This article examines the characteristics of collaborative work and overlapping activity systems in the popular online game World of Warcraft. Using genre theory and activity theory as frames to work out the genre ecology of gameplay, the article focuses on how players coordinate ad hoc grouping activity across and through genres. It articulates the related development of open systems in online gaming in a discussion of interface modifications (AddOns) and online information databases that players generate, drawing on De Certeau's formulation of strategies and tactics and Warner's discussion of publics and counterpublics. The article concludes by discussing implications of online gaming for an open-systems approach to information design in professional communication and for professional communication in general.
When used at critical points in the design process, group sessions build strong, respectful relationships. Since clients directly experience the design work, you don't need to sell clients on an idea--they were with you the whole time.
If you’re a designer or developer, you’ve probably heard about Git, and you might know that it has become immensely popular, especially among the open source community. Though it may seem cryptic at first, this version control system could change the way you work with text, whether you’re writing code, or a novel. This article covers why version control is important, how to install the Git version control system, and how to get started with your first repository. Once you start using Git, you’ll want to throw everything into it, from full-blown apps to blog post drafts, because it’s so easy and versatile.
Today in 2005, how many people in the world can go a day without using a product “Made in China”? Although the answer is not yet “none”, it soon will be. Whether people know it or not, the Chinese tide is already lapping at our feet. Yet most people remain ignorant of what it stands for.
Shared Medical Systems Corporation (SMS) recently combined its 66-person technical writing group and six-person performance-centered design team to form a new department called User Performance. With more and more clinicians—often novice users—interacting with SMS systems, SMS recognized the need to place an increased focus on usability.
It's common for people at all levels of a company, and in all company departments, to comment on the usability of the product or company web site and give suggestions on how to improve it. But debates over usability and strategies for redesign can get quite contentious and time consuming.
If I get everyone working for me, at some point doesn’t this become somewhat of a joke? Am I sitting back, emailing people all day with requests and updates? Maybe. Theoretically, as you get more and more people working for you, you take on more of an interactive management role. It takes a lot of work to make sure the pistons in the content engine are firing properly.
This philosophical article explores individuality and innovation (creating new technology) as they relate to the communication approaches of scientists, engineers, and technologists. I suggest that effective communication between technical and non-technical people is difficult because technical communication lacks humanity, a personal dimension. I also suggest that dimension is lacking because technical people give up their identity to be considered competent and I argue that a different approach to communication education for scientists, engineers, and technologists is required to equip them with requisite communication skills to make their personal contribution to successful innovation.
Most mediators agree that inclusion is a bedrock principle of public dispute resolution, that everyone with a stake in a dispute should be at the table helping to resolve it. This principle helps ensure that any consensus agreement reached will be seen as legitimate by all parties and the public and will have broad support when it is being implemented. So what does a mediator do when a key stakeholder is reluctant or even refuses to participate in a dispute resolution process?
What are some ways to effectively track and manage a group’s performance? Wiley examines a way to do so using specific requirements designed to measure the success of an STC SIG.
Communication professionals can and should have frequent, direct access to and influence on executive leadership. Your CEO needs you, but are you ready? It is a misperception that CEOs are too busy, uninterested or unreceptive. While some communicators have close contact with executives, many other communication professionals rarely see the CEO and may have many layers of management between themselves and that "C-level" suite. But you don't have to report directly to the CEO to get his or her ear.
Efficient, effective collaboration between UX designers and stakeholders is an essential ingredient of a successful project. Stakeholders bring their unique perspectives to a project, and their feedback can help a designer understand the design problem space and develop solutions that align with business and technology objectives. But simply asking stakeholders for feedback can lead to misaligned expectations and communication problems. By being thoughtful in how you make your request for feedback and by providing simple questions and instructions, you can ensure that you identify potential risks early in the design process, minimize stress, meet your deadlines, and ultimately design a better solution.
As a Consultant, you have to be flexible to deal with change and the different personalities that come with the job. Some clients let you take control and only check in once in awhile, and others have to be part of every step of the way. It’s something that you can’t take personally because you never know what the reasons are for the clients reason to behave in the way that they do. The only way you are going to find success is by smiling and going with the flow.
A bad client relationship is like a bad marriage without the benefits. To avoid such relationships, or to fix the one you're in, learn the five classic signs of trouble. Recognizing the never-ending contract revisionist, the giant project team, the vanishing boss and other warning signs can help you run successful, angst-free projects.
One of the most distinctive stylistic virtues of speechwriting is characterization, the art of capturing a client’s voice in a believable and engaging manner. This article examines characterization in the context of corporate communication, interweaving an interview with veteran executive speechwriter Alan Perlman with accounts from the ancient rhetorical tradition. As the analysis shows, Perlman’s approach to characterization confirms long-standing rhetorical wisdom yet incorporates insights that reflect the contemporary corporate context in which he has worked. The analysis also calls attention to enduring tensions in characterization—tensions between imitation and representation, effectiveness and ethics, and dramatic character and trustworthy ethos.
Git enables the maintenance of a digital body of work (often, but not limited to, code) by many collaborators using a peer-to-peer network of repositories. It supports distributed workflows, allowing a body of work to either eventually converge or temporarily diverge. This chapter will show how various aspects of Git work under the covers to enable this, and how it differs from other version control systems (VCSs).
Feedback is important to business, but no one needed to tell us that. As Technical Communications managers, we regularly see feedback in many forms: user feedback, customer feedback, internal feedback, external feedback, feedback from testing, and feedback in performance appraisals. As beacons of information communication in our organizations, we are responsible to communicate well and, by extension, possess a solid appreciation of and ability to respond to feedback.
With the birth of the Internet and the advancement of other information technologies, companies and organizations are now able to operate across borders, cultures and time zones at lower costs than ever before. One way this occurs is through virtual teams, which allow companies to maximize their global expertise and resources, while team members can remain in their home countries.
In the Netherlands, most universities have a Faculty of Humanities that offers several bachelor’s and master’s programmes in the field of communication and information sciences. Each of these programmes outnumbers the classical studies such as linguistics, history, and philosophy, in terms of students that is, not in terms of teaching staff. The high student-staff ratio in the communication programmes necessitates a careful investment of teaching resources. Here we report on some recent developments within our institutes. The Need for Team Teaching A teacher has two challenges when facing a large group of 50 to over 300 students: to instill an active attitude toward learning and an academic attitude toward knowledge. The first challenge is addressed in all our courses by fostering the students’ repertoire for self-directed learning.
The 'Hollywood Model' is one of several work trends that have emerged to satisfy the needs of the changing U.S. workplace in the last couple of decades. This paper will: examine some of the forces that have precipitated change in the U.S. workplace; explore emerging work trends especially relevant to technical communicators; and recommend a small set of key skills that technical communicators will need to develop in order to thrive in the changing workplace.
Beyond the obvious impact on the Social Web, Google Wave is also going to change aspects of every business that currently relies on communication and collaboration tools of any sort, including the ubiquitous but lowly email.
I recently wrapped up my first project with a client where we used Google Wave for document collaboration and wrote about the lessons I learned along the way. In this post I am going to look forward to some of the tasks that I see Wave being used for.