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.



Analysis of Web Content Delivered to a Mobile Computing Environment

The purpose of my research was to analyze web content delivered to the mobile computing environment with two goals in mind: first, to determine if the content lost contextual relevance in the mobile environment and, second, to see if a set of effective design principles could be applied towards the mobile environment. My research combines a literature review in conjunction with a survey that encompasses both quantitative and qualitative methods to analyze top-rated web sites in the mobile environment.

Perreault, Anthony. Xchanges (2009). Articles>Web Design>Mobile>Assessment


Analysis, Plus Synthesis: Turning Data into Insights

In this article, I will outline an approach to gleaning insights from primary qualitative research data. This article is not a how-to for creating the design tools that are often the outputs of primary qualitative user research—such as personas, mental models, or user scenarios. Instead, it identifies an approach to generating overarching insights, regardless of the design tool you want to create.

Ellerby, Lindsay. UXmatters (2009). Articles>User Centered Design>Interviewing>Research


Analytics According to Captain Kirk

By seeing all of the available data in one chart, associations, patterns and conclusions can be drawn simply by comparing the relationships as they are presented. This is something that I learned from Edward Tufte.

Bailey, Matt. Lyris (2008). Articles>Web Design>Technical Illustration>Log Analysis


Analyze Your Web Site Traffic

If you run a Web site, you're probably already thinking about tracking and analyzing the traffic it gets. Knowing how many pages are accessed, when, by whom, and for what purposes can mean the difference between simply having a Web site and building a sound Web strategy. Understanding how people use your site can help you--and your sales and marketing team--generate more traffic. If you can track your audience, learn which pages and resources are most popular, and identify technical problems and system bottlenecks, you can deliver a better experience. And that's the best way to keep people coming back to your site.

Aviram, Mariva H. Builder.com (1998). Articles>Usability>Assessment


Analyzing and Reporting Usability Data

The Just-In-Time (JIT) method of data analysis has the virtue of immediacy, rapid turn-around, and team involvement; however there are several disadvantages. First, this type of analysis is problem-focused, rather than goal-focused. Long lists of problems are generated, but there is no clear relation to specific usability goals. Second, developers may not be able to fix things immediately so the context of the problem may be lost when it is time to fix the problem. Third, the JIT analysis requires that the entire development team observe the testing sessions since problems may occur that are the responsibility of different developers.

Wilson, Chauncey E. Usability Interface (1997). Articles>Usability>Testing>Reports


Analyzing Documents to Understand Tags   (PDF)

SGML is a language for describing the structure of a document. The language involves using a system of tags for elements of a document. Document analysis is the process of discovering the elements of a document and understanding how the parts work together to form the document.

Coggin, William O. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Information Design>SGML


Analyzing the Analysts

An information architecture analysis of top business analysts' web sites.

Fox, Chiara and Keith Instone. Argus Center (2001). Articles>Content Management


The Analyzing the Apple: Persuasive Visual Rhetoric in the Campaign Literature of an Apple Party Candidate, St. Petersburg, Russia

In this article, I illustrate the essential role that visual rhetoric plays in a specific example of persuasive documentation. I focus narrowly on one element of persuasive visual rhetoric by examining the credibility of an Apple political candidacy flyer.

Herrington, TyAnna K. Argumentation (2000). Articles>Rhetoric>Policies and Procedures


Analyzing the Interaction Between Facilitator and Participants in Two Variants of the Think-Aloud Method   (PDF)   (members only)

This paper focuses on the interaction between test participants and test facilitator in two variants of the think-aloud method. In a first, explorative study, we analyzed think-aloud transcripts from two usability tests: a concurrent think-aloud test and a constructive interaction test. The results of our analysis show that while the participants in both studies never explicitly addressed the facilitator, the think-aloud participants showed more signs of awareness of the facilitator than the participants in the constructive interaction test. This finding may have practical implications for the validity of the two methods.

van den Haak, Maaike J. and Menno D.T. de Jong. IEEE PCS (2005). Articles>Usability>Testing>Methods


Analyzing Web-Based Help Usage Data to Improve Products   (PDF)

This paper describes how user assistance can streamline deliverables and improve product design by analyzing usage patterns from server-based content. We can then base decisions about how to improve deliverables on a thorough understanding of how customers use help content to find information and solve problems. This approach enables user assistance to add more value to both our companies and our customers by creating a three-way dialog between user assistance, the customer, and the product team. It also broadens the definition of assistance to include helping to design products that people can use without the need for instructions.

Raiken, Nancy. STC Proceedings (2005). Articles>Documentation>Audience Analysis>Log Analysis


Analyzing Your Traffic   (PDF)

Discover your site’s findability triumphs and tragedies with traffic analysis systems.

Walter, Aarron. Building Findable Websites (2008). Articles>Web Design>Audience Analysis>Log Analysis


Analyzing Your Users and Needs Before Creating the Help Deliverables; Interview with Nicky Bleiel

In this podcast, Nicky Bleiel says we should talk to as many users as we can — conducting on-site visits, sending surveys, gathering information from Marketing, Support, and other departments — so we can have a better understanding of our users’ needs and the formats and mediums that will work best for them. After completing this audience and needs analysis, we can then go out and create the deliverables that will best serve our users.

Bleiel, Nicky and Tom H. Johnson. Tech Writer Voices (2008). Articles>Interviews>Documentation>User Centered Design


Anatomy 101

You may have noticed that an uppercase A is drastically different than its lowercase counterpart (a), and indeed, very different than the letter Z. Before we can understand the differences between letters, we must understand the parts that make up letters.

