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Case Studies

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A Call to Action for Web Managers: Blow the Whistle

We had a huge, unruly Web site. It just had different graphics, a better-named Web team and more people shoveling on content and applications. Finally, out of desperation, we decided to try a new-fangled thing called a Web content management system.

Welchman, Lisa. WelchmanPierpoint (2009). Articles>Web Design>Content Management>Case Studies


The Accidental Beginning of a Highly Successful Special Interest Group (SIG)   (PDF)

SIGs exist to serve specialized needs within the greater organization. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Professional Interest Committees (PICs) are a tool by which the local chapters can serve a diverse range of special interests, boosting chapter membership. The Lone Star Chapter (Dallas/Fort Worth) began hosting SIG meetings three years ago. Currently, with four active SIGs, we are hosting an additional 100 to 200 members per month. This is how we built our SIGs to promote membership in STC. In the spring of 1990, a group of disgruntled contractors began to meet formally to discuss dissatisfaction with insurance plans for independents available through the society. We had been meeting informally for many years, to discuss the job market, rates available, and generally to gossip. We call it networking. personal contact or the sudden ice storm we had that night attendance was down significantly. From that point, we have kept a mailing list updated from our sign-in sheets, and sent postcard reminders about each meeting.

Steele, Karen A. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Collaboration>Case Studies>STC


Acclaimed Science Magazine "Discovers" Plone

DISCOVER Magazine, the magazine of science, technology and the future, recently launched a newly designed website on the open source Plone content management system (CMS).

Plone.org (2007). Articles>Content Management>Case Studies>Plone


Active Capture Design Case Study: SIMS Faces

We present a design case study for the SIMS Faces application. The SIMS Faces application is an Active Capture application that works with the user to take her picture and record her saying her name for inclusion on the department web page.

Chang, Ana Ramírez and Marc Davis. AIGA (2006). Articles>Web Design>Photography>Case Studies


AIGA Experience Design: Case Study Archive

Welcome practitioners, educators and students from all experience design disciplines! The goal of this archive is to build a teachable and learnable body of knowledge for the extended experience design community, which can be referenced and is freely accessible. These cases have been peer-reviewed and present best-practices from each year.

AIGA. Resources>Directories>Information Design>Case Studies


ANTI  (link broken)

ANTI Magazine aims to showcase outstanding visual content as an online magazine and also through future exhibitions all around the world. We are interested in showcasing all styles of visual media, including: illustration, graphic design, photography, drawing, painting, etc.

ANTI. Journals>Graphic Design>Case Studies


Are We There Yet?

It's true: even simple projects get messy. Christina Wodtke comes clean on Swiss Army knives, the writing on the wall, and the untidy glory of the Boxes and Arrows redesign contest.

Wodtke, Christina. Boxes and Arrows (2006). Articles>Web Design>Project Management>Case Studies


Aspects of Design Quality

Usability scores for 51 websites show some correlation between navigation, content, and feature quality, but no connections to other usability areas.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (2008). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Case Studies


Assessing Publications Process-Maturity: The Experiences of Two Organizations at Different Levels of Process Maturity  (link broken)   (PDF)

As Information Development organizations grow and mature, their organizational structure should grow and mature as well. The optimal structure for an organization in its early stages should focus on achieving stability and repeatable quality. As an organization matures, the optimal structure may need to be significantly different to develop a more thorough understanding of customers and contribute substantially to customer satisfaction.

Hackos, JoAnn T., Lisa Blaschke, Brenda MacKay and Deborah J. Rosenquist. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Information Design>Assessment>Case Studies


The Association of Teachers of Technical Writing: The Emergence of Professional Identity   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article attempts to summarize the history of ATTW. It focuses on issues that led to the need for an organization devoted to technical writing, and the individuals who were leaders in ATTW, as well as in NCTE and CCCC, whose efforts provided the foundation for the presence of technical writing as a legitimate teaching and research discipline. We draw on existing historical pieces and the contributions provided by many of the first ATTW members to capture the history of ATTW. We describe the major changes in ATTW from 1973-2007 and conclude with our reflections, as well as important questions we believe to be critical to the future of ATTW.

Kynell, Teresa and Elizabeth Tebeaux. Technical Communication Quarterly (2009). Articles>TC>History>Case Studies


The Atlassian Contributor License Agreement Comes of Age

In early March we opened up the Atlassian documentation to the wider community. We added a CC-by (Creative Commons Attribution) license to our product documentation. We invited people to contribute to our documentation after signing an Atlassian Contributor License Agreement (ACLA). At that stage, the ACLA was just starting its three-month trial. The trial period has now ended, and we're delighted to say: it's a go!

