A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Accessibility Meets Usability: Designing for Multimedia Using Digital Storytelling  (link broken)   (PDF)

Initially, this article provides an overview of digital storytelling that describes its uses, technology, a methodology for creating a digital story, tips for creating a digital story, assessment strategies for digital stories, and links to current examples of digital stories. Next, this article recounts the third author's first experience with digital story-telling, in the context of helping children with hearing loss adopt a more positive frame of reference toward their disability. It describes the storyboarding process, explains how writing is still a primary concern, and gives some valuable advice concerning the pros and cons of dabbling in high- technology. Last it discusses accessibility and usability requirements for digital stories.

Reece, Gloria A. and Judy A. Vinegar. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Accessibility>Multimedia>Usability


Accessible Podcasting: College Students on the Margins in the New Media Classroom   (peer-reviewed)

Students with disabilities are in danger of being either excluded from the new media revolution or accommodated as after-thoughts of pedagogies that fail to anticipate their needs. Too often, our excitement about new media, even when that excitement is tempered by sober reflection, leaves intact a set of normative assumptions about students’ bodies, minds, and abilities. These assumptions operate behind the scenes. They are activated readily and unconsciously as beliefs about how well or poorly students move, see, hear, think, learn, know, act, and use specific technologies. Normative or so-called “ableist” assumptions about our students – e.g. that they hear, see, and move well enough or in certain anticipated ways to engage directly with course learning tools — threaten to undermine our commitments to accessibility and inclusivity.

Zdenek, Sean. Accessible Rhetoric (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Accessibility>Education


Achieving Minimalism through Interactive Multimedia  (link broken)   (PDF)

Use interactive multimedia with text-based online documentation to achieve the minimalist model pioneered by instructional design guru John Carroll. Non-linear modules of 'real' tasks help users get started fast, and quickly learn from any errors.

De Yoreo, Dave and Ben Kauffman. STC Proceedings (2004). Design>Multimedia>Interaction Design>Minimalism


ACM SIGDOC (Special Interest Group on Design of Communication)   (peer-reviewed)

The ACM Special Interest Group on documentation provides a forum on documentation and user support for computer products and systems. The SIG studies processes, methods, and technologies for communicating information via printed and online text, hypermedia, and multimedia. Members include technical communication professionals, educators, and researchers, as well as system designers, developers, usability specialists, and managers responsible for producing or supervising the creation of documentation, online help systems, and end user interfaces. SIGDOC offers conferences, a high-quality Web site, and The Journal of Computer Documentation, a respected quarterly publication.

ACM SIGDOC. Organizations>Documentation>Multimedia


Adding High-Impact Filters to Your Titles

Words go so well with video. They can give an emotional punch to a scene or simply announce what is going to happen next. I love using romantic quotes, Bible passages, and other forms of text in my work. The best part is that you can be just as creative with how those words are presented as you are in picking out the text in the first place.

McManus, Joe. Event DV (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Image Editing>Video


Adding Style To Your Microsoft Wpf And Silverlight Applications  (link broken)

Windows Presentation Foundation is a cross-browser cross-platform cross-device implementation of .NET for building and delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.

Koenig, Chris. SlideShare (2007). Presentations>Multimedia>Interaction Design>Silverlight


Adding the Human Element in Screencasts

Screen video alone is not enough. You need to humanize your content by getting in front of the camera and engaging your audience. And no, I’m not talking about long-winded monologues either. Several 5-7 second talking-head elements can go a long way toward winning over and maintaining the interest of your audience.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Screencasting


Adobe Captivate 4: Backup, Backup, Backup

As simple as the concept of backing up your work might be, I am constantly surprised when I hear from even veteran Captivate developers that a project has become corrupt (the project, which was fine yesterday, won't open today). The fix? If the project won't open, there's a good chance that the only thing anyone can do is copy a backup project to the local disk and then open the backup. Oh, you don't have a backup? Ouch!

