A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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Extreme documentation is an agile methodology for developing documentation in small to medium-sized teams in the face of vague or rapidly changing requirements.

 

251.
#19744

Designing Usable Technical Documents: Why Bother?

Many professionals in the field of technical writing involved in the design of instruction guides, will at some point in their career have experienced some doubt whether their efforts to produce high quality documentation really make sense. Do consumers attach some value to the instruction guides for the products they have purchased? Do they use these documents at all, or are most instruction guides thrown away, together with the packing material of the equipment they come with?

Jansen, C. Indus (2002). Articles>Documentation>Usability

252.
#18271

Designing User Assistance for Internet Marketplace Applications Using Server-Side Online Help   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In this article, I examine Internet marketplace applications and the challenges they present to user-assistance design. This examination illustrates the ways in which complex Internet applications, such as marketplaces, force technical communicators to rethink their approach to online user assistance. In the course of this examination, I make a case for a model of user assistance that taps the potential for customizability, scalability, and dynamic content of the technologies that power Internet applications. However, marketplaces are only one example of the type of application that can benefit from this model because it can be implemented for any Internet or intranet application that utilizes dynamic, build-on-the-fly Internet technologies, such as Microsoft Active Server Pages or Sun Microsystem JavaServer Pages. To fulfill our responsibilities to our users, we technical communicators must be willing to expand our skill set by adopting these technologies that allow us to target documentation to user needs.

Whittemore, Stewart. Technical Communication Online (2003). Design>Documentation>Online

253.
#36049

Detaching a Template using an AfterPublish Macro

A short tutorial showing how to create an AfterPublish macro to detach the template from the published Word document.

Blunck, Hamish. HamishBlunck.com (2009). Presentations>Documentation>Screencasts>Author It

254.
#20088

Determining the Right Training and Documentation Solution   (PDF)

Frequently a product has documentation associated with it. Large products may have training and documentation. However, as corporations are 'rolling out' new technology to their staff they are becoming aware that supporting the user through a unified documentation and training strategy, results in fewer problems and faster integration and usage. This paper addresses the process of determining the right solution and an effective design and development process.

Rockley, Ann and Hifary Shirley. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Documentation

255.
#27645

Determining When to Use Show-Me Helps and Demos

The availability of powerful yet easy-to-use multimedia tools enables technical writers to consider a powerful new form of embedded user assistance: show-me help. This paper provides an overview of who is currently using show-me help--some current research, some history, and some definitions. It offers some guidance in choosing tools, designing show-me help, and deciding when to include then, concentrating on consideration of your users, potential topics, subsequent releases, and translation. It also suggests how show-me helps can be reused as part of product education and single-sourced into user assistance from the Web.

Bradford, Annette Norris. WritersUA (2005). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Video

256.
#29641

Determining When to Use Show-Me Helps and Demos   (PDF)

The availability of powerful yet easy-to-use multimedia tools enables technical writers to consider a powerful new form of embedded user assistance: show-me help. This paper provides an overview of who is currently using show- me help--some current research, some history, and some definitions. It offers some guidance in choosing tools, designing show-me help, and deciding when to include then, concentrating on consideration of your users, potential topics, subsequent releases, and translation. It also suggests how show-me helps can be reused as part of product education and single-sourced into user assistance from the Web. When this information is presented in a conference session, the final part of that session will be a workshop in which a sample show me will be built using the QarbonTM ViewletBuilderTM tool. For this session, you have a choice to watch or do. You can watch as I create a show me for Windows(R) Explorer in this session or you can go to www.qarbon.com, download the demo version of ViewletBuilder, and do the exercises along with me.

Norris Bradford, Annette. STC Proceedings (2005). Articles>Documentation

257.
#37392

Developers and the Missing Help File

Sometimes our developers are just a bit too eager. It doesn’t happen that often but when it does, it takes us Technical Writers by surprise. One such occasion happened today when the first build was created for the next release of one of our applications. No real issue there, but when they came to us half an hour after the build process completed to say the help didn’t look right, we went to investigate.

RoboColum(n), The (2010). Articles>Documentation>Software

258.
#37400

Developers and the Missing Help File

Sometimes our developers are just a bit too eager. It doesn’t happen that often but when it does, it takes us Technical Writers by surprise. One such occasion happened today when the first build was created for the next release of one of our applications. No real issue there, but when they came to us half an hour after the build process completed to say the help didn’t look right, we went to investigate.