Opsteegh, Michael. Putting Your Best Font Forward (2009). Articles>Typography


Anatomy 201: Type Measurements

When discussing or working with type, it’s not only important to understand the anatomy of the parts of letterforms, but it’s also important to understand how type is measured. We’re accustomed to measuring things in inches, yards, or miles, or, heaven forbid, the metric system. Type, on the other hand, has its own system of measurement of which most of us have a vague understanding. For example, most of us understand that normal body text is set between 10 and 12 points, and 72 points is much too large for everyday use. Few of us, however, really know what a point really is.

Opsteegh, Michael. Putting Your Best Font Forward (2009). Articles>Typography>Assessment


Anatomy of a Corporate Intranet Project   (PDF)

Today more and more companies use intranets to communicate with employees and to help them perform their jobs. An intranet is an internal network that operates like the Internet.

Rhines, Becky. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Web Design>Intranets


The Anatomy of a Help File: An Iterative Approach

This article presents an approach to Help file design that focuses on creating a task-centered user experience and accommodates an iterative development strategy. This methodology allows the introduction of user assistance into early test phases--not only getting earlier validation for its accuracy, but also supporting quality assurance testing by serving as the test scripts for interactions with the user interface. This approach can also be a self-contained strategy--that is, one that allows an iterative approach to user assistance development even if the rest of product development operates on a waterfall model.

Hughes, Michael A. UXmatters (2007). Articles>Documentation>Methods>Help


And Now, From the Company that Brought You the Seven-Eyed Trout: Risk Communication in Action   (PDF)

Risk communication is usually defined as an interactive process of exchanging information and opinions among individuals, groups, and institutions or agencies concerning a risk or potential risk to human health, safety, or the environment. It draws from established principles of sociology and psychology to communicate with hostile or frightened audiences about sensitive issues. The demonstration illustrates the most important principles of risk communication as they are applied to a fictitious community.

Durbin, Margaret E., Linnea E. Wahl, S.T. Molony, Susan Klein and Carol Wade. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Risk Communication


"And Then She Said": Office Stories and What They Tell Us about Gender in the Workplace   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article calls for a rhetorical perspective on the relationship of gender, communication,and power in the workplace. In doing so, the author uses narrative in two ways.First, narratives gathered in an ethnographic study of an actual workplace, a plasticsmanufacturer, are used as a primary source of data, and second, the findings of this studyare presented by telling the story of two women in this workplace. Arguing that genderin the workplace, like all social identities, is locally constructed through the micro practicesof everyday life, the author questions some of the prevailing assumptions about genderat work and cautions professional communication teachers, researchers, and practitionersagainst unintentionally perpetuating global, decontextualized assumptionsabout gender and language, and their relationship to the distribution and exercise of power at work.

Weiland Herrick, Jeanne. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (1999). Articles>Collaboration>Workplace>Gender


And Then There Were Adwords... An Introduction

If you have been looking into Internet marketing, you have probably seen Adwords mentioned now and again. Why don’t we cover the basics of the program. Adwords is the name of the pay-per-click system offered by Google on its search engine.

Pires, Halstatt. Ezine Articles (2006). Articles>Web Design>E Commerce>Search


And They Said Computers Were Just a Fad   (PDF)

Maslowski documents the rapidly changing technologies used by the technical communication profession.

Maslowski, David S. Intercom (2000). Articles>Technology>History


Android and iPhone App Design: Is It Twice the Work?

Less than one year ago, most of my clients were requesting iPhone app design. Today they are still asking for iPhone app design but many also say, “Do you do Android, too?” Most of them plan to start with one platform, see how things go, and then decide whether to invest in the second platform. This roll-out strategy is often tied into engineering costs. Since few developers possess the coding skills required for each platform—Objective C for iPhone and Java for Android—it’s often necessary to hire two development teams. But what about design? Would I, too, have to do twice the work when designing for the iPhone and Android? And what will happen if the Windows, Palm, and Blackberry app stores take off? Would I have to do five times the work?

Ginsburg, Suzanne. Johnny Holland (2010). Articles>User Interface>Mobile


Angry Bloggers Attack: How Do You Respond?

When bloggers attack, we, as trained communication experts, must be ready to respond, and must recognize bloggers as a new wave of reporters. Many are key influencers who can rally a community against you. Working with bloggers and responding quickly builds rapport and relationship. And gets you the bigger story—maybe even a more balanced story.

Miller, Roy G. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Public Relations>Blogging


Animated Expressions: Expressive Style in 3D Computer Graphic Narrative Animation   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The development of 3D animation systems has been driven primarily by a hyper-realist ethos, and 3D computer graphic (CG) features have broadly complied with this agenda. As a counterpoint to this trend, some researchers, technologists and animation artists have explored the possibility of creating more expressive narrative output from 3D animation environments. This article explores 3D animation aesthetics, technology and culture in this context.

Power, Pat. Animation (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Human Computer Interaction>Video


Ann Rockley on the Rockley Group Blog and a New CMS Report

Ann Rockley shares information about an upcoming report on component content management systems her group will be releasing this summer. She also says the Rockley Group is launching a blog to provide quicker information to users in a more interactive way. She talks about the growing presence companies have in the blogosphere, and why they chose WordPress as their blogging tool.

Rockley, Ann and Tom H. Johnson. Tech Writer Voices (2007). Articles>Interviews>Content Management>Podcasts


Annotating the Web with Atom

You've seen reader comments on weblogs and other Web 2.0 sites, but the Atom protocol makes it possible to create and manage such comments in a very flexible way. Flexible Web annotations is an idea that will open up an entirely new class of Web applications with very little actual new invention. Learn how to create a system to manage annotations for anything on the Web, from nearly anywhere.

Ogbuji, Uche and Eric Larson. IBM (2008). Articles>Web Design>Information Design>RSS



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