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.



Are you a “Writer” or an “Author”?

The trouble with the evolution of language is that it occasionally evolves a bit too far. You can end up with multiple words that can be used for the same purpose but which have fundamentally the same definition. You can even end up with words that don’t have any meaning at all. Take the generic greeting, “Hello”. What does it mean? We all know when to use it, so much so that it is used in just about every modern European language and quite a few others beside. What does it mean? Where did it come from? No one is really able to tell us.

RoboColum(n), The (2010). Articles>Writing>Diction


Are You Blogging Yet?

Web logs (also called 'weblogs' or 'blogs') are frequently updated website commentaries, short or long, organized chronically and sometimes include the blogger’s personal life.

Berger, Pam. Scarsdale Schools (2004). Articles>Writing>Education>Blogging


Are You Communicating Dynamically?

It took only a few years for the Internet to fundamentally change the way we communicate. Marketers have learned to take advantage of this new medium by creating innovative ways to reach their audiences. But what about business communicators? Have we really taken advantage of everything the ’Net has to offer? With all the choices for news and information, how do we cut through the noise of the competition, keep our audiences engaged and influence them to move in the right direction? We need to think of the Internet as a dynamic communication tool that gives us the ability to target, focus and change our messages constantly in order to influence diverse sets of audiences.

Bechtel, Chris. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Communication>Marketing


Are You Cultured?

When a company decides to globalize its site, the Web team often learns the taboo colors and appropriate dress codes of a given culture, translates the text, and launches. But cultural differences run deeper than visual appearance or language; they reflect strong values. Rarely do globalized sites incorporate the nuances of a culture's social hierarchy, individualism, gender roles, time-orientation, or truth-seeking attributes.

Marcus, Aaron. Dr. Dobb's (2003). Articles>Web Design>Globalization>Localization


Are You Customer Centred?

The first step in usability survival is to make sure that your development process is customer centred. This means making sure that customers are involved in the design and evaluation of the system.

Userfocus (2003). Articles>User Centered Design


Are You Designing or Inspecting?

Guidelines are statements of direction. They’re about looking to the future and what you want to incorporate in the design. Guidelines are aspirational. Heuristics challenge a design with questions. The purpose of heuristics is to provide a way to “test” a design in the absence of data and primary observation by making an inspection. Heuristics are about enforcement. Both guidelines and heuristics are typically broad and interpretable. They’re built to apply to nearly any interface. But they come into play at different points in a design project.

Chisnell, Dana E. UX Magazine (2010). Articles>User Experience>Assessment


Are You Drowning in E-Mail?

We can't halt the flow of incoming email messages, but we can give you some suggestions that will help you become a better email communicator.

Blicq, Ronald S. TC-FORUM (1999). Articles>Business Communication>Correspondence>Email


Are You Frodo, Aragorn or Legolas? Writing Wisdom from The Lord of the Rings

Are you a 'Frodo,' 'Aragorn' or 'Legolas' writer? Each has a unique style and advantages suited to specific types of writing. Much can be learned from J.R.R. Tolkien's epic The Lord of the Rings characters.

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


Are You Guilty of Sloppy E-mails? It Can Cost You

Some of the nicest people we know send the most thoughtless e-mails. Many are telegraphic, with a smattering of disconnected words and abbreviations, leaving the reader to fill in the blanks. Most are dashed off without review and arrive in their native state: confusing, grammarless and brimful of spelling errors. That's not even to mention lack of logic and transitions.

Canavor, Natalie and Claire Meirowitz. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Articles>Business Communication>Correspondence>Email


Are you Hurting Your Career By Not Blogging or Podcasting?

Talks about myths, rewards, trends, tips, and issues surrounding blogging and podcasting, especially in terms of how it affects your career.

Tech Writer Voices (2007). Articles>Publishing>Online>Podcasts


Are You Interruptable?

I’m permanently interruptable because that’s my job. It took me quite a while to realise this, and getting yourself into a position to be interruptable isn’t all that easy. You need a good team around you (which I have) and you need to trust them and delegate to them as much as you can (I trust them, and I’m working on that delegation thing!).

McLean, Gordon. One Man Writes (2010). Articles>Workplace>Management>Collaboration


Are You Publishing Too Much On Your Website?

Many websites are still publishing content that is not core to their business. The justification is that such content will indirectly deliver benefit. This is not a good idea. Focus on the content that is directly applicable to your organization’s objectives. Any other content confuses. It wastes time and money.

McGovern, Gerry. New Thinking (2004). Articles>Web Design>Content Management


Are you ready for XOP (XML-Oriented Programming)?

The domain model is a familiar concept to most OOP (Object Oriented Programming) developers and architects, and has been used successfully in a variety of systems and projects. But how does this principle apply to SOA-based solutions?

Xu, Peter. IBM (2007). Articles>Information Design>Programming>XML


Are You Repelling As Many Clients As You Should?

When you think about growing a business, you think about how to attract customers. You might build a web site, create marketing materials, and look for ways to get your message to the masses, but have you ever considered ways to repel clients? Separating the wheat from the chaff is a big part of creating a successful business.

