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.



Barriers to Holistic Design Solutions

What keeps us, as UX professionals, from really solving problems holistically and designing total-system solutions that deeply meet our target users’ needs? At least three barriers to this holy grail of UX design endeavors seem pervasive in corporate environments: 1. We are rarely asked to provide holistic solutions. 2. We don’t understand the big picture. 3. Companies just are not set up to deliver holistic solutions.

Rohrer, Christian. UXmatters (2011). Articles>User Experience>Workplace


Baselining Documentation on a Wiki

The dynamic nature of wikis can cause a few headaches when you need to baseline documentation that's on a wiki to correspond with the release of your product. This blog post looks at some ways in which you can try baselining wiki content.

DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Wikis


Basic Etiquette of Technical Communication

Parents spend years trying to teach their children to be polite, and some of us had to learn at school how to properly address an archbishop. Yet, it seems that advice on courteousness and politeness in technical communication is in short supply; most of us learn these skills through what is euphemistically called “on the job training.” With enough bruises on my back to demonstrate the amount and variety of my experience in this area (though not my skill), here are some of the things I’ve learned.

Spinellis, Diomidis. IEEE Software (2009). Articles>TC>Technical Writing>Professionalism


A Basic Guide to Power Blogging

Blogs (web logs, online journals) are nearly mandatory now. From presidential candidates and CEOs to avid hobbyists and local clubs, blogs are being used to share ideas and opinions. As the next new communications/community building/marketing tool beyond conventional web sites, blogs offer a more dynamic, timely, and personal interactive experience. Join over 4 million other bloggers by following these easy steps to Power Blogging.

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Publishing>Online>Blogging


Basic International Technical Communication   (PDF)

International technical communication is the profession of the present and most definitely of the future. Businesses around the world need technical communicators who are skilled in communicating with a multicultural audience and who are comfortable working as members of international teams. This workshop introduces you to some basic skills you need to master to be successful as an international technical communicator. The skills this workshop focuses on are: performing an international user analysis, identifying cultural bias, generating a glossary for translators, and designing a page with translation and the international user in mind.

Hoft, Nancy L. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>TC>International


Basic Marketing Techniques   (PDF)

Effective marketing is key to your success. Marketing is based on your image and message, both of which can be delivered in a myriad of methods.

Maggiani, Rich. STC Proceedings (2002). Articles>TC>Marketing


Basic Search Engine Optimization Guide And Tips

Search engine optimization or SEO is very important to get your website listed in search engines. Even if this is the first website you have built there are a few basic and easy steps that will help you with optimizing your website without being a pro.

DevBay (2005). Articles>Web Design>Search>Search Engine Optimization


Basic Technology Advice for Students

The more frequently I teach in a computer classroom, the more frequently I identify things that students do (or don’t do) that can make using a computer a slower or more frustrating process than it needs to be. One example is the use of the keyboard instead of the mouse. I was somewhat surprised that most students don’t use keyboard shortcuts for commons tasks like copy, cut, paste, and save (clicking, instead, on the application menus at the top of the screen). But I was really surprised that few of them knew to use ALT-TAB to quickly switch between applications in Windows. It’s not that using keyboard commands represents some kind of super-seekrit expertise; rather, it’s that tasks can take so much longer when you rely on the mouse (over and over and over again) instead of relying on keyboard shortcuts.

Williams, George H. Prof Hacker (2013). Articles>Education>Technology


A Basic Usability Test on Ten Phones

B. is an old friend of mine who owns an old Nokia. And when I say old, I mean really old. It was released somewhere in 2000 or so (the Nokia, not the friendship). It’s not a smartphone, to put it mildly, and B. does not use the mobile Web.

Quirks Mode (2010). Articles>Web Design>Mobile>Usability


Basic WinHelp for Beginners   (PDF)

The first time you create a Windows Help file can be very confusing. This paper should help reduce confusion by explaining the basic WinHelp concepts and components, and then walking you through the procedure.

Van Sant, Carol J. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help


Basics for Communicating Clearly

Like the pronouns I, he, she, we, and they, the pronoun who is used as the subject of a verb.

Shacklock, Linda. STC Phoenix (2006). Articles>Writing>Grammar


The Basics of Book Profits

Most writers have no idea how much money they can expect when their book is published. The formular, however, is fairly straightforward. To begin with, a writer generally receives an advance. An advance is payment, in advance, based on the expected initial earnings of the book. Royalties (ranging from 4% to 8% in most cases) are generally based on the cover price of the book, but that does not include books that are discounted or remaindered. So, for the sake of argument, say you sold 20,000 full-price copies of a paperback priced at $7 (I know it would more likely be $6.95 but I am going to use round numbers.) If your royalty percentage were a generous 8% you would make a total of $11,200.

Hewitt, John. Writer's Resource Center (2004). Articles>Writing>Publishing>Writing


Basics of Conducting Focus Groups

Focus groups are a powerful means to evaluate services or test new ideas. Basically, focus groups are interviews, but of 6-10 people at the same time in the same group. One can get a great deal of information during a focus group session.

McNamara, Carter. Free Management Library. Articles>User Centered Design>Methods>Focus Groups


The Basics of HTML

In this article you will learn the basics of HTML—what it is, what it does, its history in brief, and what the structure of an HTML document looks like.

Francis, Mark Norman. Opera (2008). Articles>Web Design>HTML>XHTML


Bass Curves for the Diffusion of Innovations

Uptake of hypertext is likely to happen somewhat differently than the standard Bass curve. First, the market for hypertext use is highly dependent on the number of people who have computers with certain minimum capabilities (typically at least a graphical user interface; for WWW use it is also necessary to have Internet access). Second, the influence of other hypertext users is almost certainly not linear.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (1995). Articles>Human Computer Interaction


Bastien PROT: XPS une alternative au format PDF

XPS (XML Paper Specification) est un format de fichier électronique à présentation fixe comme le PDF du concurrent Adobe qui préserve la mise en forme du document et permet le partage des fichiers sans perte dinformation. Le format XPS garantit que, lorsquun fichier est affiché en ligne ou imprimé, il conserve le format souhaité.

Rédacteur Technique, Le (2007). (French) Articles>Document Design>Standards>XML


Battle of the Wizards: Dojo Vs. Microsoft

Two wizards are compared. One client script from DOJO and the other server component from Microsoft. Both fo them work exceedingly well in IE 7.0. Dojo wizard looks smashing.

Krishnaswamy, Jayaram. DevShed (2007). Articles>Computing>Programming>JavaScript


Battlecat Then, Battlecat Now: Temporal Shifts, Hyperlinking and Database Subjectivities

Like all media forms, the blog is not transparent. The technological code of the software contains affordances that filter and, in part, determine the constitution of the private/public Self represented in any weblog. And so, what kind of Self (or Selves) are made possible or enabled by typical blogging practice?

Jarrett, Kylie. Into the Blogosphere (2004). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Blogging


Baumol's Disease: Is There a Cure?

Baumol would never have expected in 1967 that a technological innovation like the internet would make it possible to create a sealed-off labor force in a third-world country.

Hackos, Bill. Center for Information-Development Management (2005). Articles>Technology>History


Be a White Hat SEO for Your Intranet: It's Good for Accessibility

The SEOs with white hats conduct legitimate optimising of web pages to make the site come up appropriately in the Search Engine Results Pages (also called SERPs). The back hat SEOs implement tricks to appear high in the results pages even if the web site is not necessarily relevant. The range of tricks is astonishing. But most of the techniques used by white hat SEOs were similar if not identical to the guidelines given by accessibility experts.

NetStrategy-JMC (2006). Articles>Web Design>Accessibility>Search Engine Optimization


Be Concise

When giving overview information, be concise. Save the details and flowing language for those that want them or have the time, but don't slow down the skimmer. This doesn't mean skip the details, just keep them from people who don't need them.

Bricklin, Dan. Good Documents (1998). Articles>Writing>Workplace>Technical Writing


Be Kind to the Color Blind

Using color and color alone as a visual cue is appealing because it’s usually an aesthetically pleasing and a minimalist design technique. Calls to action and visual cues are critical to interface designers because users, especially on the web, have limited patience and are looking to process information and make decisions quickly. Since the brain recognizes and forms an emotional bond with colors almost immediately, colors are a natural choice for visual cues. Unfortunately, it’s easy to alienate or confuse some of your users when some of those aesthetically pleasing colors look very similar. To point out a few interfaces that use hard to differentiate colors as visual cues, here are a few examples that have given me some trouble.

Campbell, Chris. Particletree (2008). Articles>Graphic Design>Accessibility>Color


Be Known For Your Content, Not Your Name!

Be known for your content first, for your name second. I can’t bear to hear anyone say one more time that “content is king,” but the truth is simple, if painful.

Content Strategy Noob (2009). Articles>Content Management>Web Design>Writing


Be Prepared: Fill the Gaps in Your Photoshop Know-How

It's next to impossible for one person to know the ins and outs of every single facet of Photoshop. With that in mind, we present three video tutorials to plug a variety of holes in your Photoshop knowledge.

Perkins, Chad. Creative Pro (2007). Articles>Graphic Design>Software>Adobe Photoshop


Be Productive When a Project Stalls   (PDF)   (members only)

With more and more companies adopting the Darwin Information Typing Architecture, Baril discusses how to choose a compatible content management system that also supports your company's processes.

Gutowski, Amanda and Lori L. Pennington. Intercom (2008). Articles>Project Management>Planning>Collaboration



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