Interaction design for new technological environments relies on the tradition of human-computer interaction (HCI). With roots in the 1980s, HCI design paradigms often reflect the setting in which the user is an office worker in front of a desktop computer. As computational power can now be embedded in almost any type of product, the desktop setting has lost much of its relevance as a starting point for interface design. In particular, interfaces for wearable computing challenge designers to look for completely new approaches to interaction design. In this article, we propose a method in which the ideas for new creative forms of interaction design are triggered through panel work. This method draws on an underpinning theoretical framework from structural semiotics that emphasizes the holistic nature of design.
Notes databases can provide versatile environments for developing and sharing knowledge globally through both client-based and Web-based applications. In this panel discussion we explore some of the issues facing information designers as they enable communication and collaboration in work groups. We will focus on how to determine if Notes is an optimal solution, how to translate information needs into effective design elements and functionalities in Notes, and how we can help ease the transition to the world of Notes for new users.
Social psychology and organization development suggest that virtually all people, and all teams, must deal with conflicting impulses toward effective and ineffective behaviour. Research shows that it is a basic human trait to want to succeed, to be in control, and to avoid embarrassment. Group dynamics research also suggests that teams operate on two dimensions: the task or work dimension, and the social or relationship dimension. High-performing teams pay attention to both the task and social environments. They create an environment that minimizes the occurrence of face-saving and defensive behaviour. This environment is usually characterized by honesty and authenticity, by the use of relevant and verifiable information, and by a willingness to own up to mistakes.
Every technical writer should have strong writing skills. Just as important, in my judgment, is a keen sense of technical curiosity. As a hiring manager, I look for it in every job applicant I interview. If you do not have this sense naturally, you can develop it.
Technical and professional writing pedagogies have traditionally understood collaborative writing as an aggregate, cooperative venture between writers and subject matter experts. In contrast, this tutorial argues that Web 2.0 technologies offer technical and professional communication pedagogies more advantageous conceptions and practices of collaborative writing. The tutorial analyzes how new media technologies create a different collaborative writing environment and then discusses how these environments help collaborative writing methods create an alternative writing situation. The study concludes by examining the outcomes of student Web 2.0 research projects and by offering technical and professional writing instructors new pedagogical strategies for teaching collaborative writing.
A common activity at the outset of many design projects is a competitive review. As a designer, when you encounter a design problem, it’s a natural instinct to try to understand what others are doing to solve the same or similar problems. However, like other design-related activities, if you start a competitive review without a clear purpose and strategy for the activity, doing the review may not be productive.
As editors, it is good to remember the following points to discern and work through conflict situations.
Have you had a disagreement with your boss about the direction of a project? Did you actually voice your difference of opinion with him, or did you grumble about it silently but do what he told you anyway? If you answered the latter, then you’re not doing your job as effectively as you could be.
You don’t have to be an officer to benefit professionally from your local STC chapter meetings. Start attending your local chapter meetings and discover the many forms of buried treasure. These treasures will result in a new perspective to your writing, an increased library of professional resources, professional writers being hired at your workplace, and the chance to view the “Best of Show” writing. You can reap rewards such as these with a small investment of personal time.
Professionals use contextual collaboration most frequently. It includes two forms: genre use and document borrowing. Professionals use hierarchical collaboration in moderation. It includes two forms: author-centered and sequential. Professionals use group collaboration the least of all.
Previous research indicates that voice annotation helps reviewers to express the more complex and social aspects of a collaborative writing task. Little direct evidence exists, however, about the effect of voice annotations on the writers who must use such annotations. To test the effect, we desinged an interface intended to alleviate some of the problems associated with the voice modality and undertook a study with two goals: to compare the nature and quantity of voice and written comments, and to evaluate how writers responded to comments produced in each mode. Writers were paired with reviewers who made either written or spoken annotations from which the writers revised. The study provides direct evidence that the greater expressivity of the voice modality, which previous research suggested benefits reviewers, produces annotations that writers also find usable. Interactions of modality with the type of annotation suggest specific advantages of each mode for enhancing the processes of review and revision.
Although scholars have examined how individuals deal with information that is unavailable on decision-making tasks, little research has explored how groups deal with missing information. The present study proposes two ways groups can address information that is unavailable: by employing a diminished information set or by inferring the value of missing information. Both of these approaches are tested using an information sharing task. Groups are compared with information unavailable to any member, available but unshared among group members (i.e., hidden profile), and available and shared among all group members. Evidence indicates that group members may utilize both strategies to deal with missing information.
Much of the material we generate for teaching is digital, perhaps most obviously lecture notes and presentation slides. Some instructors put this material online as part of the course materials available to students. For most of us, I think, this kind of material is not consciously designed to be used by students in this way, but that doesn’t mean that it would be impossible to do so.
Technical communicators frequently collaborate in workplace projects and bring a host of different kinds of expertise to this collaboration. Yet the understanding of communicators’ expertise among managers and subject matter experts is grounded in a view of writing as a finished product and authorship as singular. This article documents many different kinds of 'contributory expertise' employed by writers collaborating to produce articles for publication. Expertise in research, textual composition, visual composition, as well as other kinds of expertise garnered on previous projects is often brought to collaborative projects. Often emerging and developing as a function of collaborative work is expertise in framing the project, conducting review processes, and assessing outcomes. These categories are discussed in some detail to provide practicing communicators with ideas for documenting expertise in their specific workplaces, to provide students with ideas for developing expertise in various areas, and to prov
If you ask designers what the most frustrating parts about designing a project are, one of the top answers would be undoubtedly be “communicating and documenting the design process.” And with good reason… it’s not easy. That’s why I interviewed Dan Brown for this week’s SpoolCast. I don’t know of anyone who knows more about solid design communications than Dan.
Short deadlines force project teams to quickly design, test, and release the product with little or no design documentation. If these documents are written, they generally are not well-written and are not comprehensive. The fact of the matter is that most project teams do not have enough staff to design the product, let alone write and manage documentation. This situation creates an ideal opportunity for technical writers to assist the project team in more ways than writing a user guide.
As much we think we are multitaskers, there's a limit to what we can process. How has technology's enabling of communication anywhere and everywhere affected us in the context of traditional activities? How do they interplay with each other?
One of the main issues crossing the fields of organization theory, communication theory, and information technology is whether email communication does increase participation in decision making. Common sense and some case studies suggest the so-called "democratization argument": since email allows direct (non-filtered) communication between people and identity/status concealment, it enhances more freely and easy participation in decision making.
It's obvious that almost all the changes you make will affect your user community, but considerably less obvious how helpful that community can be about providing feedback before you make the changes.