Siegel, Kevin A. Blogs.com (2009). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Adobe Captivate


Adobe Creative Suite 3 Video Workshop

You can use the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Video Workshop to start learning about any application you're interested in, whether you own it or not. The Video Workshop shares expertise from across Adobe and the Adobe community--you'll learn tasks, tips, and tricks from leading designers, developers, and Adobe experts. There are introductory videos for new users, and more experienced users can find videos on new features and key techniques.

Adobe (2007). Resources>Documentation>Multimedia>Video


Adventures in Screencasting  (link broken)   (PDF)   (members only)

How do you best assist users whose learning styles are more visual than verbal? Tietjen discusses the benefits and the how-to of screencasting, a mixture of visuals, audio, and complementary text.

Tietjen, Phil. Intercom (2008). Articles>Documentation>Multimedia>Screencasting


Ajax for Media: Use Ajax Techniques to Show Movies and Slide Shows

With the advent of widely available broadband, media, movies, images, and sound drive the Web 2.0 revolution. Learn to combine media with technologies such as PHP and Asynchronous JavaScript + XML (Ajax) to create a compelling experience for your customers.

Herrington, Jack D. IBM (2007). Design>Web Design>Multimedia>Ajax


All the Access Money Can Buy  (link broken)

Just when you think online multimedia will never be truly accessible, someone proves you wrong. In BMW Films, Clark sees a tantalizing glimpse of a better web.

Clark, Joe. List Apart, A (2000). Design>Accessibility>Web Design>Multimedia


Animated Character Likeability Revisited: The Case of Interactive TV   (peer-reviewed)

Animated characters have been a popular research theme, but the respective desktop applications have not been well-received by end-users. The objective of this study was to evaluate the use of an animated character for presenting information and navigating music videos within an interactive television (ITV) application. Information was displayed over music video clips with two alternative user interfaces: 1) semi-transparent information overlays, 2) an animated character. For this purpose, the differences between ITV and desktop computing motivated the adaptation of the traditional usability evaluation techniques. The evaluation revealed that users reported higher affective quality with the animated character user interface. Although the success of animated characters in desktop productivity applications has been limited, there is growing evidence that animated characters might be viable in a domestic environment for leisure activities, such as interactive TV.

Chorianopoulos, Konstantinos. Journal of Usability Studies (2006). Design>Multimedia>Interactive>Video


Animated Expressions: Expressive Style in 3D Computer Graphic Narrative Animation   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The development of 3D animation systems has been driven primarily by a hyper-realist ethos, and 3D computer graphic (CG) features have broadly complied with this agenda. As a counterpoint to this trend, some researchers, technologists and animation artists have explored the possibility of creating more expressive narrative output from 3D animation environments. This article explores 3D animation aesthetics, technology and culture in this context.

Power, Pat. Animation (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Human Computer Interaction>Video


Animation: Technical Documents on the Move  (link broken)   (PDF)

Coleman presents a four-step process to develop an animation project while insuring consistency and quality.

Coleman, Mary Ellen. Intercom (2000). Design>Multimedia>Interactive


Apocalypse? Not Now: Three Myths of New Media

The Internet explosion has spawned quite a few popular myths, and some Eye readers may not know what to believe. I'd like to offer my dismantling of what may be the top three misperceptions.

Raymond, Eric S. Editorial Eye, The (1996). Articles>Cyberculture>Multimedia


Apple Didn't Kill Flash, HTML5 Did

For most end-users, the debate over Flash is largely a debate about web video. Yes, Flash is used in other ways — for web-based games and ever-decreasingly in website design — but thanks in large part to YouTube, Flash is most commonly associated with web video. Web video is overwhelmingly encoded in H.264. Not only is the H.264 codec the default encoding setting for practically every video service online, it is also by and large the default codec for raw video from digital video cameras.

