quality of written text depends on the tool

27 Jul 2007 - 5:46am
7 years ago
2 replies
356 reads
mprove
2004

Steven Pemberton cites[1,2] a study with the following result:

* Writing with a pen and paper, people produce less text, but of higher quality
* Writing with a computer, people write more text, but
- with a text editor they produce lower quality
- with a WYSIWYG editor they produce higher quality

Does anyone know the source of the study?
Matthias

[1] http://www.w3.org/2004/Talks/05-steven-XMLEuropeKeynote/
[2] http://iavoice.typepad.com/ia_voice/2006/12/christmas_ia_sp_2.html

--

User Experience and Interaction Design :: http://www.mprove.de

Comments

27 Jul 2007 - 3:28pm
Will Parker
2007

On Jul 27, 2007, at 4:46 AM, Matthias Mueller-Prove wrote:

> Steven Pemberton cites[1,2] a study with the following result:
>
> * Writing with a pen and paper, people produce less text, but of
> higher quality
> * Writing with a computer, people write more text, but
> - with a text editor they produce lower quality
> - with a WYSIWYG editor they produce higher quality
>
> Does anyone know the source of the study?
> Matthias
>
> [1] http://www.w3.org/2004/Talks/05-steven-XMLEuropeKeynote/
> [2] http://iavoice.typepad.com/ia_voice/2006/12/christmas_ia_sp_2.html

Matthias:

I don't know the source of the study, but I'd appreciate it if you
could post a link here when you find it. I'm particularly interested
in any insights the author(s) may have had regarding what factors
influenced the subjects' behavior.

- Will

Will Parker
wparker at ChannelingDesign.com

“I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If
that were the case, then Microsoft would have great products.” -
Steve Jobs

27 Jul 2007 - 8:02pm
vutpakdi
2003

Will Parker wrote:
> On Jul 27, 2007, at 4:46 AM, Matthias Mueller-Prove wrote:
>
>
>> Steven Pemberton cites[1,2] a study with the following result:
>>
>> * Writing with a pen and paper, people produce less text, but of
>> higher quality
>
> I don't know the source of the study, but I'd appreciate it if you
> could post a link here when you find it. I'm particularly interested
> in any insights the author(s) may have had regarding what factors
> influenced the subjects' behavior

I'd be interested as well, but I can make what I feel is a pretty good
case as to why writing with pen and paper yields higher quality prose:
writing with pen and paper is slower so it forces people to write
slower. I've also heard an old argument (from 10+ years ago) that
writing on the computer yielded lower quality prose because, when
editing, people couldn't see the whole page and therefore the flow
across sections of text was weaker. I would expect that this effect has
diminished over the years.

We've seen something similar in our software (for the oil and gas
industry). We've had some expert users of our software complain that
the software should be harder to use so as to force inexperienced users
to slow down and think about what they are trying to do and what values
they are using. I don't necessarily agree with them (of course), but
it's an interesting argument.

Ron

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