Maddox, Sarah. Atlassian Blog, The (2009). Articles>Documentation>Wikis>Case Studies


Automation of Documentation Submittals via HP Quick Test Professional

Are you a Web publisher or Web submitter who uploads documents manually? The primary role of a Web publisher is to publish content on the Web. The content being published could be in different file formats like html pages, pdf documents etc. A typical process involves a Web publisher uploading a document, entering the metadata for the document, and posting it to the Web. This effort is time-consuming. Is there any automated tool that can help Web publishers submit several documents automatically without having to enter the metadata of the documents manually and processing them? The answer is yes.

Basrur, Hemanth. Indus (2009). Articles>Content Management>Metadata>Case Studies


Behavior-Based Performance Expectations  (link broken)   (PDF)

Many organizations document job-oriented expectations for their employees and tend to leave behavior-based performance criteria to the individual managers. Or, they may lump so many different jobs into a single performance criteria definition that that definition becomes meaningless for any individual group. In this paper we will discuss the difference between job-oriented expectations and behavior-based performance expectations. We will describe the process we used to create our performance expectations and will show some examples.

Crawford, Vanadis, Angela Pitts, Rosalind Radcliffe and Leah Ann Seifert. STC Proceedings (2004). Careers>TC>Case Studies


Benchmarking the Document Management Process  (link broken)   (PDF)

The Bank of Canada manages the public debt as fiscal agent, for the Federal Government. As a public service organization, it is committed to deliver quality services to its clients in a cost effective and efficient manner. Recognizing that a fundamental role of documentation is to provide continuity within a changing environment, the Public Debt Department (POD) piloted best practices benchmarking of its internal documentation unit with partners identified as having best-in-class processes.

Edwards, Roy, James D. McGuire and Shirley A. Hancock. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Content Management>Assessment>Case Studies


Best Practices: A Case Study at Kohler   (PDF)

The plumbing division of Kohler Co. is no stranger to managing their content. They had been using BroadVision's document-management system, Relation Document Manager (RDM), for three years and authoring in Interleaf since 1989. But when BroadVision stopped supporting RDM, Mark Peterson, the technical publications manager at Kohler, was desperate to find a replacement. BroadVision offered BladeRunner, but that tool didn't sufficiently support the heavy and stringent print requirements of Mark's department. Plumbers don't always have adequate or readily available access to the Internet.

Hedlund, Tina. ComTech Services (2003). Design>Web Design>Intranets>Case Studies


Beyond Staggered Sprints: How TheLadders.com Integrated UX into Agile

Agile has a relatively short history in the broader view of software development. Integration of User Experience into Agile has an even shorter history with relatively few stories of overwhelming success. Over the last eighteen months, we at TheLadders have had some successes—and some failures—in our foray into a post-waterfall way of developing elegant, efficient and sophisticated consumer-facing software. This is our story.

Gothelf, Jeff. Johnny Holland (2010). Articles>User Experience>Agile>Case Studies


Building a Taxonomy of a Firm’s Knowledge Assets: A Perspective of Durability and Profitability   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Managing their knowledge assets is an imperative issue for most organizations in pursuit of competitive advantage in the knowledge-based economy. Previous researchers have proposed a number of valuable taxonomies for classifying an organization’s knowledge assets. However, once knowledge assets are classified by such taxonomies as a particular type, they do not change type over time. Arguably, however, business contexts are swiftly changing, and knowledge assets may have to be constantly adapted to play new roles, and so a taxonomy capable of reflecting the changing relations between knowledge assets and environmental conditions is needed. This article proposes such a taxonomy which utilizes durability and profitability as dimensions. This taxonomy allows knowledge assets to change type in the light of the new condition. Additionally, it has the characteristics of demonstrating the alignment of assets with organizational strategies, and of being widely applicable in the for-profit sector.

Li, Sheng-Tun. Journal of Information Science (2010). Articles>Information Design>Taxonomy>Case Studies


Building Ease of Use Into the IBM User Experience   (PDF)

This paper provides an overview of the process and organizational transformation that IBM has gone through in improving the user experience with our offerings.

