A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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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


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


Actively Managing Your Schedule   (members only)

Uncertainty is the only certainty of a freelancer’s life, but it’s also a problem that afflicts wage slaves, as I learned during the first 15 years of my career. Something unexpected always seems to be popping up, disrupting our carefully crafted plans and leading to long days and late nights. Fortunately, there are ways to make life less uncertain than it might otherwise be, and each involves actively managing our schedules rather than waiting for others to define them for us. Active schedule management involves three types of activity.

Hart, Geoffrey J.S. Intercom (2010). Articles>Project Management>Planning


Always Have a Backup Plan

By anticipating failures, and designing backup plans, you can minimize the impact of unexpected problems on the user.

Anderson, Gretchen. Cooper Interaction Design (2001). Design>Project Management>Planning


Be Able to Say, 'Been There! Done That!': Cultivate your Career Skills through Deliberate Volunteering   (PDF)

To attain your career goals, you cannot simply go to work and perform the assigned projects, allowing your manager direct your professional path for you. You must treat your working life much like you treat a documentation project and be deliberate. Take charge of your progress by volunteering to complete projects that challenge and advance your capabilities. Plan and prepare for challenging opportunities that provide you with new work experiences; identify and execute tasks that advance your skills, knowledge, and abilities; and evaluate your career development, results, and your accomplishments with each enterprise you complete.

Swindle-Troell, Elizabeth F. STC Proceedings (2003). Careers>TC>Planning>Volunteering


Be Productive When a Project Stalls   (PDF)   (members only)

With more and more companies adopting the Darwin Information Typing Architecture, Baril discusses how to choose a compatible content management system that also supports your company's processes.

Gutowski, Amanda and Lori L. Pennington. Intercom (2008). Articles>Project Management>Planning>Collaboration


Building Presentations, From the Ground Up, Part 1

A look at how two technical communicators plan and prepare presentations.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Presentations>Planning


Business Plans Build Good Business   (PDF)

Developing a business plan—without it, your independent practice will flounder.

Frick, Elizabeth G. 'Bette'. Intercom (2004). Careers>Management>Planning>Business Communication


Career Planning and Longevity for Technical Communicators   (PDF)   (members only)

Cooper discusses her unique approach to career planning and longevity: essentially, do what you enjoy doing and find people and companies that interest you.

Cooper, Suzanne. Intercom (2009). Careers>TC>Planning


Career Preservation in a Volatile and Competitive Work Market   (PDF)

The ideas presented in this paper reflect my 25 years of observations and work experience, and recent period of unemployment in 2002. These ideas apply most appropriately to the software, high tech, and telecom industries, but could easily apply to other industries, academia, government, or non-profit organizations.

Emerson, Nathan F. STC Proceedings (2003). Careers>Unemployment>Planning


Cliffnotes To Keep You From Cliffhanging   (PDF)

Understanding organizational behavior and using creative problem solving are as much a part of being a technical communicator as is expertly applying the English language. Recognizing this, the authors-two senior technical communicators—have identified several typical, but not predictable, organizational problems that involve technical communicators. Solutions will be provided when the paper is presented at the conference.

Modrey, Laurie and Emily A, Sopensky. STC Proceedings (1994). Articles>Collaboration>Planning


Cognitive Organization and Identity Maintenance in Multicultural Teams: A Discourse Analysis of Decision-Making Meetings   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Measuring culture is a central issue in international management research and has been traditionally accomplished using indices of cultural values. Although a number of researchers have attempted to identify measures to account for the core elements of culture, there is no consensus on those measures. This article uses an alternative method—discourse analysis—to observe what actually occurs in terms of communication practices in intercultural decision-making meetings, specifically those involving U.S.-born native English speakers and participants from East Asian countries. Previous discourse studies in this area suggest that differences in communication practices may be attributed to power differentials or language competence. Our findings suggest that the conversation style differences we observed might be attributed to intergroup identity issues instead.

Aritz, Jolanta and Robyn C. Walker. JBC (2010). Articles>Management>Collaboration>Planning


Commentary on "Planning and Information Foraging Theories and their Value to the Novice Technical Communicator"   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Gattis should be applauded for finding cognitive theories that might be of use to the field, for describing them well with current resources, and for applying them to technical communication with an example. The two theories, however, are too intuitive to provide much value for describing existing behavior or for novices to use as tools.

Eaton, Angela. Journal of Computer Documentation (2002). Articles>Communication>Planning


Content Lifecycle

The content lifecycle covers four general areas: the strategic analysis, the content collection, management of the content, and publication, which includes post-publication maintenance and a loop back to analysis for the next cycle. This lifecycle is present whether the content is controlled within a content management system or not, whether it gets translated or not, whether it gets deleted at the end of its life or revised and re-used.

