Creating Content that Supports Decision Making


Michael J. Albers


March 30, 2016 - 2:00 PM


March 30, 2016 - 3:00 PM

The psychology literature has carried articles on how people make decisions for many years, but, unfortunately, this information has not transferred over to technical communication. Yet, understanding how people perceive and use information for making decisions profoundly affects how well information communicates.

Based on past experience, people develop a rule-based strategy so they can reliably expect that “when X happens, then do Y.” Rule-based decisions reduce cognitive effort and work well within normal situations because the rules themselves evolved from past experience. When people recognize their rules no longer apply, they have to shift to knowledge-based decision making. Unlike decision making based on rules of “when X happens, then do Y,” a person has to fully develop their their understanding of the situation so they can make a decision.

This webinar looks at various factors that a technical communicator should understand to effectively communicate content that will be used for knowledge-based decision making. It will review people’s decision making strategies and consider how to best present information to support those strategies.

Takeaways. After the webinar, the participants will understand:

  • The importance of working with complex information and not over-simplifying the problem.
  • The difference between experience-based and knowledge-based decision making
  • The different strategies people use when reading decision-making content and methods of supporting those strategies.


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The Society for Technical Communication advances technical communication as the discipline of transforming complex information into usable content for products, processes, and services.