A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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Typography is the study and process of typefaces; how to select, size, arrange, and use them in general. Traditionally, typography was the use of metal types with raised letterforms that were inked and then pressed onto paper. In modern terms, typography today also includes computer display and output.

 

26.
#20114

The ABC's of SGML/HTML: Understanding the Concept of CALS and SGML   (PDF)

Many technical communicators have heard about Computer-aided Acquisition and Logistic Support (CALS), or Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), but some do not understand the concept. This paper introduces CALS, the relationship between CALS and SGML, the structure of SGML, and how SGML affects technical communicators.

Perry, Lynn A. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Information Design>SGML

27.
#21216

The ABCs of Writing a Technical Glossary   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article identifies and explains format rules, style rules, and lexicographic conventions that have been shown to improve clarity and precision in a technical glossary. Rationale for the rules of language, presentation, and style are examined. The need to allow flexibility in following the rules is discussed in terms of strengthening the technical merit and vitality of the glossary. This article also describes the computer-display techniques and file-management system used in committee to develop U.S. Federal Standard 1037C, Glossary of telecommunication terms, and to display the results both in the meeting room and on the Internet between meetings.

Gray, Evie, William Ingram and Dennis Bodson. Technical Communication Online (1998). Articles>Editing>Technical Editing>Glossary

28.
#26692

The Abductive Inference: An Effective Tool for Science Communication

Suggests that the interrelated skills of understanding and representing (re-presenting) the abductive inference (often neglected in technical and professional communication pedagogy) are critical for the scientific communicator vis-a -vis kairos, and that science communication instructors ought to develop a pedagogy that includes the instruction of this skill.

Graham, S. Scott. Orange Journal, The (2005). Articles>Scientific Communication>Rhetoric

29.
#26501

ABET Countdown   (PDF)

How could four letters strike such fear in the hearts of normally stalwart faculty? Why would administrators loathe the mere mention of the word 'accreditation'? The source of their fear and frustration is a cycle of evaluation, assessment, and reporting that constitutes a six-year accreditation period.

Williams, Julia M. IEEE PCS (2006). Articles>Education>Academic>Engineering

30.
#21111

About Freeloading

Jess McMullin, a Usability Analyst at Cognissa, and a long time reader of WebWord, wrote me a lettera couple of days ago. His basic complaint was that I don't give my readers enough credit. I'm pretty sure that he feels offended that I have called my readers a bunch of 'freeloaders'. What does that mean and what is freeloading?

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (2001). Articles>Publishing>Online

31.
#33458

About Us Information on Websites

We found a 9% improvement in the usability of About Us information on websites over the past 5 years. But companies and organizations still can't explain what they do in one paragraph.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing

32.
#20624

"About Us" -- Presenting Information About an Organization on Its Website

Study participants searched websites for background information ranging from company history to management biographies and contact details. Their success rate was 70%, leaving much room for usability improvements in the 'About Us' designs.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2003). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Writing

33.
#34559

“About Us” Doesn’t Have to be All “Ugh.”

No matter how beautifully designed, if a site’s voice doesn’t ring true, it’s easy to spot an “ugh.” Rather than using this section of a site like a congratulatory press release, consider approaching “About Us” like a magazine’s Editor Letter.

Vollenweider, Julie. Brain Traffic (2009). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Business Communication

34.
#32942

About Web Standards

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), along with other groups and standards bodies, has established technologies for creating and interpreting web-based content. These technologies, which we call 'web standards', are carefully designed to deliver the greatest benefits to the greatest number of web users while ensuring the long-term viability of any document published on the Web. Designing and building with these standards simplifies and lowers the cost of production, while delivering sites that are accessible to more people and more types of Internet devices. Sites developed along these lines will continue to function correctly as traditional desktop browsers evolve, and as new Internet devices come to market.

Web Standards Group (2006). Articles>Web Design>Standards

35.
#26278

About Writing

Excellent answers to burning questions about who, what, where and why of writing ... even if you're not a writer to begin with.

Green, Chuck. Creative Latitude (2005). Articles>Writing

36.
#28628

Absence May Make the Heart Grow Fonder, But...

The adage 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' may hold true. Many people in long-distance relationships say that the being away from their partner makes the time they are together special; every day they are together is like Valentine's Day. The absence, they say, helps them to appreciate their partner more and makes the relationship stronger. In fact, people in long-distance relationships tend to maintain their relationships longer, be less likely to break up, and be more in love and satisfied than people in geographically close relationships. Long-distance partners think fond thoughts and some even report they enjoy the anticipation of the reunion and the excitement of being together. People in long-distance relationships tend to be more idealized and romanticized.

Stafford, Laura. Communication Currents (2007). Articles>Communication

37.
#29944

The Absolute Minimum Every Software Developer Absolutely, Positively Must Know About Unicode and Character Sets (No Excuses!)

Ever wonder about that mysterious Content-Type tag? You know, the one you're supposed to put in HTML and you never quite know what it should be? I've been dismayed to discover just how many software developers aren't really completely up to speed on the mysterious world of character sets, encodings, Unicode, all that stuff.

Spolsky, Joel. Joel on Software (2003). Articles>Language>Standards>Unicode

38.
#28065

Absolute PowerPoint

Before there were presentations, there were conversations, which were a little like presentations but used fewer bullet points, and no one had to dim the lights. A woman we can call Sarah Wyndham, a defense-industry consultant living in Alexandria, Virginia, recently began to feel that her two daughters weren't listening when she asked them to clean their bedrooms and do their chores. So, one morning, she sat down at her computer, opened Microsoft's PowerPoint program, and used it.

