Empathy in TCID is understanding the users’ and the clients’ wishes and goals. This requires communication, trust, and compassion about different types of people’s worldviews, feelings, and problems.
Project: Edited Sleeping Queen’s Instructions
In spring 2019, I rewrote the instructions to the game Sleeping Queens to enhance the instructions. I had two weeks to do this, could not change the rules or contents of the game or contact the original writers, and was required to keep the instructions 5 inches wide to fit in the game’s box.
- Technical Writing/Editing
I started by reading the original instructions to understand the game and decide what changes would be made. The pictures were fun and descriptive, most of the wording of the instructions was helpful, but the order and organization needed work.
In order to increase user understanding of the setup, I left the picture of the setup in the instructions. But to increase communication I added a text explanation/note (see side picture) to make sure that players know what the picture is of. To make sure that players are aware of what is required outside of the game I made sure to put the introduction describing the basic skill expected of players on the first page. After the introduction, I trusted that players knew what was expected of them and how to find the section they were looking for (the various sections set off by bolded, underlined headings).
I tried to make the instructions ordered in the way that the players would expect and need in order of importance. For example, I moved the Objective section to the top of the second page before the Setup section (as seen in the top photo) since that is one of the first things new players want to know. To be considerate to people playing their first turn while reading the instructions for the first time, I added a note about a unique card toward the start of the How to Play section (as seen in the bottom photo) in case they draw that card.
From this project, I showed abilities including communication, trust, and compassion with the audience and their skills and difficulties. The part that was missing was compassion and trust with/in the company and original author. While I left most of the original text, I did move around and change most of the organization of the instructions without considering the original writer’s reasons for why they organized it in that manner.
Empathy for the client and/or the original author is critical since they may have very good reasons for the way they want things (or the things they want) that the users are unaware of. Also, in the future, I intend to keep the original writer’s intent and purpose more in mind when analyzing and editing their work to ensure the final product fits their wishes and goals.
A rewritten set of instructions: