A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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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


Designing Better HTML Authoring Tools

A collection of proposed new tools and features for adding structure to the Web.

Hoffman, Michael. Hypertext Navigation. Articles>Web Design>User Interface>Software


Does a Good User Interface Obviate the Need for Documentation?

This question was raised on a programmer's group recently and I was intrigued. The programmer's point was that with many web applications these days there is no print documentation distributed to end users, and even if it existed, many users won't read it although this makes me wonder who's buying all those how-to books I see in the bookstore. The programmer suggested that applications should be designed without documentation and wondered about the impact that would have on design.

Sprezzatura Systems (2002). Articles>Documentation>User Interface>Software


An Empirical Study Comparing Denim and Visio

An ethnographic observation and controlled experiment to evaluate the effectiveness of Denim and MS Visio in terms of supporting user creativity.

Zhao, Haixia. University of Maryland (2002). Articles>User Interface>Software>Visio


Integrating End-User Support Into New Software   (PDF)

Most writers have little or no control on how their online support is integrated into the product. Except for contextsensitive links, most help systems, online manuals, and tutorials are standalone applications. This separation negatively impacts the usability of the product. Technical writers need to insist on integrating their support material into the product ifthey are to achieve Day-One Performance.

Timpone, Donna. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Software>User Interface


Is Consistency Boring?

What do customers want from our software and documentation? They want to accomplish tasks, and to obtain information about tasks, as quickly and painlessly as possible. Do they also expect to be entertained along the way? No, not when there is work to be done. Years of usability analysis in the software industry indicates very clearly that clarity and ease-of-use is topmost on the minds of software users.

Kocher, Sue. Carolina Communique (2007). Articles>User Interface>Software>Usability


Looking At GUI Libraries: Spotlight On Infragistics

As a Graphical User Interface (GUI) programmer, I have many interface development tools to choose from. Over the years, my development environment changes to accommodate my needs. This often includes learning new languages and the tools that go with them.

Flowers, Natalie. Carolina Communique (2008). Articles>User Interface>Programming>Software


Poor Code Quality Contaminates Users' Conceptual Models

Software bugs and system crashes result in huge productivity losses and undermine users' ability to form good models of how computers work. Website designers can help improve user confidence by prioritizing quality and robustness over features and the latest technology.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2001). Articles>Usability>User Interface>Software


Review: A Review of the Balsamiq Mockups wireframing application

This is a review for Balsamiq Mockups. This is a reasonably-priced application for creating wireframes that is easy to learn and use suitable for smaller projects. Creating interactive prototypes out of Balsamiq wireframes is now possible with the release of another application called Napkee. This review talks talks about: Balsamiq Mockup specifications; Balsamiq’s distinct visual character and how it work both in favor and against Balsamiq being adopted by users; Pros and cons of the application; and a conclusion with a recommendation on who should use and what to use Balsamiq Mockups for.

Rautela, Abhay. Cone Trees (2009). Articles>Reviews>Software>User Interface


Visio: The Interaction Designer's Nail Gun

How to use Visio for rapid prototyping - now with scrolling pages and sketchy interface widgets.

Olsen, Henrik. Guuui (2008). Articles>User Interface>Software>Visio

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