Parker, Ian. Ohio State University, The. Articles>Presentations>Software>Microsoft PowerPoint

39.
#27779

The Abstract Trap: Why Abstracts Are Bad for Persuasive White Papers

Abstracts, also known as executive summaries, are bad. As a matter of fact, they are really bad, and I stand nearly alone in my opinion. Abstracts are those summaries that typically stand in front of the core content of a white paper. They tend to include the key points about the white paper.

Stelzner, Michael A. WhitePaperSource (2006). Articles>Writing>Rhetoric>White Papers

40.
#36165

Abundance and User Experience

What happens when you look at the world through a lens of abundance? I propose that the best user experiences sit on top of an infrastructure layer of abundance. This generation of growth in the digital channel is directly attributable to abundance. Abundance means things get cheap because they are plentiful. Cheap servers, cheap software, cheap bandwidth all set the stage for great UX.

UX Magazine (2007). Articles>User Experience

41.
#37814

Abundance of Choice and Its Effect on Decision Making

What affects decision outcomes most is the actual context in which people make decisions. All kinds of things affect decision making—the type of decision someone is making, the decision maker’s level of expertise, the number of options available, the way and order in which options are presented, and many others. This column examines how the number of available options affects the decision-making process.

Roller, Colleen. UXmatters (2010). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>User Experience

42.
#21217

The Academe-Industry Partnership: What's In It For All of Us?   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

I'm always puzzled by the misunderstanding, distrust, and sometimes downright animosity between academic and practitioner members of the technical communication family. At its extremes, this attitude manifests itself in practitioners who consider research and theory to be ivory tower games with no relevance to their practice, and in professors who regard practitioners as ignorant anti-intellectuals. The vast majority of us, of course, would never admit to being either academic snobs or practitioner rednecks, but many of us evidence less extreme vestiges of these biases.

Hayhoe, George F. Technical Communication Online (1998). Articles>Collaboration>Industry and Academy

43.
#37855

The Academic Eye: Informing Visually   (members only)

What does it mean to be literate in the digital age? For many of us brought up in the world of print, it means finding ways images can convey information and argument. As academics, it means we need to develop the eye for seeing shapes in data, helping students learn and use images ethically and effectively, and understanding the demands on our counterparts in industry to be communicators skilled in words and images.

Barker, Thomas. Intercom (2011). Articles>Academic>Research

44.
#10397

Academic Programs in Information Design: The Bentley College Approach   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The focus of Bentley College's information design programs is the user, addressing universal behaviors (human factors) and task-related behaviors (goal-driven needs). All too often in the past, professional communicators have rushed to design external information products (books, illustrations, online help systems, and the like) to support the information requirements of a system. Increasingly, however, solutions are found much deeper in the system design, a concept we call knowledge-infused design.

Gribbons, William M. Technical Communication Online (2000). Articles>Education>Information Design

45.
#22985

An Academic Strikes Back: Transgressing the Genre of Bureaucracy

The rhetorical event described in this article shows that the rhetor can introduce an alien genre into a community of practice and createa kairotic moment.

Tachino, Tosh. Newsletter of the CASLL (2003). Articles>Language>Rhetoric

46.
#18616

Academic Writing: Scientific Reports

This handout describes an organizational structure commonly used to report experimental research in many scientific disciplines, the IMRAD format: Introduction, Methods, Results, And Discussion. (This format is usually not used in reports describing other kinds of research, such as field or case studies, in which headings are more likely to differ according to discipline.) Although the main headings are standard for many scientific fields, details may vary; check with your instructor, or, if submitting an article to a journal, refer to the instructions to authors.

University of Wisconsin (2003). Articles>Scientific Communication>Reports

47.
#36610

Accent Folding for Auto-Complete

A common assumption about internationalization is that every user fits into a single locale like “English, United States” or “French, France.” It’s a hangover from the PC days when just getting the computer to display the right squiggly bits was a big deal. One byte equaled one character, no exceptions, and you could only load one language’s alphabet at a time. This was fine because it was better than nothing, and because users spent most of their time with documents they or their coworkers produced themselves. Today users deal with data from everywhere, in multiple languages and locales, all the time. The locale I prefer is only loosely correlated with the locales I expect applications to process.

Bueno, Carlos. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Web Design>Localization>Unicode

48.
#10318

Accentuate the Negative: Obtaining Effective Reviews Through Focused Questions   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

How you ask a question strongly determines the type of answer that you will obtain. For effective documentation reviews, whether they are conducted internally or externally as part of usability testing, it's important to use precise questions that will provide concrete information on which to base revisions. This paper proposes an approach to obtaining useful feedback that emphasizes negative, 'what did we do wrong?' questions. This approach focuses limited resources on areas that need improvement rather than areas that already work well and that don't require immediate improvement.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Technical Communication Online (1997). Articles>Usability>Methods>Testing

49.
#21452

Accentuation in Technical Illustration

There are various ways to accentuate a specific part in its installation position. However in order to keep the printing cost as low as possible, it is recommended to opt for stylistic devices that are all in black and white.

ITEDO Software. Articles>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration>Color

50.
#20454

Accepting Roles Created for Us: The Ethics of Reciprocity   (members only)

Grounded in theories of feminist research practices and in two empirical studies we conducted separately, our argument is that seeing reciprocity as a context-based process of definition and re-definition of the relationship between participants and researcher helps us understand how research projects can benefit participants in ways that they desire.

Powell, Katrina M. and Pamela Takayoshi. CCC (2003). Articles>Workplace>Ethnographies>Gender

 
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