A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Designing for the Unexpected: The Role of Creative Group Work for Emerging Interaction Design Paradigms   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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.

Pirhonen, Antti and Emma Murphy. Visual Communication (2008). Articles>Collaboration>Interaction Design


Designing Lotus Notes Databases for Global Collaboration   (PDF)

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.

Knodel, Elinor L., Donald J. Green and Faye Smith. STC Proceedings (1999). Articles>Collaboration>Databases


Developing a Content Management Team for Your Intranet   (PowerPoint)   (members only)

What is the overall process? Who are the players? What are their best uses?

Boiko, Bob. SLA (2002). Presentations>Content Management>Collaboration


Developing High-Performing Teams   (PDF)

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.

Conklin, John James. STC Proceedings (2004). Careers>Collaboration>Management>Workplace


Developing Technical Curiosity: A Marketable Skill

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.

Harvey, Michael. Carolina Communique (2003). Careers>TC>Collaboration


Devising Collective Knowledges for the Technical Writing Classroom: A Course-Based Approach to Using Web 2.0 Writing Technologies in Collaborative Work   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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.

Rice, J.A. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication (2009). Articles>Education>Writing>Collaboration


Differentiating Your Design: A Visual Approach to Competitive Reviews

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.

Hawley, Michael. UXmatters (2009). Design>Project Management>Collaboration>Assessment


Dilbert Versus Godzilla: How to Prepare Yourself to Deal with Monsters in the Workplace

As editors, it is good to remember the following points to discern and work through conflict situations.

Van Brink, Mary R. Just Write Click (2011). Presentations>Collaboration


Disagreements and Debates Are Good Things   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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.

Radick, Steve. Social Media Strategy (2010). Articles>Collaboration


Discover Buried Treasure at Your Local STC Chapter Meetings   (PDF)

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.

Lunemann, Rhonda S. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>Collaboration>Community Building>STC


Discovering Magic

Wouldn’t it be a little magical if, when you signed up for a new site, it said something like, “We notice you have a profile photo on Flickr and Twitter, would you like to use one of those or upload a new one?” Glenn Jones created a JavaScript library called Ident Engine that can help you do just that.

Jones, Glenn. List Apart, A (2009). Articles>Web Design>Social Networking>Collaboration


Discussing Collaboration in Technical Communication

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.

Sampron, Robert, Bethany Lamers and Daniel Sutter. Bob's on the Job (2009). Articles>Collaboration>TC


Distributed Collaborative Writing: A Comparison of Spoken and Written Modalities for Reviewing and Revising Documents   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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.

Neuwirth, Christine M., Ravinder Chandhok, Davida Charney, Patricia Wojahn and Loel Kim. Proceedings of ACM CHI 1994 (1994). Articles>Collaboration>Writing>Audio


Do Groups Know What They Don't Know? Dealing With Missing Information in Decision-Making Groups   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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.

Henningsen, David Dryden and Mary Lynn Miller Henningsen. Visual Communication (2007). Articles>Knowledge Management>Collaboration


Do You Have a Reputation for Excellence?

Your reputation depends on your ability to be a public-spirited, plain-talking professional who serves the interests of your audience rather than your organization.

Olds, George. Communication World Bulletin (2003). Careers>Collaboration>Community Building


Do You Share Teaching Materials Online with Students?

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.

Williams, George H. Prof Hacker (2013). Articles>Education>Collaboration>Online


Documenting Contributory Expertise: The Value Added by Technical Communicators in Collaborative Writing Situations    (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

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

Henry, James M. Technical Communication Online (1998). Articles>Writing>Collaboration>SMEs


Documenting Design with Dan Brown

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.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2008). Design>Collaboration>Communication>Podcasts


Documents That No Project Cannot Be Without

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.

Dick, David J. Carolina Communique (2008). Articles>Documentation>Project Management>Collaboration


Does Communication Everywhere Improve Communication?

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?

Cheng, Kevin. OK-Cancel (2005). Articles>Technology>Mobile>Collaboration


Does Email Communication Increase Participation in Organizational Decision Making?

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.

Biggiero, Lucio. Social Science Research Network (2008). Articles>Collaboration>Organizational Communication>Email


Does Your Network Work for You?

Here are some suggestions to make better use of LinkedIn so that your professional network works for you.

Roux, Tom. Business Insider, The (2009). Careers>Collaboration>Professionalism>Social Networking


The Domino Effect: Changes Have Unforeseen Consequences

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.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Geoff-Hart.com (2000). Articles>Technology>Collaboration


Don't Feed the Subject Matter Experts

I found myself wondering; was there any statistically significant relationship between feeding and cooperation?

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Usability Interface (2004). Articles>Collaboration



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