McAndrew, Colum. RoboColum(n), The (2010). Articles>Documentation>Programming>Project Management

259.
#13295

Developing a Documentation Process that Works in a Regulated Environment   (PDF)

Working in a regulated environment (for example, an ISO-certified company or a company regulated by the FDA) necessarily changes the way documentation is developed and managed. The documentation development process must exist and must meet all of the requirements set by the governing body, yet not be so mired in detail that it overwhelms the writers and managers.

Rupel, Roberta A. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Documentation

260.
#19254

Developing a Single-Sourced Online Help System   (PDF)   (members only)

The definition of single sourcing continues to broaden in scope since its first mention in The Society of Technical Communication’s 46th Annual Conference publication. As a result, it is becoming increasingly difficult for technical communicators to understand what single source means and, more importantly, choose a definition of single sourcing that correlates with their specific task. One “type” of single sourcing involves reusing information for multiple products. Several developers at IBM have produced a single-source online help system. Unlike other single-sourcing methods that require a significant investment and a high degree of technical experience, these methods are inexpensive and require a moderate, yet creative, technical aptitude.

Vicek, Keith, Phil Menzies and Andre Evans. STC Proceedings (2002). Design>Documentation>Single Sourcing>Online

261.
#18279

Developing a Style Guide in the Real World   (PDF)

Style guides present a series of rules for standardizing writing. Style guide developers run the risk of concentrating too much on these rules, and too little on other factors that may ultimately affect the quality of the documents that are governed by the style guide. I would like to consider some of these other factors in this paper. I’ve drawn this discussion from Battelle’s efforts developing style guides in various industries. Another reason to involve your clients in the development process is to help ensure that the style guide includes the information they will need. For example, we included tips on using Microsoft Word in a style guide that would be used by writers working in Word. Don’t be afraid to be creative when deciding what to include in your style guide; if it gives writers a reason to look something up in the style guide,

Wieringa, Douglas. STC Proceedings (1996). Presentations>Documentation>Style Guides

262.
#27500

Developing a Web-Based Tutorial in RoboHelp

The very first thing you should do in developing a tutorial is to be familiar enough with the subject matter that you can write the content.

School for Champions (2005). Articles>Documentation>Writing>Technical Writing

263.
#18272

Developing an Embedded Help Solution   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

As we grow up, we learn to develop our independence and to ask for help less and less. No wonder that, when confronted with a problem, so few users click the Help button. Standard help systems have several common issues: help is separate from the product; users have to leave the task they are performing to get help, and they return and try to remember what they were doing; users cannot find the required information; users get lost in the help.

Mueller, Paul. Technical Communication Online (2003). Design>Documentation>Help

264.
#30428

Developing Documentation for ISO 9000 Certification: Case Studies from the United States and Europe   (PDF)

This panel discussion clarifies the implications of ISO 9000 certification for writers and editors and presents European and U.S. approaches to developing documentation for certification.

Carom, Barbara L., Mary Louise O'Connell and Wesley Chase. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Documentation>Case Studies>ISO 9000

265.
#13480

Developing Documentation Process   (PDF)

This paper defines a good manual to have a good balance in quality, cost (close to estimation, not over), and delivery (on time schedule). Analyzing our past problems, we have been developing documentation process to control these three factors through the following: working as a team, standardizing an estimation method, and standardizing an evaluation system.

Suzuki, Akihiko. STC Proceedings (1993). Presentations>Documentation>Workflow

266.
#14677

Developing Help for the Web: Designs, Trends, Strategies   (PDF)

Zubak reviews the current state of Web-based help technology. Her article prepares technical communicators for upcoming challenges in this increasingly important field.

Zubak, Cheryl Lockett. Intercom (2001). Design>Documentation>Help

267.
#20304

Developing HTML Documents and Help System   (PDF)

This document explains necessary tips for providing product information in digital form, giving specific examples of choosing the suitable media, classifying information, appropriate linking, file organization, etc. through our experience (in Fuji Xerox Co., Ltd.) during the development of the software product called Web PrintVision.

Ito, Sachi. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

268.
#23155

Developing ISO 9000 Procedures   (PDF)

Documentation is the foundation upon which an ISO-compliant quality system is built. Creating this documentation isn’t, however, as easy as it seems on the surface. Understanding the concept of the Standard enables writers to understand the content requirements. The structure this documentation follows will also impact the success of your registration audit. Once the documentation has been created, the control of it becomes of paramount importance. ISO requires that you control not only the documents and data you create, but also those that you receive from outside sources. Document and data control issues are one of the most common causes of registration failure!