Warren, Christina. Mashable (2010). Articles>Web Design>Multimedia>HTML5


Architectural Considerations in Digital Asset Management

What is the proper foundation for an enterprise-scale Digital Asset Management (DAM) system? How much of that system should be part of an organizations shared infrastructure and how much should be tailor-made to a specific application? There is no single answer to these questions, but changes in the technology industry are forcing everyonevendors and customers aliketo change their assumptions about how DAM systems will be built. This paper explains how the content-management infrastructure is changing, why that matters to DAM, and what benefits can be derived from leveraging a content infrastructure for DAM. Examples from an enterprise implementation at the University of Michigan illustrate the types of architectural issues and requirements that affect platform choices when selecting a digital asset management system.

Walter, Mark. Gilbane Report (2004). Articles>Content Management>Multimedia


Are AVCHD Camcorders the Next HD Lie?

When I first read about the AVCHD format with its use of MPEG4-AVC (H.264) video compression at a maximum of 24 mbps versus HDV which uses the older MPEG-2 format at 25 mbps, I was very excited about the new format. My enthusiasm dampened when I read the fine print that actual AVCHD implementation only uses 13 to 17 mbps MPEG4-AVC for compatibility with cheaper storage devices. Take a look at the screenshots below and it pains me to see how much detail is lost in the newer HD format.

Ou, George. ZDNet (2008). Articles>Multimedia>Video>Standards


Are You Attractive?  (link broken)

An interactive tutorial about usable website design.

Schutz, Bart. Interview NSS. Resources>Multimedia>Usability>Web Design


Are You Ready for Multimedia?  (link broken)   (PDF)

Lights! Action! Sound! There's a certain mystique associated with the design and development of multimedia. A multimedia developer is not quite a movie director, but.... If you're a technical writer, you may already have considered multimedia as a career option, but you may not know what's involved or how to get started. Having the information you need always makes a change easier, so perhaps this information will help you make that career move!

Currie, Cynthia C., Carmie Boutin and Linda Mandra. STC Proceedings (1999). Careers>Multimedia>Technical Writing


Audio Recording of Workshops and Seminars

The AHDS made audio recordings of recent seminars with the aim of transcribing the recordings, and presented them to seminar chairs to facilitate their task of completing reports on each event. This case study looks at some of the issues that occurred as the AHDS recorded and transcribed the material from these seminars. While its findings are based on roundtable seminars, some of them may also be of use to those doing other types of audio recording - interviews, field notes etc.

AHDS (2006). Articles>Collaboration>Multimedia>Audio


Authoring and Viewing Hybrid CD-ROMs   (PDF)

Lanyi discusses technologies for authoring and viewing hybrid CD-ROMs. He defines hybrid CD-ROMs as standard CD-ROMs that integrate updates users periodically download from the Web. This combination of storage space and timeliness, Lanyi argues, makes hybrid CD-ROMs an effective means of delivering documentation to users.

Lanyi, Gabriel. Intercom (2000). Design>Multimedia>CD ROM


Authoring and Viewing Hybrid CD-ROMs   (PDF)

Hybrid CD technology, which allows publishing documents on CD-ROM and placing updates on a Web/FTP server, is the solution of choice for the delivery of time-critical, large technical documents requiring frequent updates.

Lanyi, Gabriel. STC Proceedings (1999). Design>Multimedia>CD ROM


Balancing Act: Keeping Your Screen Movies Small and Beautiful

Screen recordings are a valuable tool for enhancing training, tutorials, manuals and websites. Companies use this technique to produce streaming and downloadable content. The recording tools are readily available and affordable. In this article, we explore some techniques, tips and tricks for recording sound, mouse movement and happenings from your screen to an AVI file. We will talk in both general terms and use specific examples. The examples pertain to HyperCam, a downloadable screen recording application from Hyperionics Technology. Like most screen recording applications, HyperCam captures the action from your Windows screen -- including cursor movements and sound -- and saves it to an AVI movie file.

Rice, William H. IV. WilliamRice.com (2002). Design>Documentation>Multimedia>Screencasting



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