The integration of type and images can create a visual/verbal message for both print and on-line. To create this visual-verbal message, two problems must be resolved. First, visual organization is a problem, for two totally unlike systems of communication that must be merged into a cohesive whole. The second problem involves message making. These two unlike communication systems must come together to reinforce and extend one another. To effectively integrate type and images together it is essential to have a strong understanding of the elements and principles of design.
Does Assertion follow Evidence, or Evidence follow Assertion as in the traditional scientific order? Some do not care about the order. But some prefer to see the evidence before an assertion is made – particularly if a question is raised prior to showing the enlightening visual evidence. When asked to probe this visual evidence for answers, their mind leaves the passive show-me mode to enter the active let-me-see mode. They are more involved and interested. When they discover the yet-to-appear assertion by themselves, under the friendly guidance of the presenter, they are more likely to be convinced by it and more likely to remember it when it is revealed. Two visuals illustrate the two cases.
Defining the quality of information has long been a controversial item. Many different theories and methodologies have been brought forward; almost all share at least one common basis— Typographical errors lower the perceived quality of information. In this experiment, the first of a planned, series, we examined the effects of typographical on the user’s perception of the quality of the product and documentation. The conclusions of this first study, and the implications we can make draw them, are presented in this paper.
It would be useful to determine how much effect errors in product documentation have on users, if errors do not seriously interfere with product use. In an effort to start collecting information on this issue, we designed an experiment to explore the reactions of users to a simple interactive program with flawed documentation. We hypothesized that the product quality would be judged in part by the quality of the documentation, if the errors in the documentation interfered with task performance. We also hypothesized that some but not all users would be sensitive to documentation errors and would downgrade their rating of the program and the documentation based on these errors. The results of our experiment are presented in this paper.
Online tools can improve documentation management in several ways, depending on management goals of cost, schedule, or quality. Cost management tools need integration with automated status and quality assessment tools. Workflow simulation tools show great promise for avoiding bottlenecks in the document development process. Automated tools can enforce quality checkpoints and provide model document templates. The continual evolution of online documents will require new management approaches and goals.
I presented a session remotely at the Presentation Camp at Stanford University, California. My session was on “How to engage your audience with Twitter” and I tried to do exactly that during my presentation. Here’s what I learnt from my experience.
How do you develop effective online learning? This interactive half-day workshop introduces you to 18 techniques, including the must-ask questions of a needs analysis, the must-consider issues for writing objectives, different learning models you can incorporate into courses, ways to keep learners' attention, and tips for designing screens and writing for online presentation.
We’ve all heard about empowerment. It means being innovative, taking risks, reaping rewards. But how do you apply it to your work? How can you empower yourself and others? This demonstration examines the true meaning of empowerment and offers time-tested scenarios to drive the points of empowerment home. See the empowered individual; feel the teamwork blossom; and learn how to “just say no”!
This presentation provided a rationale for electronic support systems and an overview of how such systems can be designed to meet the needs of technical communication teachers and programs.
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.
As digital cameras have become ubiquitous, and cheap (or free) photo websites plentiful, more people than ever are using images in presentations. Images are not appropriate for every kind of talk, but even when images are appropriate (such as keynote/ballroom style presentations), people are still making the same common mistakes. So here are some things to keep in mind if you use images in your next talk.
Whenever people talk about "jazzing up" some of the Microsoft Office tools, PowerPoint always rises to the top of the list (but you can use this technique for any Office applications). We've all seen the presentations with that pat clip-art, the checkered fades, and those bullets that slide. Why not add some interactivity and exciting animation? Thanks to Microsoft's ActiveX technology we can.
One of Flare’s shortcomings is the inability to easily embed video files. However, if you use the Camtasia Studio’s Express Show format as your video format (and you choose the SWF option), you can insert the video into Flare by inserting the video as if it were a picture. Here’s a two-minute screencast showing the processing for inserting a video into Flare. You can also put the video in a drop-down hotspot.
This paper describes the end-to-end approach we used to create and validate scenario-driven information for a new product. This approach focuses as much on designing and testing information as it does on writing the information.
The reviews of engineering education carried out in the USA, Canada and Australia have highlighted the importance of developing the communication skills of engineering students. An innovative curriculum has been developed at the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) to prepare students for effective professional practice. The program has drawn on developments in writing studies and research into workplace practice. A core subject in Engineering Communication acts as a ‘hub’ for a Communication System which extends the development of communication abilities to staff, practitioners and self-directed learners.
Clear, positive feedback can contribute significantly toward improving the quality of printed and on-line documentation. Wizen feedback is negative, unclear, or incomplete, however, the accuracy and quality of a document can suffer, and misunderstandings between colleagues can result. Those who are responsible for reviewing documental ion can enhance that process by knowing what type of feedback to provide and how to offer it in a clear and constructive way. Those who request feedback on their documentation projects also can enhance the review process by clearly identifying the project scope and specifying their evaluation needs to their reviewers.
Each of us has some opportunity to make the environment part of our consideration when designing technical communication. The environment is not something “out there” beyond our concern or our ability to respond. Rather it is a part of our everyday life and can be a part of our everyday decision making process. This paper explores how environmental considerations can and should be a part of design matters in technical communication. The paper elaborates a set of environmental guidelines that can be used by professionals working in the field and made a part of technical communication teaching. Even small changes can make a difference. Environmental design matters!
This webcast is for those publishers who have made the decision to pursue digital channels for their content. What tools are out there? What do all those acronyms mean? How can publishers implement new strategies without disrupting current workflows? Here we explore the alphabet soup of digital publishing, sort out the tools that are most useful, and help publishers find some solid ground.
With the advent of the World Wide Web, many areas besides Publications produce documents for outside customers. This paper discusses how to establish and organize a forum to make, track, and publicize company-wide style guidelines.
Experts in the field have defined the essential criteria of ethical behavior in a number of fields. This presentation attempts to translate those criteria to the typical working environment of full-time writers. It examines these criteria in terms of the skills, task, and responsibilities of those individuals who create the documentation and directives by which America does its work.
Newer, more efficient technology for developing and disseminating information is rolling our way at a rapid pace. And, as always, we’re ready and eager to give new technology a try. Today, we’re investing in XML. But what is the ethical impact of this investment? And how should it aid the quest to align processes with technical capability? This paper focuses on the ethical accountability inherent in XML deployment and proposes an ethical platform for investing in this new technology.
The purpose of this presentation is to introduce general guidelines or rules that technical communicators can use to deal with their specific ethical situations.
Ten to twenty Fellows of the Society share their stories of ethical dilemmas from their collective storehouse of experience. Their experiences come from virtually every major industry, many minor industries, the military and academia. In just two minutes, each speaker will tell of his or her most poignant ethical challenge. Subjects vary from business ethics to communication ethics—see Code for Communicators.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 cites 43 million Americans as having disabilities. Despite the progress the ADA represents in improving equality of opportunity for those with disabilities, much remains to be done—as evidenced by the fact that only 27.8% of working-age people with work disabilities have jobs, compared to 76.8% of those without disabilities. The statistics are even bleaker for minorities. The STC Special Needs Committee was formed in May 1999 to help members with special needs achieve their potential by making available to them information about products, services, and literature that can assist them in their career activities. Three of STC's six guiding ethical principles have high relevance to special needs: legality, professionalism, and—above all—fairness.