Robinson, Ralph E. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Documentation>Policies and Procedures

269.
#31799

Developing Knowledge Base Articles

A short article that offers some tips on writing articles for a knowledge base, whether internal or client facing.

DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Documentation>Writing>Technical Writing

270.
#30430

Developing Online Help for OS/2 Applications   (PDF)

One of the biggest problems facing Help developers is that of providing users with adequate methods of navigation through what can be huge amounts of information. After more than a two or three jumps, users can find themselves in topics that might be useful, but with no clear indication of how they got there or how to return to where they started. OS/2 gives the Help developer extraordinarily flexible tools for creating online documentation that can prevent this situation and provide users with a clearer path through online information than many other platforms can provide. However, this enhanced usability is not without its cost.

Radecki, Steven Lewis. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

271.
#30136

Developing Online Help in Lotus Notes   (PDF)

If you are a technical writer or manage technical writers and have been asked to document Lotus Notes applications, this workshop will give you a jump start. You can use the features available in Notes to create an effective help system as a Notes database. This help database can either be a view in an existing Notes application or a stand-alone database linked to the application. In this workshop, you will learn the basics of creating help systems in Lotus Notes.

Gross, Jacqui, Faye Smith and Steve Charles. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Help>Online

272.
#25058

Developing Troubleshooting Publications for Complex Systems: A Case Study: Troubleshooting Router-Based Internetworks   (PDF)

The process of troubleshooting problems in complex systems involves systematically obtaining and synthesizing information from many sources, Creating troubleshooting support documents involves an analogous planning and development process. Three activities are essential to the creation of successful troubleshooting materials: cultivating strategic partners, designing an effective document, and implementing efficient information gathering processes. The unique nature of troubleshooting information requires approaches to these activities that can be adapted to different situations. This paper uses an informal case study format to illustrate how several techniques developed at Cisco Systems, Inc. can be used to create troubleshooting material for any complex system.

Lew, H. Kim. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Documentation

273.
#20305

Developing WebHelp: What 'How to' Design Doesn't Always Tell Us   (PDF)

Development of the Intranet application STAR.IDN for requesting and receiving medically related supplies illustrates a broad spectrum of technological and user issues. As such it serves as a case study of design and user-related decisions between an application designer and a Help author. Central to the study is the argument that design must be based on an empirically 'informed' rather than 'assumed' user model. The project also challenges Web literature that does not address user considerations in its promotion of design methods.

Eiler, Mary Ann and Kathleen Bright. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

274.
#36807

Development of an Automotive Icon for Indication of Significant Tire Underinflation   (PDF)

In the TREAD Act of November 1, 2000, Congress required the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop a rule requiring all new light vehicles to be equipped with a warning system to indicate to the driver when a tire is significantly underinflated. Research was conducted to assess the ability of two existing ISO symbols and 13 proposed alternative symbols to communicate the message of tire underinflation. An existing dashboard icon representing an engine was included as a baseline. A comprehension test was conducted in which each of 120 subjects was asked to report the meaning of one tire pressure icon and the engine icon. Results showed 25 and 37.5% comprehension for the ISO tire icons. All of the 13 alternative icons had better comprehension: 6 of 13 had 100%; 2 of 13 had 87.5% comprehension. The type of wheel pictured in tire image based icons was found to affect comprehension. Results suggest that alternatives to the ISO icons should be considered for use in alerting drivers to tire inflation problems.

Mazzae, Elizabeth N. and Thomas A. Ranney. U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (2001). Articles>Documentation>Traveler Information>Risk Communication

275.
#23583

Development of Japanese-Language CD-ROM Manuals Using SGML   (PDF)

Fujitsu Limited publishes as many as 10,000 manuals a year. Efficient, standardized manual production is, therefore, indispensable. Our department has created a manual on CD - ROM as a pilot project of electronic publishing using the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML). The use of CD - ROM provides the manual with a convenient reformation search feature and high portability that can not be achieved with conventional paper manuals. This paper discusses our methodologies, problems involved in Japanese language SGML manual production, and how we solved them.

Nakamura, Yuko. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Documentation>Localization>Japan

 
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