Working in another country can be a rewarding, exciting experience. Preparing for an overseas job, however, involves more than sorting out visas, work permits, inoculations, and currency exchanges. You must also learn as much as possible about the host culture in order to avoid some of the more unpleasant “cultural pitfalls” discussed in this session. Once you are aware of these issues, you can reasonably assess whether an overseas project is right for you.
Developers want details. They want information they can take back and talk about on their own. They want the space to decide, based on their own criteria, what is valuable and what is not. They make use of the divide between designers and developers to help maintain their boundaries.
This paper introduces a two-part grouping of papers on “Ecological Literacy and Advocacy through Technical Communication.” Both technical communication and environmental rhetoric have historical roots in the professionalization of science and government in the late 1800s. The association of technical communication with “patrons” in industry has limited the roles of technical communicators to purveying ecological literacy within the relatively tight constraints of “risk communication.” But with the blurring of contemporary communication genres and the growth of ecological consciousness, technical communicators may follow science writers into roles more closely associated with environmental advocacy.
While all words on the page should be necessary, not every word carries the same importance. Yet words compete for attention, and depending on what they mean to readers, one word may make a greater impression than another. As writers, we must express what’s important with bright words. We must tone down what’s not important and express them with dull words. We must avoid snags, words that distract, confuse, or interfere in any way with the smooth transfer of information.
SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) became an ISO-approved standard and was adopted as a Japanese Industrial Standards. Recently, SGML has begun to be used more widely in Japan. We, the Corporate Design Center of Ricoh Company, Ltd., have completed development of the a single SGML module DTD (Document Type Definition), customization of a SGML editor, and the implementation of review system using the world wide web. In addition, we have developed an automatic DTP system based on SGML.
The Books by Users program, SAS Institute’s acquisitions program, serves a twofold purpose: helping SAS software users with book ideas turn their ideas into high-quality books about the SAS System; Providing Users with books about SAS Software to supplement primary documentation produced by in-house writers. This paper gives an overview of the Books by Users program and examines its operations and growth over the past three years. It offers tips both for companies building acquisitions programs and for authors hoping to interest publishers in their book ideas.
As documentation is more and more built directly into the interface, and as technical communicators move into interface design and usability, it is important to have a theoretical framework within which to make decisions about what kind of information will be conveyed at any moment. We can build on basic principles of cognitive psychology to help us make these decisions. We start from a question: Why should users be aware of the difference between interface and documentation when all they want is to get something done?
As the cycle times for developing new software technologies continue to shrink, the relationship between those who develop technology and those who write about it becomes ever more a factor in maintaining up-to-date, complete, and accurate documentation. Strong, positive working writerengineer relationships can relieve interdepartmental tensions and reduce the anxiety experienced by both writers and engineers at the end of a release cycle. Too often, differences in personality, communication style, and job requirements become barriers to building strong relationships. By examining our differences, we can explore strategies to improve the writer-engineer relationship.
Each situation is unique based on specific organizational needs and issues. Although the benefits may be difficult to quantify at times, at some point, your company will simply decide that, ROI or not, it can't live any longer with the (likely growing) pain of not effectively managing your content.
Technical communication journals and conferences over the past decade have consistently covered the topic of quality, but much of this coverage has focused on defining quality in technical communication and describing models of quality for our field. Few have dared to declare a finite set of definitive metrics that could be used across our profession. This paper takes the bold (and yes, foolhardy) step of declaring a set of metrics that could be used universally to measure quality in technical documentation of commercial products. The author is fully aware that this will stir up controversy and dissent, but considers this her contribution to stimulating discussion of the area of specific quality metrics.
Adobe’s Captivate application allows one to create Flash based interactive demos and presentations. PowerPoint materials can also be converted in Flash using Captivate. Captivate has a number of accessibility features in version 3 and 4.
How do technical writers develop professionally after they graduate from college? To find the answer we developed a technical communication career survey between March and July, 1992, and polled members of STC. This panel discusses career development theory, the results of our survey and the reactions of actual technical writers who completed the survey.
Career theory should inform any individual or corporate needs analysis for professional development. A useful career theory for technical communicators is one developed just for them. For this reason we designed the multi-phase study. This discussion focuses on the definition of career theory and how existing career theory can inform technical communication training theory. The research design used to create our survey has evolved from the relevant literature on career planning and career management. The literature on career planning and management contains no career theory specific to technical communicators. Traditionally, training personnel have assumed that professional development, training, and to some degree, post-graduate education are determined by the employer’s needs. This is true particularly in cases of tuition assistance for expensive technical or graduate training.
The Cascading Style Sheets standard returns some control of style to web authors. HTML describes only the structure of information. CSS, though incompletely implemented as yet, adds a style sheet where an author can specify fonts, colors, margins, alignments, indentations and other elements for any HTML tag or class of tag. An introduction to CSS shows the status of the CSS standard and various browser implementations, how to generate HTML and style sheets, the use of CSS compared to PDF, and the role of style sheets in HTML Help.
The need for user-centered design in this era of rapid technological change is reviewed, and key ingredients of a user-centered design process are described: (1) involvement of users, structured by rigorous user input and feedback methodologies, (2) multidisciplinary teamwork, from developing the initial concepts and approach to evaluating and refining the product after its introduction in the marketplace, and (3) focus on competitiveness, on state-of-theart user interfaces and technology. Data supporting the economic value of user-centered design processes is also reviewed.
Why is social media so important? Traditional media tells the same big story TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE. Social Media is about lots of little stories told IN SMALL GROUPS AT THE SAME TIME.
Accurate translations of clinical trial documents play an important role in meeting global product demands. Mistakes from poorly done translations can result in product delays, cost overruns, malpractice or product liability lawsuits, and confused subjects / patients.