Vredenburg, K. IBM (2003). Articles>Web Design>User Experience>Case Studies


Building Twitter Bootstrap

Bootstrap is an open-source front-end toolkit created to help designers and developers quickly and efficiently build great stuff online. Its goal is to provide a refined, well-documented, and extensive library of flexible design components created with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for others to build and innovate on. Today, it has grown to include dozens of components and has become the most popular project on GitHub, with more than 13,000 watchers and 2,000 forks. Mark Otto, the co-creator of Bootstrap, sheds light on how and why Bootstrap was made, the processes used to create it, and how it has grown as a design system.

Otto, Mark. List Apart, A (2012). Articles>Web Design>Standards>Case Studies


Building Usable Websites, Part 3

Website and software application usability is a classic intangible, hard to measure and even harder to sell to clients or management. Ironic, as I think it safe to say that at this stage in the game there are few sites that would not benefit from a usability survey and a bit of tweaking. Nevertheless, some companies have taken the cue and great usability case studies are beginning to emerge.

Shreves, Ric. Water and Stone (2008). Articles>Usability>Web Design>Case Studies


Business Information Through Spain’s Chambers of Commerce: Meeting Business Needs   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

From different public and private requirements, mechanisms have been set in action that allow for companies to obtain information in order to make decisions with a stronger foundation. This article is focused on the description of an entire information system for the business world, developed in the realm of the Chambers of Commerce of Spain, which has given rise to the creation of an authentic network of inter-chamber information. In Spain, the obligatory membership of businesses to the Chambers of Commerce in their geographic areas, and therefore the compulsory payment of member quotas, has traditionally generated some polemics, above all because many firms have not perceived a material usefulness of the services offered by these Chambers. Notwithstanding, the 85 Chambers currently existing in Spain, as well as the organization that coordinates them – the Upper Council or Consejo Superior de Cámaras de Comercio – and the company created expressly to commercialize information services online, Camerdata, have developed genuinely informative tools that cover a good part of the information demands that a business might claim, and these are described here.

Cañavate, Antonio Muñoz and Pedro Hípola. Business Information Review (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Case Studies>Europe


Can Filesharers Be Triggered by Economic Incentives? Results of an Experiment   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Illegal filesharing on the internet leads to considerable financial losses for artists and copyright owners as well as producers and sellers of music. Thus far, measures to contain this phenomenon have been rather restrictive. However, there are still a considerable number of illegal systems, and users are able to decide quite freely between legal and illegal downloads because the latter are still difficult to sanction. Recent economic approaches account for the improved bargaining position of users. They are based on the idea of revenue-splitting between professional sellers and peers. In order to test such an innovative business model, the study reported in this article carried out an experiment with 100 undergraduate students, forming five small peer-to-peer networks. The networks were confronted with different economic conditions. The results indicate that even experienced filesharers hold favourable attitudes towards revenue-splitting. They seem to be willing to adjust their behaviour to different economic conditions.

Quiring, Oliver, Benedikt Von Walter and Richard Atterer. New Media and Society (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Case Studies


Case in Point: Cisco’s Model For Change Management

A few months ago, a company-wide team at Cisco Systems Inc. was challenged to come up with the best model for change management. Several team members had experience in change management through various disciplines, such as process management, HR consulting, communication, Six Sigma and IT. In the first meeting, the team recognized many factors that would affect how they moved forward: hundreds (maybe thousands) of models already existed, thousands of consultants had their favorite models and were eager to help, and employees were familiar with models from other companies.

Horn, Karen. Communication World Bulletin (2004). Articles>Business Communication>Management>Case Studies


The Case of the Missing Evite

Not only baby showers, but board rooms and caucuses are subject to missed invitations and can result in missed meetings, failed agreements, inaction, or incorrect action. The question is why did this, and more generally, why does this happen? And what can be done to prevent it from happening in the future?

Knudson, Brian. We Heart Theory (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Case Studies>Activity Theory


Case Studies Online  (link broken)

The March 1998 special issue of BCQ included 15 original cases for classroom use. We have now run out of the print version of the journal, but this site provides .pdf versions for your use. You are welcome to download and print these for your classes. Copyright for any other use of this material rests with the ABC. Listed below are links to supplemental materials for some cases. The materials include sample student responses to assignments (with identifying information masked) as well as comments on those samples and teaching and learning notes. The materials are not intended to be answers to case problems nor models of best practices but points for analysis and discussion.

Business Communication Quarterly (1998). Academic>Course Materials>Case Studies



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