Riviere, Amber Singleton. Web Worker Daily (2009). Articles>Business Communication>Marketing


Are You Spending the "Right" Amount?   (PDF)

To back up a request for more budgetor defend the existing one, you need to know exactly what you’re spending--and what you’re getting in return. But how can you tell if you’re spending too much on communication? This article suggests five approaches to weighing up the cost versus value of your communication activities.

Sinickas, Angela D. Sinickas Communications (2006). Articles>Management>Financial>Assessment


Are You Using the Wrong Web Metrics?

Do you base success on measuring the volume of visitors and page impressions? Such measures may in fact reflect the failure--rather than the success--of your website.

McGovern, Gerry. New Thinking (2006). Articles>Web Design>Audience Analysis>Log Analysis


Are Your Online Forms User-Friendly?

A poorly designed form always reduces your chances for getting a sale or gaining a qualified lead. This article discusses the merits of a good form and the pitfalls of bad forms. It offers advice and tips on how to increase your success rates by making your forms more user friendly.

Raspberry Frog (2007). Articles>Web Design>Usability


Are your users S.T.U.P.I.D?: How Good Design Can Make Users Effective

Effective Intelligence is a helpful concept in the design toolbox. User research and testing are the best ways to know your users, but knowing what may limit a user in reality helps design ways to make them smarter.

Turbek, Stephen. Boxes and Arrows (2011). Articles>Usability>Content Management


Argument:  An Alternative Model

During the last five decades, rhetoricians have been deeply divided over whether rhetoric can be effectively used in teaching composition. Some have argued that rhetoric involves some or all forms of persuasion. Others believe that it is the arguer's manipulation of the audience. These two views, among others, point to the fact that they are, in principle, incompatible to the extent where rhetoricians will never meet. Because of these different views, rhetoricians are in a state of flux as to what strategies or principles should be used when teaching rhetoric and composition.

Shiyab, Said. Lore (2002). Articles>Rhetoric


Argumenteren Over Lezersproblemen: Is Consensus Haalbaar?

Kunnen experts het met elkaar eens worden over de vraag of een lezersprobleem aannemelijk is en of dat probleem ernstig is? Uit menig onderzoek is gebleken dat beoordelaars sterk van elkaar verschillen in hun oordelen over tekstkwaliteit. In dit artikel wordt verslag gedaan van een poging om met behulp van de Delphi-methode consensus te bereiken tussen beoordelaars. In het eerste deel van het artikel wordt duidelijk dat op deze manier consensus niet haalbaar is, hoewel de mate van overeenstemming wel enigszins stijgt. In het tweede deel analyseren we de argumenten die beoordelaars aandragen voor de stelling dat een probleem (on)aannemelijk en wel of niet ernstig is. Vijf typen minder adequate argumentatiepatronen worden met behulp van voorbeelden toegelicht.

Lentz, Leo and Menno D.T. de Jong. Universiteit Stellenbosch Taalsentrum (2002). (Afrikaans) Articles>Rhetoric>TC


ARIA and Progressive Enhancement

Now that the release of ARIA is approaching, let’s take a look at how ARIA fits within progressive enhancement strategy. Can we use ARIA in a way that respects progressive enhancement? Can we use ARIA in ways that ensure we have a working solution at every level?

Featherstone, Derek. List Apart, A (2010). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Standards


Aristotelian Rhetorical Theory as a Framework for Teaching Scientific and Technical Communication   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Classical rhetorical theory has been used for relatively discrete, practice-oriented purposes in its application to teaching Scientific and Technical Communication. However effective these appropriations are, they isolate these resources from a comprehensive framework and from that framework's role in shaping disciplinary practice. Because these theoretical assets are integral to each student's preparation to be an effective, responsible practitioner, I have developed and taught an upper level rhetorical theory course for STC majors that is grounded in Aristotle s <em>On Rhetoric</em> and in his understanding that effective communication is a systematic <em>tekhne</em>/art.

Newman, Sara. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (1999). Articles>Education>TC>Rhetoric


"Aristotle's Pharmacy": The Medical Rhetoric of a Clinical Protocol in the Drug Development Process   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article analyzes the clinical protocol within the rhetorical framework of the drug development and approval process, identifying the constraints under which the protocol is written and the rhetorical form, argumentative strategies, and style needed to improve and teach the writing of this document.

Bell, Heather D., Kathleen A. Walch and Steven B. Katz. Technical Communication Quarterly (2000). Articles>Scientific Communication>Biomedical


Arm-Wrestling the Photoshop Police

Adobe is shipping a 6.0 upgrade to Photoshop that, for many Mac users, proves unusable. We learned back in the 1980s that when you rake your legitimate users over the coals in the hopes of catching the occasional thief, you end up with a lot of really raked off users. Apparently, someone at Adobe has forgotten.

Tognazzini, Bruce. Nielsen Norman Group (2001). Articles>User Interface>Software>Adobe Photoshop


Arquitectura de Información: Una Disciplina "De Lujo" en Chile

Un resumen de la historia y estado actual del campo de la Arquitectura de Información en Chile.

Gutierrez, Malisa and Javier Velasco. AIfIA (2003). (Spanish) Articles>Web Design>Information Design



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