles, each articulating a different symptom


Be wary of titles that express causation l.jpg
Be wary of titles that express causation problem

The application will not initialize


Two titles each describing very different symptoms of the same problem l.jpg
Two titles, each describing very different symptoms of the same problem

My connection speed is sometimes very slow

The status light sometimes flashes red


Strive for a specific understanding of the problem l.jpg
Strive for a specific understanding of the problem same problem

  • The more you know about the problem, the simpler the resolution phase


Favor variables sequences favor user empowerment l.jpg
Favor variables sequences. Favor user empowerment. same problem

  • When possible, bypass methods and solution paths that won’t work

  • When possible, allow the user to choose a solution path that meets their particular needs


Decide how deeply to explain the cause of the problem l.jpg
Decide how deeply to explain the cause of the problem same problem

  • Most users don’t care about the cause

  • When user actions brought on the problem, it is necessary to explain how to prevent a recurrence


Be wary of very difficult methods be wary of too many methods l.jpg
Be wary of very difficult methods. Be wary of too many methods

  • Lengthy procedures and articles are demotivators

  • Difficult methods are demotivators

    • Recognize the law of diminishing returns

    • When appropriate, hand off to live support, etc


Tps will remain important l.jpg
TPs will remain important methods

  • User’s often need assistance

  • Vendor is often the best or only source of reliable information

  • Finding a balance:

    • Crafted content

    • Remote intervention

    • Users helping users


Thank you l.jpg
Thank you methods



Complex tp from a microsoft kb article excerpt l.jpg
Complex TP from a Microsoft methodsKB article (excerpt)



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