A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication (and technical writing).

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1.
#38630

5th Grade Grammar: Take the Quiz!

If you think your grammar skills are top notch, take this 5th grade grammar quiz to find out!

Eftekhar, Christina. Carolina Communique (2012). Articles>Writing>Grammar

2.
#38743

Review: A Review of Microstyle

We live in a world that, in many ways, has become shorter. Shorter messages. Shorter interactions. Shorter attention spans. And the popularity of services like Twitter encourage brevity, for better or for worse. As a writer of any stripe, you need to adapt to this change. And that’s idea underlying the book Microstyle by Christopher Johnson. The book is packed with solid advice on how to write compactly while still passing along useful information.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2013). Articles>Reviews>Writing

3.
#38742

Review: A Review of Writing for the Web

These days, we can’t escape writing for the online world. Whether you contribute to web-based publications, run your own blog, or are a freelancer or full-time employee doing corporate work, writing for the web has become an essential skill. While online writing shares a number of similarities with writing for print, it also has more than a few nuances that you need to learn. That’s where Writing for the Web by Lynda Felder comes in. It’s easily one of the best books that I’ve read on the subject. Writing for the Web is a thin book, weighing in at 181 pages. But those pages pack a lot of practical information. Whether you’re new to writing online or someone with more than just a little experience, you’ll learn something from this book.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2013). Articles>Reviews>Writing>Online

4.
#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

5.
#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

6.
#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

7.
#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

8.
#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

9.
#36357

Accuracy in Website Terms and Conditions

For legal documents, accurate information is important. When you use a template, make sure that you customise the content carefully.

TechScribe (2010). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Policies and Procedures

10.
#29154

Achieving Objectivity Through Genred Activity: A Case Study   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Finding itself at the center of highly publicized legal and political deliberations over fairness in testing, personnel credibility, and legal liability, the training department at a North American transit authority adopted a genre system that enabled the production of objective evidence of job competence, which was then used to make objective decisions about who passed and failed various training programs. The ongoing genre-structured activity of the department involved not only the regularization of organizational texts but also the regularization of social interaction mediated by those texts, which, while producing the types of interpretively stable documents required for successful public deliberation, led to a shift in authority and social relations within the department that instigated considerable resentment and loss of morale among many veteran instructors.

Little, Joseph. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2007). Articles>Writing>Instructional Design>Genre

11.
#31378

Activity Theory and Its Implications for Writing Instruction   (Word)   (peer-reviewed)

Proposes that educational institutions continue to improve the uses of writing in society in two ways: extend writing across the curriculum efforts and raise the awareness of students, the university community, and the public to the role of writing in society by having those who study writing teach an introductory liberal arts course on it. Both are important steps toward removing the remedial stigma attached to writing and its teaching, and toward combating the myth of autonomous literacy that reinforces the remedial stigma.

Russell, David R. Iowa State University (1995). Articles>Education>Writing>Activity Theory

12.
#37938

Adding Dropbox to Your Writer’s Toolkit

Dropbox isn't just useful for backing up files. It’s also an excellent way of synchronizing files across the various devices like laptops, my smartphone, and my media player. Here’s a look at how one person uses Dropbox when writing.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2011). Articles>Writing>Tools>Online

13.
#36295

Addressing Resistance to Change in Policy and Procedure Writing

Policy writing and procedure writing is challenging because of the mechanics involved. Words must be carefully chosen; nuances must be considered. Understanding the mechanics of writing these documents is critical; however, an often overlooked aspect should be dealt with before the first word is written. How can policy and procedure writing tiptoe around the elephant in the room that everyone is trying to ignore?

Hibbard, Catherine S. Cypress Media Group (2010). Articles>Business Communication>Policies and Procedures>Technical Writing

14.
#23883

Administering Teacher Technology Training   (peer-reviewed)

The collection of materials included here are designed to assist those, who for the first time, find themselves administering and developing an ongoing program for training teachers to use technology in the composition classroom.

Carnegie, Teena A.M., Amy C. Kimme Hea, Melinda Turley and David Menchaca. Kairos (2003). Articles>Education>Technology>Writing

15.
#25641

Adolescent Diary Weblogs and the Unseen Audience   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

This paper first situates adolescent diary weblogs and their implied audiences and then applies a typology of audiences for personal narrative performance to a sample of diary weblog posts to ascertain if the typology fits the implied audiences present in the weblog text.

