A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Does Background Music Impact Computer Task Performance?

The effects of music on performance on a computer-mediated problem-solving task were examined. Participants completed the task in anonymous dyads as they were exposed to either Classical music, Punk music, or No Music. Results indicate that those in the Classical music condition performed better on the problem solving-task than those in the Punk music or No Music conditions. However, those listening to the Classical music offered more off-task comments during the task than those listening to No Music. Implications for website designers are discussed.

Phillips, Christine. Usability News (2004). Articles>Usability>Human Computer Interaction>Audio


The Ears Have It (Notes)

Some people call it blogging out loud. Podcasting is a fairly easy and fairly inexpensive way of presenting your ideas and opinions. But podcasting is more than a platform for reviews or polemic. It's also a powerful tool within the enterprise for training, for marketing, and for documentation. Imagine being able to carry product information or supplementary material with you and not have to worry about stacks of paper? You can do that with a podcast.

Davis, Aaron and Scott Nesbitt. SlideShare (2008). Presentations>Multimedia>Audio>Podcasting


Editing Audio Using Audacity

TechSmith asked me to create a video on using Audacity to edit narrations. Since the use of Audacity will be useful to many I've uploaded it here too. The screencast covers removing background noise, breathing and lip smacks, dynamic range compression, volume normalisation, fades and de-essing using the volume control.

Ozsvald, Ian. ShowMeDo (2009). Presentations>Multimedia>Audio>Screencasts


Employees Tune In to Web Radio

The recent buzz regarding corporate web logs (blogs) may have deflected attention from another effective, low-cost medium: corporate web radio. The following article offers a few tips and “lessons learned” for the corporate professional who would like to start web radio within his or her firm—or for the PR agency, another value-added service for your clients.

Loper, Larry. Communication World Bulletin (2005). Articles>Business Communication>Audio>Podcasting


Examples of Companies Integrating Podcasts into their Mix of Technical Communication Deliverables?

Podcasts aren't very good at delivering step-by-step technical information. Concepts are where podcasts excel.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2007). Articles>Multimedia>Audio>Podcasting


Experiment in Sound

When you think about sound in regard to the internet, what comes to mind? Dutch design firm LUST explores the sound of the internet with this original project.

AIGA (2005). Design>Web Design>Multimedia>Audio


Exploring Speech Recognition And Synthesis APIs In Windows Vista

Windows Vista includes a built-in speech recognition user interface designed specifically for users who need to control Windows® and enter text without using a keyboard or mouse. There is also a state-of-the-art general purpose speech recognition engine. Not only is this an extremely accurate engine, but it's also available in a variety of languages. Windows Vista also includes the first of the new generation of speech synthesizers to come out of Microsoft, completely rewritten to take advantage of the latest techniques.

Brown, Robert. MSDN Magazine (2006). Articles>Accessibility>Audio>Voice


Getting to Know Mic

For a presenter, a high-quality microphone, combined with the right sound system, will give your voice a rich sound that can be heard throughout a room. Here are some things to consider if you want to add a microphone to the company conference room or your presentation traveling kit. The basics A microphone is essentially an energy converter that takes in sound waves and converts them into electrical energy. Two main types of microphones are available: condenser and dynamic. A condenser mic uses a power supply to provide a charge that works with a thin diaphragm inside the unit to create a signal. A dynamic mic creates a signal when the sound pressure moves a coil or ribbon across a magnet. Because they usually produce a richer sound, condenser mics are the more popular of the two; however, they require batteries or a power supply and are more expensive and more fragile than dynamic models. Dynamic mics are usually considered less accurate in sound quality, but they are generally more rugged and can withstand varying temperatures, humidity levels and a lot of abuse. These qualities make dynamic mics ideal for use outdoors or on the road.

Hill, Julie. Presentations (2002). Articles>Presentations>Multimedia>Audio


Google Voice Search

Google Voice Search allows you to make a telephone call to Google with a search query and get the results on a web page. The purpose of this article is to briefly describe the user experience and investigate the usability implications of this tool.

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (2003). Articles>Web Design>User Interface>Audio


Hearing Disabilities

Most developers don't think about individuals who are deaf when they think of Web accessibility. For too many developers, Web accessibility consists of adhering to a few guidelines that ensure accessibility to screen readers for the blind. On one level, this is understandable. People who are blind will have the most trouble, since the Web is a visual medium...or is it?

WebAIM (2001). Design>Web Design>Accessibility>Audio


Hearing Type

Understanding the dynamic qualities of typography through analogies with sound and music.

Armstrong, Frank. AIGA (2005). Design>Typography>Visual Rhetoric>Audio


How to Build a Laptop Studio on Any Budget

Although there are many reasons for choosing a laptop for music making, we've focused on three common scenarios: the software-only, all-in-the-box setup for the composer-performer; the songwriter's studio, which will need mics for recording voices and instruments; and the multitrack live-recording rig. Even if what you do doesn't fit neatly into one of these areas, our reasons for choosing particular pieces of gear may help you with your own buying decisions.

Electronic Musician (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Audio


How to Build a Personal Recording Studio on Any Budget

Recommendations for gear for building audio recording studios on a wide range of budgets.

