A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Design

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Participatory design is an approach to design that attempts to actively involve end users in the design process to help ensure that the product designed meets their needs and is usable. This approach is focused on process and is not a design style. For some, this approach has a political dimension of user empowerment and democratisation. For others, it is seen as a way of abrogating design responsibility and innovation by designers.

 

1.
#31492

The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint

I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. While I’m in the venture capital business, this rule is applicable for any presentation to reach agreement: for example, raising capital, making a sale, forming a partnership, etc.

Kawasaki, Guy. How to Change the World (2005). Articles>Presentations>Information Design>Typography

2.
#37250

The 10/90 Rule for Magnificent Web Analytics Success

For every $100 you invest in web analytics, you should spend $10 on tools and $90 on people with the brain power to think about the results from the tools.

Kaushik, Avinash. Occam's Razor (2006). Articles>Web Design>Audience Analysis>Log Analysis

3.
#34307

101 Examples of Text Treatments on the Web

Typography is often a deciding factor in the success of a design. Its importance cannot be overstated. Effective typography can be achieved in so many different ways, as demonstrated in the 17 different categories below. Some of the most common ways to treat type is with size, color variation, creative illustrations, and use of textures. The examples below are just the tip of the iceberg as far as the possibilities for type.

Webdesigner Depot (2009). Design>Web Design>Typography

4.
#34759

25-Point Website Usability Checklist  (link broken)

Four major components are covered in this checklist: accessibility, identity, navigation and content. The list is a printable PDF and contains a rating system and space for comments.

User Effect (2009). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Workflow

5.
#21878

2D is Better Than 3D

Most abstract information spaces work poorly in 3D because they are non-physical. If anything, they have at least a hundred dimensions, so visualizing an information space in 3D means throwing away 97 dimensions instead of 98: hardly a big enough improvement to justify the added interface complexity.

Nielsen, Jakob. Alertbox (1998). Design>Web Design>Usability

6.
#38103

30 Beautiful Photo-Centric Web Designs for Inspiration

There’s something about photographs that manages to attract the attention of web users. Indeed, photos can be excellent design elements in a web design. Watch the file sizes of your web pages though; you have to strike a balance between aesthetics and page response times. From images of scenic landscapes to photos of people, the sites in this collection demonstrate the inspiring and visually tantalizing use of photos as chief elements in a web design.

Gube, Jacob. Design Instruct (2011). Design>Web Design>Graphic Design

7.
#37049

The $300 Million Button

It's hard to imagine a form that could be simpler: two fields, two buttons, and one link. Yet, it turns out this form was preventing customers from purchasing products from a major e-commerce site, to the tune of $300,000,000 a year. What was even worse: the designers of the site had no clue there was even a problem.

Spool, Jared M. User Interface Engineering (2009). Articles>Web Design>Usability>Forms

8.
#19151

34 Ideas for Promoting Your Intranet

The promotion of an intranet is never-ending. From the day it's launched, through to its eventual retirement, an intranet must be constantly advertised to staff. Without this, many staff will remain unaware that the intranet even exists. Others won't recognise the full value of the intranet, or use anything but a tiny corner of the site. This article outlines 34 ideas for promoting an intranet, ranging from the obvious through to the very unusual. Somewhere in this list should be a few approaches that you can apply to your own intranet.

Robertson, James. Step Two (2003). Design>Web Design>Intranets

9.
#28436

3D Effects

Three-dimensional illusion effects are powerful devices that can achieve excellent results. They can also add significantly to overall page filesize, and can reduce usability if overused, so should be used deliberately and with care (unlike the title image above, see cooltext.com if you want one).

Hunt, Ben. Web Design From Scratch (2005). Design>Web Design>Graphic Design>3D

10.
#20199

3D Type Effect  (link broken)

Using Photoshop's built-in features, you can easily create a simple looking 3D type effect in a few easy steps.

Kelby, Scott. Mac Design Magazine (2003). Design>Typography>Software>Adobe Photoshop

11.
#20668

3D: A Better Way to Produce High Quality?  (link broken)

Going three-dimensional in graphics has many advantages – at least in theory. Everyone knows how tired you will become of the same graphic element, however nicely drawn, when used over and over. Someone at the department has taken the time to get good reference-material and draws an airplane, a train or something else rather complicated, and of course the drawing gets stored for further use. The next time you need such an illustration you simply copy-paste the element into the new graphic.

VisualJournalism (2002). Design>Graphic Design>Technical Illustration

12.
#32735

404 Page on a Static Site

Here’s a very quick, but very useful trick. You can catch 404 errors (page not found) on a static site and serve up a custom 404 page with a one-liner in your .htaccess file.

