“SGML is too complex and too costly to implement widely. ” This criticism has often been leveled at the Standard Generalized Markup Language. Mainstream SGML, a new open architecture, challenges that view. Traditionally, implementation has required companies to invest heavily in training. Authors had to learn how to create documents using complex SGML syntax. This method was time-consuming and yielded a slow return on investment. The Mainstream approach to implementing SGML uses resources that already exist in a company. Mainstream SGML provides an alternative to costly, complex native SGML document management systems. This workshop shows you how you can use mainstream SGML to successfully implement SGML in your mainstream business and publishing processes.
Talks about the importance of usability for businesses communicating with both new and potential customers. Featuring a case study of how a company improved their revenue-per-employee by 95% over a 2 year period, along with some attendee participation, this 17 minute presentation touches on a wide variety of websites and activities, such as lead generation sites, information portals and search engine marketing campaigns. Most significantly conversion rates for e-commerce websites are discussed, where usability can have a remarkable affect on a companies bottom line, if the right decisions are made in making improvements.
Talks about the importance of usability for internal business systems, specifically around staff productivity and process efficiency. The presentation touches on common barriers to staff productivity, some of the main reasons for these barriers, plus a short video of a manufacturing company who are embracing user-centered design as a way of combating the traditional software development issues on a companies productivity. The presentation also asks business owners a few key questions, such as do you listen to your staff, do you staff waste valuable company time doing repetitive tasks, and do you know what is the on-going cost to your business if you use un-usable software systems.
With the arrival of the World Wide Web, traditional methods of controlling the quality ofpublished information have been overcome by a technology that allows almost anyone to create and publish information. With this new found freedom in publishing, the quality of information available to the public has decreased when measured by traditional publishing standards. Technical communicators must meet new challenges in monitoring and ensuring that information produced in their organizations and companies is of the highest quality. This paper discusses how the problem evolved and how taking ownership of information on the Web may solve it.
This PowerPoint file of 11 slides explains how familiar demands of a routine situation and audience enable an engineer to write a condensed two-stage report. It also suggests appropriate types of illustrations. The explanation uses as an example the type of memo report written for presenting an analysis of an investment opportunity.
In an effort to establish affordable usability design and testing as part of the product development culture at Unisys Corporation, four Product Information employees in Mission Viejo, California and Salt Lake City, Utah developed a usability class. Working part time over a period of several months, the team developed a class outline; a PowerPoint presentation of the class content; exercises on surveys, paper prototyping, heuristic evaluations, and usability testing; Instructor and Student Guides, and a final examination. The class was added to the curriculum of the official corporate training entity, Unisys University, where it is available for all Unisys employees. This report of the group’s experience may be useful to organizations wanting to get started with usability training despite budget restraints.
The page number provides an intuitive context. Embedded indexing tools suffer because this context is transparent to authors. Further challenges arise from the low design priority awarded to embedding indexing tools of several applications. Hypertext-based indexing, such as on the World Wide Web, is an extreme case with difficulties ranging from a huge scope with negligible natural content, to a programming language that provides no straightforward technique for indentation.
What is an index? Meeting user expectations.
Many communication trainers adopt a “rules” approach, giving participants the “right” answers for writing problems. Our alternative approach focuses on individual participants’ writing contexts. In our writing workshops for university personnel, we train participants to develop and keep style guides. Individualized style guides help participants identify the conventions common in their particular organizations and help them maintain consistency between and within documents. Participants also benefit by developing a rhetorical approach to writing which builds their confidence and ability to respond to future writing situations on the job.
The information architect focuses on how things are structured within the user experience: looks “up” to the user interface – how the navigation and page layout convey the structure; looks “down” to the content management to make sure it can enable to right user experience.
With the information revolution, technical communicators need to problematize the definition of information, re-evaluate our role in the information food chain as both information producers and consumers, and re-examine how and why we produce information.
Over the past few decades information design has been in transition—moving from the creation of mainly paper-based communications to today’s mix of paper and electronic artifacts. Information designers’ repertoire must now include visual and verbal strategies for the Web. This shift in media compels us to ask what reading looks like in an electronic environment and to reconsider how people might engage with our content. To design effective electronic communications requires not only good writing and visual design but also an understanding of reading on the Web.
The conventional techniques for task analysis derive the basic tasks that make up user actions. However, in the complex-problem solving environment, attempts to describe step-by-step actions break down because no single route to a solution exists. Although individual tasks can be defined, task-analysis normally results in the tasks being divorced from context. However, to support complex problem-solving, the design must place the information within the situation context and allow users to develop and maintain situation awareness.
Study the target audience – who are your users? Identify various information elements. Study the user’s work flow. Layout the various information elements based on their characteristics. Highlight critical information. Think visually.
Most web site designs tend to focus on optimizing for simple information retrieval, “Find the value of X.” Yet, in decision making, the user’s information needs are much greater. As a minimum, they must understand and compare the value of X with respect to Y. Of course, in a realistic situation, several values must be considered. The information design problems involved in effectively addressing complex decision making has not been adequately researched. This research examines web sites to determine which design factors support complex decision making. It also develops guidelines for designing web sites which support complex decision making.
Technical communicators have long harbored a secret that we are reluctant to admit to outsiders: Users don’t like reading manuals. They do it only as a last resort. Even online help systems, which we originally hoped would be easier to use, have not met with great enthusiasm among users. It’s an all-too-common dilemma – there is a lot of information that could be explained, but users struggle along as best they can without it. Part of the problem has always been that users are reluctant to leave their work to seek information -- and rightly so. They have work to do and deadlines to meet. Even if your manual or online help contains a wealth of useful information, it takes them away from their work and interrupts their train of thought. If they do try to use it, the help window typically overlays the interface and adds its own set of navigation, resizing, and searching issues.
Single sourcing involves identifying all information requirements up front, then developing them from a single source. Information is broken down into elements, which are reused wherever they are required. Information models identify to writers all the required elements, how to structure them, and how to reuse them. This paper describes the process of information modeling.
Dissemination of research findings and effective clinical innovations is key to the growth and development of the nursing profession. Several avenues exist for the dissemination of information. One forum for communication that has gained increased recognition over the past decade is the poster presentation. Poster presentations are often a significant part of regional, national, and international nursing conferences. Although posters are frequently used to disseminate information to the nursing community, little is reported about actual poster presenters' experiences with preparation and presentation of their posters. The purpose of this article is to present insights derived from information shared by poster presenters regarding the poster preparation and presentation process. Such insights derived from the personal experiences of poster presenters may assist others to efficiently and effectively prepare and present scholarly posters that disseminate information to the nursing community.
Discusses practical usability, The Third Wave of the Information Age, the institutionalization of usability, developing a holistic strategy, measuring success, and getting started.
For the last two years I’ve focused my attention on the growth and success of agile development methods. There is nothing in the history of software quite as significant as the agile revolution. While I’m thrilled by the awesome potential of this new way of thinking, I remain aware that most revolutions in history have been co-opted and have failed to live up to their potential.