Building designs with CSS is no longer a fringe activity practiced by standards geeks and early-adopters. Creative pioneers and highly skilled designers are bringing CSS to the mainstream. The explosion in popularity is ushering in a new wave of possibilities for web design. CSS provides greater design control, allows more flexibility, and enables sites to become attractive, accessible, and faster-loading, all at the same time.
There are problems with non-user-centered/system-centered design. We must know, understand, and work with actual users so that the people who use the product can do so quickly and easily to accomplish their own tasks.
The Cascading Style Sheets standard returns some control of style to web authors. HTML describes only the structure of information. CSS, though incompletely implemented as yet, adds a style sheet where an author can specify fonts, colors, margins, alignments, indentations and other elements for any HTML tag or class of tag. An introduction to CSS shows the status of the CSS standard and various browser implementations, how to generate HTML and style sheets, the use of CSS compared to PDF, and the role of style sheets in HTML Help.
Web applications force separation of user-interface from core application. Makes development of multiple user interfaces affordable. Opens up new opportunities for meeting user needs.
How well do web site usability questionnaires apply to the assessment of websites? Can a web site questionnaire work well as an adjunct to a usability test, with a relatively small number of users? This is a handy reference I use from time to time when putting together new usability questionnaires. It contains good reminders of best practices.
Complexity theory offers a way of understanding our role within the World-Wide Web. Postulating a rhetorical object based on object-oriented analysis and design, we can harness a number of ideas from complexity theory to gain a new perspective on the Web. This paper reviews a number of complexity ideas that may help technical communicators grapple with the exponential growth in the volume of inter-related and interacting rhetorical objects on the Web, viewing the rhetorical situation as the result of the law of increasing returns, which has brought us through a phase transition to a new environment, with its own emergent properties, creating new roles for writers, and new work for managers.
Usability testing can be planned and executed at various levels of complexity to enhance your Web site throughout stages of development. Include usability testing in the front-end planning and set Web site usability goals. Test early prototypes and then test again to quantify improvements. Assemble a team to plan the testing even if it is just two people. If you follow a planning and testing checklist, you should be rewarded with valuable data to analyze and upgrade your Web site. The process and outcome can enhance your company¶s reputation or improve your credibility as an information designer or developer.
Many FrameMaker users need to publish their documents on the World Wide Web. The best approach is to use a converter, which preserves the format and organization of the original FrameMaker document. Good converters can handle long, complex documents that contain elements such as table of contents, index, line drawings, bitmap graphics, tables, footnotes, and equations. We discuss the benefits of having a single source document for paper and Web, the techniques for creating documents that can be converted easily, and the powerful conversion tools available today.
Several Web service discovery technologies including Universal Description, Discovery and Integration (UDDI), Web Services Metadata Exchange (WS-MEX) and other lightweight protocols and techniques can be used for particular scenarios. This presentation will discuss the status of each of these technologies and how they relate to the Web services stack as well as which technology should be employed to solve certain types of Web service integration problems.
My paper discusses the specific challenges associated with designing a Chinese-English Web site in Taiwan for both local and English-speaking audiences abroad. My paper seeks to answer this umbrella question: How can we integrate the Chinese and English portions of the site into a single, consistent presentation? Using an example of a Taiwan-based company, I explore how technical communicators working on this bilingual Web site project (1) developed content in English that is suitable both for native English speakers around the world; (2) reconciled different audience responses to visual communication strategies; (3) tackled the technological challenge of a bilingual Web site; and (4) addressed the cultural and political challenges of developing a Web site for diverse audiences.
Manufacturers are currently grappling with determining whether they should put safety information on the Web and if they do how it should be presented. Technical communicators, Web content developers, and Web designers will ultimately be responsible for the presentation of Web-based safety information. This article discusses special considerations that should be given the formatting (HTML, PDF, etc.), design, (font, size, and color), and location of safety information on the Web. Additionally, areas for future research on the issue of Web-based safety information are identified.
Personalization, which allows a web user to choose the content and layout of their own portal web page, is one of the most popular ways of increasing traffic at web sites, and helps to ensure return customers. But to be successful, it must be simple and it must be intuitive. This paper presents common personalization features used by top portals and reviews the design of the interfaces of three top portals: My Excite, My Yahoo and MSN. This paper provides examples of good and bad design techniques used in the portal sites, and gives tips on how to design usable personalization features.
Knowing more about how web site characteristics work to reach non-e-commerce goals can guide web designers working towards some of those goals. Environmental advocacy sites are apt to provide rich examples of how web sites try to educate, change behaviors and values, induce action, and promote participatory decisionmaking. Studying them, then, may help us understand how the characteristics of their web sites work. This paper explores how a particular advocacy group web site, www.seedcoalition.org, educates and induces action in its visitors. The site seems likely to effectively educate and induce action, but could do more to induce deliberation and encourage interpersonal communication and discussion about issues, which might better support the group’s long term goals.
Which pages have the search engines crawled? What kind of pages are they? Has the search engine Indexing indexed all of the crawled pages? How’s the search engine ranking traffic?
The burgeoning eCommerce industry has redefined not only traditional business processes, but the technology required to impart them. Roles are being created or redefined, where programmers, systems analysts, and engineers now have to have almost as much knowledge of business process development as they do of their technical specialty. The same can be said for technical communicators. Technical communicators involved in eCommerce today need to have an understanding of the major issues involved in eCommerce. This paper addresses five of these major eCommerce areas: the statistics behind eCommerce issues, eCommerce infrastructure providers, managed electronic commerce, business object technology, and data mining.
Editing copy is more than fixing commas and typographical styles. Although many of the same editing strategies apply to both print and online copy, editing Web copy requires carefully considering the Web site’s functions, thinking about reading strategies, making heads and links clear, and considering Web structures.
The integration of technology into education includes increased educational Internet and web use. However the websites used in and for education are rarely critically examined, especially in regard to gender equality, design, and use. Print has been argued to carry with it certain attributes that disturb gender equality, so it is likely that electronic writing might cause similar problems.
When designing a complex online system, thoughtful use of appropriate prose style, information architecture and interface design all play a part in establishing a useful link between the designers of an online environment and the users of that environment. To keep users interested and engaged with the information in an online system, creating an engaging ethos for the site is essential. To learn how to apply ethos not only in prose style, but also in overall design, we must look to how ethos has been put to use in the past with the written and spoken word.
More accessible documents through authoring tool supports. Exploit mainstream tools for easier information retrieval and document manipulation.