Intentional Design (2010). Articles>Content Management>Content Strategy>Planning


Content Strategy for Technical Communicators: What Happens to my Doc Plan?

While there’s still discussion about how best to define content strategy, I think that most everyone agrees on a couple of key points: A content strategy is, well, a strategy. A strategy, by definition, provides an overarching framework within which specific actions can be planned and executed. A strategy gives purpose to every action, but a strategy is more than just the sum of the actions. It’s not tactical: for example, it doesn’t dictate things like how a style sheet should be coded (although it might contain broad guidelines for how the styles should look). A content strategy should be broad enough to encompass all kinds of content: content from all over the organization, as well as (increasingly) from the user community; and content that can be distributed in a variety of formats.

Kunz, Lawrence D. Communications from DMN (2010). Articles>Documentation>Content Strategy>Planning


Content Strategy: Why Content Matters

Without content, there wouldn’t be content management. The mere fact that our industry decided that we needed a system upon which to keep track of all the words, photos, charts and information that we produce is a clear indication that content is important. Yet, for a lot of companies, content is an afterthought, handled by marketing and legal departments.

Peacock, Marisa. CMSwire (2010). Articles>Content Management>Planning>Content Strategy


Create Effective Project Milestone Sheets

The project milestone sheet is an incredibly important document for freelancers and their clients. It defines all the most important tasks, who is assigned to them, and when they are due. In other words, it serves as the map for your entire work process.

Roque, Celine. Web Worker Daily (2009). Articles>Project Management>Planning>Methods


Creating a Site Design Plan

All the books tell me to set goals for my site. OK. They say that those goals need to be measurable and definite. Fine. But asking my client, “What are the site’s goals?” never seemed to get me what I wanted. It occurred to me that a better approach might be to get some background info from the client and then set the goals and present them to the client for approval.

Morrill-McClure, Karen. Digital Web Magazine (2005). Articles>Web Design>Planning>Information Design


Creating an Effective Business Plan   (PDF)

A business plan describes your business’s future, including your vision for your organization, your competition, your products and services, markets you’ll compete in, how you’ll sell yourself, and your financial prospective. A successful plan conveys an organization’s exciting prospects and growth potential. Its overall purpose is to “sell” the business to management and possible backers.

Hansen, Lauren Y. STC Proceedings (1999). Articles>Business Communication>Planning


Creating an Idea Culture: Six Tips for Managers   (PDF)

The future of technical communication is about generating and implementing new ideas so that your team can change with the times. Other fields are vying for some of the same jobs in an organization that we are capable of performing. If managers do not take time to stay abreast of these changes nor tap into the minds on their team that are generating ideas about how to morph into different realms, then our profession is at a disadvantage to those in related fields who are drafting proposals for new jobs or innovative projects. This paper presents six tips for managers on creating an idea culture. It also argues why it is essential for managers to start their team's idea culture as soon as possible.

Hansen, Heidi and Jennifer Square. STC Proceedings (2003). Careers>Management>Planning


Creativity 2.E

Are you a Planner who thinks about design? Maybe you are a designer who obsesses about the business impact of your designs. Or you might be an Information Architect who thinks about motion, transitions, multimedia, and uses tools like storyboarding and visual scenarios. Or how about a Developer who comes up with the “big idea”?

Armano, David. UX Magazine (2006). Articles>Project Management>Planning


Design Patterns

A design pattern is a proven design solution to a common design problem documented in a standard format.

. Usability Body of Knowledge (2007). Design>Usability>Planning


Design Trends for 2010: Web Development Trends for 2010

Trends appear and disappear. Here are some of web development trends that will dominate during the 2010. I’m covering 5 trends regarding the web development. From real-time web and collaboration to geo-tagging and RIA frameworks… See what is new and coming in 2010 and stay ahead of the curve!

UX Passion (2010). Articles>Web Design>Planning


Designing a Presentation

You will not draw any slides—in fact do not even launch PowerPoint—until step eight, 80% of the way through the process. Typically, when you want to create a presentation, you open PowerPoint and start creating slides. Slide one, slide two, … slide seventeen… what I am trying to say again? Am I making my point?

Abela, Andrew. Extreme Presentation Method (2008). Articles>Presentations>Planning>User Centered Design


Designing Through the Storm

As designers, we all face the inevitable slump. That point where our creativity stagnates and we find ourselves at a dead end. Walter Stevenson offers suggestions on staying productive and creative.

Stevenson, Warren. List Apart, A (2006). Design>Web Design>Planning



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