Script theory in technical communication

In the latest episode of the 10-Minute Tech Comm podcast, Ryan Weber talks to Kirk St. Amant about script theory and prototypes, as concepts for researching User Experience. They discuss Kirk’s article “Of Scripts and Prototypes: A Two-Part Approach to User Experience Design for International Contexts“, which was published in Intercom and is also available on

Script theory examines patterns of action in particular contexts. It proposes individuals often plan their behaviour in a context based upon what they expect to take place in that context. These factors influence a person’s expectations of usability in each setting.

Script theory could be useful in understanding people’s view and expectations towards technical documentation. It might also help us reframe User Assistance when it is used in different contexts, such as when it is delivered via chatbots. Sometimes, people have prejudices against user guides. These may not be there if the content was delivered in a different context.

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