Some Thoughts for Ya'll Drupal/Civicspace Teachers, UI Designers, and Doc Writers

Today, while talking to Kieran from Civicspace labs, I mentioned that Civicspace would benefit from taking a more informal tone in their interface, documentation, and training. I supported this argument with, "well... ummm... there's -- like -- these studies... -- or something -- somewhere..."

You're damn straight that is powerful evidence!

Anyways, being a man of high moral fiber, I couldn't let it stand at just that. So here's some evidence in quotation format from bad ass mofo Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users:

Exerpts from Conversational writing kicks formal writing's ass

"Unless the book is a reference book, where precision matters over understanding, and the writing is meant to be referred to not read and learned from, there are almost NO good reasons for a tech book to be written in a formal (i.e. non-conversational) style. Much of the time, it's an indication that the author is thinking way too much about himself, and how he will be perceived. (Or she, of course, but to be perfectly sexist here--this does seem to be more of a guy thing--the "I'm more technically serious than thou" phenomenon.)" -- Kathy Sierra

"In five out of five studies, students who learned with personalized text performed better on subsequent transfer tests than students who learned with formal text. Overall, participants in the personalized group produced between 20 to 46 percent more solutions to transfer problems than the formal group." -- [Roxana Moreno and Richard Mayer, the Journal of Educational Psychology, issue 93 (from 2000)]

"... people read a story differently and remember different elements when the author writes in the first person (from the "I/we" point of view) than when the author writes in the third person (he, she, it, or they). (Graesser, Bowers, Olde, and Pomeroy, 1999). Research summarized by Reeves and Nass (1996) shows that, under the right circumstances, people "treat computers like real people."

Think about it, won't you?  And no, Mr. Professor, I do not give a tinkers damn about MLA format, or presenting a full fledge bullet proof paper in blog format while winding my day down with a beer. Thank you.