Coyier, Chris. CSS Tricks (2008). Design>Web Design>User Centered Design

13.
#33351

80/20 Again: Critical Architectural Junctures

Argues that we should focus our design and architectural efforts on the few options that provide the greatest benefit.

Rosenfeld, Louis. Louis Rosenfeld (2002). Articles>Information Design>Planning

14.
#37578

91 Trendy Contact And Web Forms For Creative Inspiration

This article showcases modern and interesting contact/web form solutions found around the Internet. I also collected interesting ways how people decide to call their contact forms – get in touch, contact info, say hello, talk to me, say hey, connect, say “hi”, mail us and of course – contact us.

Graveris, Dainis. First Web Designer (2009). Design>Web Design>Forms>User Experience

15.
#37526

The 960 Grid System Made Easy

The first time I discovered the 960 Grid System, I was immediately excited about the possibilities of implementing complex layouts so easily. However, since I was fairly new to web design at the time, when I downloaded the files, I quickly became overwhelmed at how complicated the whole thing seemed. With all this code, how could this be the easy way to create a layout?

Johnson, Joshua. Six Revisions (2010). Articles>Web Design>CSS

16.
#34455

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

17.
#32106

A Guide to Web Typography. The Basics

Typography for the Web has come a long way since Tim Berners-Lee flipped the switch in 1991. Back in the days of IE 1.0, good web typography was something of an oxymoron. Today things are different. Not only do we have browsers that support images (gasp!), but we have the opportunity to make our web pages come to life through great typography.

I Love Typography (2008). Design>Web Design>Typography

18.
#29621

A Participatory Approach to Developing User-Centered Communications  (link broken)   (PDF)

Participatory communication is most often applied to development communications--a field of practice rooted in the modernization efforts of the U.S. post World War II. Similar to participatory design, popular definitions and models of participatory communication provide a lens through which the efficacy of user-centered communications may be viewed. At Indiana University, we have had success in increasing the usability and usefulness of communication products by including end users, their advocates, and related stakeholders in cross-functional teams. The adoption of new systems used at Indiana University was fueled by communications strategies, plans, and products that resulted from a participatory approach.

Fitzpatrick, Christine Y. and Gregory A. Moore. STC Proceedings (2005). Articles>User Centered Design>Methods>Participatory Design

19.
#31840

A Team Approach to Information Architecture

A case study of a team approach to information architecture at Duke University by graduates of the Duke Continuing Studies Technical Communication Certificate program.

Olson, Amy, Sangita Koli and Dino Ruggiero. Carolina Communique (2008). Articles>Business Communication>Information Design>Content Management

20.
#26320

A to Z(ee) with P3P

When you build websites that rely on cookies and they are expected to work with privacy settings other than default, you’ll have to deal with P3P. Read on to find out about the cornerstones of the Platform for Privacy Preferences, and get your hands dirty with an example guiding you from empty hands to a complete basic implementation.

Willerich, Matthias. Content with Style. Articles>Web Design>Privacy>Standards

21.
#34451

A Web Policy is a Policy, Not a Standard

I've noticed recently that people (and organizations) often interchange the policies and standards labels as if there is no difference between them... like those who insist the Web and the Internet are the same. I'm not one for splitting hairs, but in this case, policies are truly not the same as standards and it's important to be clear about the distinction.

Koniezeski, Delia. WelchmanPierpoint (2009). Articles>Web Design>Style Guides>Policies and Procedures

22.
#33197

A-Z Indexes to Enhance Site Searching

On a Web site or intranet each of the alphabetically arranged entries or subentries is hyperlinked to the page or to an anchor within a page to where the topic is discussed. Since an alphabetical index can be quite long, it is often divided into pages for each letter of the alphabet. Typically, each letter is linked at the top of the page allow a jump to the start of that letter’s section of the index.

Digital Web Magazine (2005). Articles>Web Design>Indexing>Information Design

23.
#27724

ABBR and ACRONYM are for User Agents, Not for End Users

The WCAG (1.0) guideline 4, checkpoint 4.2, about ABBR and ACRONYM, has for a long time been too unclear to implement. The drafts for XHTML 2.0 and WCAG 2.0 seem to have solved most problems.

Tverskov, Jesper. Smack the Mouse (2004). Articles>Web Design>HTML

24.
#20114

The ABC's of SGML/HTML: Understanding the Concept of CALS and SGML   (PDF)

Many technical communicators have heard about Computer-aided Acquisition and Logistic Support (CALS), or Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), but some do not understand the concept. This paper introduces CALS, the relationship between CALS and SGML, the structure of SGML, and how SGML affects technical communicators.

Perry, Lynn A. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Information Design>SGML

25.
#28426

About Goals

I believe that the best way to design web sites is to bear in mind the goals of the site and its users.

Hunt, Ben. Web Design From Scratch (2005). Design>Web Design>Planning

 
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