A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Jerz, Dennis G

16 found.

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Blurbs: How to Write Them for Web Pages

On the web, a blurb is a line or short paragraph (20-50 words) that evaluates (or at least summarizes) what the reader will find at the other end of a link. A good blurb should inform, not tease. Usability testing will help you determine the best way to lay out your blurbs, but this document will help you write the content.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2001). Design>Web Design>Writing>Usability


Instructions: Write for Busy, Grouchy People

People hate reading instructions, and will only glance at them when they are hopelessly lost. By then, they will already be frusrated and behind schedule. Organize your instructions carefully, phrase them clearly, and make them as brief as you possibly can.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2000). Articles>Documentation>Writing


Navigation: An Often Neglected Component of Web Authorship

Web authors should follow web design conventions that account for the variety of ways users will try to navigate through their pages. While usability testing is the best way to ensure your site is really operating as you intend it to, this page offers a basic overview of basic navigation principles that most visitors will expect on most pages that they visit.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2000). Design>Web Design>Information Design>Usability


Newbie Web Author Checklist: Before You Publish That Project

If you've recently created your first website and you're getting ready to publish it, then this page is for you. I've helped hundreds of people create their first websites, and I really enjoy helping them move from their first tentative forays into electronic authorship to more advanced projects. Follow this checklist before you publish your web project, and you'll avoid many simple technical issues.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2002). Articles>Web Design>Writing


Oral Presentations: Delivering Technical Information Face-to-Face

This document describes how to write and deliver a formal oral presentation on a technical subject. The content is the most obvious component of an oral presentation -- after all, if you are talking, you had better have something worthwhile to say. But an oral presentation -- no matter how well-written -- is only as effective as its delivery. If you cannot hold the interest of your audience, your presentation is a failure.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2001). Presentations>Slideshows


Prototypes in Technical Writing: What are They?

A prototype is, generally speaking, a preliminary model of a larger, more detailed object. In technical writing, a prototype might be a full table of contents (with summaries for each major section) and one or two complete chapters. If conducting a survey is an important part of your project, your prototype might be a complete survey of a small number of subjects, designed to iron out the kinks in the questions you want to ask. A good prototype will help you identify flaws (such as incomplete research or mistaken assumptions) before you have multiplied their harmful effects by investing additional effort in them. A sculptor makes a scale model in clay -- a prototype -- before chiseling away at a full-sized chunk of marble. It it much easier to fix major mistakes in clay than it is to throw away a ruined chunk of marble and start over again.

Jerz, Dennis G. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (2000). Articles>Writing>Online>Technical Writing


Resumes -- Top 5 Problems

I regularly ask my students to submit resumes early in the semester. Here are the top 5 problems that typically cause stress for my students (and me) on resumes.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2001). Careers>Resumes>Writing


Short Reports: How To Write Routine Technical Documents  (link broken)

This document introduces two basic principles of technical communication -- meeting the reader's needs and using the inverted pyramid. It also describes the section headings typically found in a technical report.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2001). Articles>Writing>Reports


Technical Writing: What is It?

Technical writing is the presentation of information that helps the reader solve a particular problem. Technical communicators write, design, and/or edit proposals, manuals, web pages, lab reports, newsletters, and many other kinds of professional documents.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill (2000). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing


Top 5 Web Conventions (Writing and Design)

While following a list of guidelines will not provide you with nearly as much information as usability testing a prototype, this page presents five important conventions for writing and designing web text.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2003). Design>Web Design>Writing


Two Kinds of Titles for Web Pages (In-Context and Out-of-Context)

Most writers know the value of an informative title, but many beginning web authors don't know that each web page needs two kinds of titles. The in-context (IC) title always sits at the top of a page, with the rest of the document immediately beneath it. The in-context title of this page is 'Two Kinds of Titles for Web Pages (In-Context and Out-of-Context)'. The out-of-context (OOC) title is frequently displayed by search engines or archive pages, as part of a long sorted list.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2001). Design>Web Design>Usability


Usability Testing: 8 Quick Tips for Designing Tests

This document is intended to help beginners design questions to help them conduct a good usability testing session. If you already have a prototype you want to test, you've already drafted a few questions, and you're eager to learn how to make the most of your opportunity to learn from your users, then this document is for you.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2002). Articles>Usability>Methods>Testing


Usability Testing: What is it?

Better-written technical documents enable people to work with greater speed, recall, accuracy, and comfort. These qualities, when taken together, make up the usability factor. This document suggests some ways you might conduct tests to measure the usability of your technical documents. It covers the kind of data you should collect, how many test subjects you need, and how you should treat those subjects.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (2000). Articles>Usability>Methods


A Writing a Mechanism Description: Analyzing the Function, Appearance and Operation of an Object

This document describes how to write a mechanism description (also called an object description). A mechanism description is a short report designed to convey to the reader a technical understanding of the function, appearance, and operation of a particular object.  In one or two sentences, give the reader a quick overview of these three elements, before you launch into the details.

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (1998). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing


Writing for the Web: Illustration of the Need

Many on-line web tutorials give practical, useful technical advice on everything from non-clashing color combinations to effective uses of animated GIFs, but barely mention writing at all.  There seems to be an unspoken assumption that the content will be supplied by the marketing and PR people, by the technoweenies, or worse, the pointy-haired bosses (of 'Dilbert' fame).

Jerz, Dennis G. Seton Hill University (1998). Articles>Writing>Web Design


Writing for the Web: Why is the Advice so Scant?

Be careful when you go online searching for advice about writing for the Internet. The literature and composition teachers of the world -- the traditional arbiters of 'good' writing -- have been slow to adapt to the special requirements of electronic text. Turning the pages of a book is still (and will probably always be) the best way to read a novel; after all, the novel was designed for the book -- which was then a 'novel' device. But the Internet has spawned new writing genres (email, instant messages, FAQ pages, annotated lists of links, weblogs, personal home pages) which demand a different writing mode.

Jerz, Dennis G. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (2000). Articles>Web Design>Writing

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