Scheidt, Lois Ann. Indiana University (2005). Articles>Writing>Web Design>Blogging

16.
#21801

Advanced Blogger   (PDF)

Blogger's primary advantage is its simplicity--if you accept the default settings and host on BlogSpot, you can be up and running within five minutes. Once you have your blog, you'll find it's just as easy to customize it.

Doctorow, Cory, Rael Dornfest, J. Scott Johnson, Shelley Powers, Benjamin Trott and Mena G. Trott. O'Reilly and Associates (1998). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Blogging

17.
#13977

"Advanced Composition" And Occasion-Sensitivity

As writing teacher but also freelance writer and editor, I rejoice to see current advanced composition textbooks emphasize sensitivity to occasion. For real-world writing profoundly requires audience-awareness. Out there, students will not be writing yet another typical theme for the teacher, concerned mainly with correctness. Nor will they be writing expressively, concerned mainly with self and authenticity. They must be writing for the occasion, to achieve specific purpose with specific readers, and hence must be concerned with effectiveness above all. But what about actual current classroom practice on this point?

Beck, James P. JAC (1981). Articles>Writing>Rhetoric

18.
#34032

Advantages of Using Microsoft SourceSafe While Writing Your Technical Documents

Microsoft’s Visual SourceSafe was not created with technical communicators in mind. It was created for engineers writing software source code. But it is successfully used by technical writers in offices around the world to control documentation.

Technical Communication Center (2009). Articles>Content Management>Documentation>Technical Writing

19.
#30788

AECMA Simplified English   (PDF)

ASD-STE100 Simplified Technical English (formerly AECMA Simplified English) is a specification for writing aircraft documentation. The principles can be applied to all industry sectors. ASD-STE100 provides a set of writing rules and a dictionary of words and their meanings. It has a limited number of words; a limited number of clearly defined meanings for each word; a limited number of parts of speech for each word; a set of rules for writing text. This article outlines the standard, and shows how it helps to prevent ambiguity in text.

Unwalla, Mike. ISTC (2004). Articles>Writing>Minimalism>Controlled Vocabulary

20.
#38611

Agile Technical Writing Basics

Unfortunately, nobody wrote instructions for Agile technical writers, so peculiarities of profession need to be studied out.

Mizinova, Ksenya. Dr. Explain. Articles>Project Management>Agile>Technical Writing

21.
#29136

Aligning Theme and Information Structure To Improve The Readability Of Technical Writing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The readability of technical writing, and technical manuals in particular, especially for second language readers, can be noticeably improved by pairing Theme with Given and Rheme with New. This allows for faster processing of text and easier access to the "method of development" of the text. Typical Theme-Rheme patterns are described, and the notion of the "point of a text" is introduced. These concepts are applied to technical writing and the reader is then invited to evaluate the improvements in readability in a small sample of texts.

Moore, N.A.J. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication (2006). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Rhetoric

22.
#24590

All the Secrets to Generating Creativity in Literature

NOT for the timid--here are proven, guaranteed, simple ways to create writing that is off-the-wall original. Why be mediocre? Now you can quickly and easily become innovative, bizarre, and distinctive. The "born writer" theorists and "author-worshipers", the non-deconstructionists, will HATE this article.

Streight, Steven. Blogger.com (2004). Articles>Writing

23.
#22128

Alternatives to the Paragraph

'It's all in the manual.' How many times have you heard that - or said it in frustration? After all, when you are the person who wrote the manual, you know that all the answers are there. But time and again readers can't find what they need to know, or don't understand the material. Before you blame the reader, look again at how you've presented the material.

Hollis Weber, Jean. Technical Editors Eyrie (1989). Articles>Editing>Technical Writing

24.
#29273

America the Beautiful

Writers of English have choices. Most every word we commit to paper (or its electronic equivalent) has a synonym

Wenger, Andrea. Carolina Communique (2007). Articles>Writing>Grammar>Tropes

25.
#33452

American English vs. British English for Web Content

Users pay attention to details in a site's writing style, and they'll notice if you use the wrong variant of the English language.

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

 
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