Electronic Musician (2002). Articles>Multimedia>Audio


How to Implement Single Sourcing: Interview with Neil Perlin

Neil Perlin, a renowned trainer, consulter, and developer, talks about how to implement single sourcing. He includes a discussion of tools, pitfalls to avoid, and practical steps to take.

Johnson, Tom H. and Neil E. Perlin. I'd Rather Be Writing (2006). Articles>Interviewing>Single Sourcing>Audio


Indi Young on Non-Directed Interviews

Jeff Parks talks with Indi Young about non-directed interviews. Indi shares the hallmarks of a non-directed interview and how to guide these conversations accordingly. She also shares the importance of understanding the difference between a screener and an interview; and the necessity to encourage interviewees to avoid statements of fact by focusing on verbs rather than nouns when sharing experiences.

Parks, Jeff and Indi Young. Johnny Holland (2010). Articles>Interviewing>Audio>Podcasts


Information Architecture for Audio: Doing It Right

Audio content is becoming increasingly prevalent. But do you know how to design it effectively? Jens Jacobsen combines information architecture, journalism, usability engineering and interface design to resolve some of the issues that arise from introducing audio.

Jacobsen, Jens. Boxes and Arrows (2008). Articles>Web Design>Audio>Podcasting


Interviewing Tips for Podcasters

Some advice from one podcaster to others on how to do interviews.

DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Interviewing>Audio>Podcasting


Killer Interviewing Tactics: Get The Most from Your Guests

Covers the basics of good interviewing technique: making sure the show is not about you but about your guest; listening to the answers you get; sticking to a script; and, above all, preparation, preparation, preparation.

Murphy, Gayl. Podcast Academy (2006). Articles>Interviewing>Audio>Podcasting


Limits of Automated Audio

This is a list of limitations of the types of automated audio translation offered by such services as Talkr.com. Since we do not see a list in their help center, we thought we would compile our own list and offer it as a wiki page for any customers to keep a list of limitations.

KeyContent.org (2007). Articles>Language>Translation>Audio


The Marriage of Rhetoric and Pragmatics

The current proliferation of hermeneutic resources with a linguistic base--pragmatics, speech act theory, classical rhetoric theory, Burkean analysis, conversational analysis, Habermasian communicative action--is an embarras de richesse. Surely, at this point, we need, not another theory, but rather an attempt at synthesis, an attempt to turn this hermeneutic plentitude into a single theory. In this paper, we propose to take an initial step in this direction, to attempt to marry pragmatics and rhetoric. But given the theoretical exfoliation that has marked these areas, such a marriage can be managed only by imposing very strict limitations on the scope of our enterprise. We believe, however, that we can take a step in our preferred direction by addressing the more specific problem of whether the theory of Paul Grice, the father of pragmatics, is compatible with the theory of Aristotle, the father of rhetoric. We intend to do so by reconstructing Aritotelian rhetoric as a pragmatics.

Gross, Alan G. EServer (1998). Presentations>Lectures>Streaming>Audio


Microphones and How to Handle Them

Learn how to identify the type of mike you are given for your talk, and learn how to handle it to avoid volume changes and popping. Audibility is as important as slide legibility. Audibility is affected by microphone pick-up patterns, and microphone handling.

Lebrun, Jean-Luc. Scivee (2009). Presentations>Multimedia>Audio>Voice


Multi-Track Mixing for Location Dialogue

Stereo is rarely recorded as such in the field. Instead, we record monaural sounds and wait until post-production is nearly complete to re-assign these sounds to the audience's left, right, and in-between. Until the film is edited, there is no way to know just where all of the audio elements need to end up. For instance, out on production, it might seem logical to record a car that passes from left to right in stereo, so that you can hear the 'pass by' in your phones whoosh from the left ear to the right ear.

Ginsburg, Fred. Equipment Emporium (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Editing>Audio


Music, Transtextuality, and the World Wide Web   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article sketches the significance of aurality in hypermedia, notes that the field of English studies is constructing the World Wide Web as a verbal and visual medium, and proposes a transtextual framework to aid technical communicators in designing musical hypermedia. Because the study of music on the World Wide Web is nascent, this article includes references to art and film music, whose theories and practices are substantially developed.

Richards, Anne R. Technical Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>Web Design>Audio


(Novice) Audio for Television: Mixing the Basic "Event"

Here is a breakdown of how we might handle the typical 'low budget' television demo or competition, such as a local cooking show, sporting event, or how-to-do-it.

Ginsburg, Fred. Equipment Emporium (2006). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Audio


On the Razor’s Edge: Languaging, Autopoiesis, and Growing Old

A. L. Becker’s 'modern philology' is an approach to discourse rooted in multifaceted explorations of particular texts: a line from Emerson, a Southeast Asian proverb, a Javanese shadow play. He explains 'autopoiesis' this way: 'One of the tenets of the gaggle of ideas calle ‘autopoiesis’ is that languaging is orientational, mostly. A says something to B -- and no ‘message’ is ‘transmitted’ -- rather what A says orients B (and him/herself, of course). But the orientation of A is not the orientation of B, except to the extent they have the same reactions to prior texts (lingual memories).

Becker, A.L. EServer (1998). Presentations>Lectures>Streaming>Audio



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