A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Presentations>Document Design

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Better Posters

Academics use posters to present research, but their posters are often ugly, with tiny text, confusing layouts, and dubious colour schemes. Better Posters is about making posters informative and beautiful.

Better Posters (2009). Design>Presentations>Document Design>Blogs


Communicating Design: Web Design Documentation

An overview of web design methods, including a survey of questions one should ask during the process.

Brown, Dan. SlideShare (2006). Presentations>Web Design>Documentation


Creating a Magnetic Sign

An introduction to how to create a magnetic sign for indoor displays.

Hewlett-Packard. Presentations>Document Design>Streaming>Video


Creating an Indoor Banner

This video will cover professional banner design and layout and choosing the right material for the job.

Hewlett-Packard. Presentations>Document Design>Streaming>Video


Creating an Indoor Print on Rigid Substrate

Covers scanning a photograph, laying out the graphic, printing, mounting, and then a review of components.

Hewlett-Packard. Presentations>Document Design>Streaming>Video


Creating an Outdoor, Durable Event Banner

Takes you through each step needed to create a durable outdoor banner.

Hewlett-Packard. Presentations>Document Design>Marketing


Designing for the Web: Special Considerations for Safety Information   (PDF)

Manufacturers are currently grappling with determining whether they should put safety information on the Web and if they do how it should be presented. Technical communicators, Web content developers, and Web designers will ultimately be responsible for the presentation of Web-based safety information. This article discusses special considerations that should be given the formatting (HTML, PDF, etc.), design, (font, size, and color), and location of safety information on the Web. Additionally, areas for future research on the issue of Web-based safety information are identified.

Tallman, Lisa A. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>Web Design>Documentation


Following the Rules

Laying out your poster on a grid establishes limitations for your poster. Choosing a font establishes limitations for your poster. Being conservative in your design choices establishes limitations. Working within limits requires discipline. Setting yourself limitations does not necessarily limit creativity; it can do just the opposite.

Better Posters (2009). Design>Presentations>Document Design>Posters


FrameMaker 9 User Interface onDemand eLearning Session

An explanation of the logic behind the new FrameMaker interface and a tour of how it works.

Jacquez, R.J. Adobe (2009). Presentations>Document Design>Video>Adobe FrameMaker


Free Microsoft PowerPoint Templates

Our templates are free and we do not offer any kind of support for our templates. You are responsible for editing and modifying the downloaded templates, backgrounds or products.

Kumar, Raja. PowerPoint.in (2009). Resources>Presentations>Document Design>Microsoft PowerPoint


Holding the Center

If you look through a poster session at a scientific conference, I’ll bet over 98% of their titles are centered at the top of their posters. Why? There is no advantage in reading. Most word processors and other publishing programs start with text left aligned by default, which implies that people deliberately center the text all the time.

Better Posters (2009). Design>Presentations>Document Design>Typography


How Much Documentation is Enough?   (PDF)

Examines the need for defining the scope of documentation projects up front, and provides strategies for implementing a zero-based scoping approach.

Dhanagopal, Kumar. STC India (2010). Presentations>Information Design>Content Strategy>Documentation


An Information Make-Over for Performance Centered Design   (PDF)

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.

Battle, Lisa H. STC Proceedings (2000). Presentations>Documentation>Information Design


Mental Processing of Online Documentation: From Concepts to Applications   (PDF)

This panel will review the existing literature on how we mentally process online documentation and describe some implications for effective online document design. We invite the audience to define with us some critical areas for further research.

Knodel, Elinor L., Henrietta Nickels Shirk, Candace Sodetston and James Thibeau. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Documentation>User Centered Design


No More Slidesters, Interlude: Making Presentations More Like Posters

Because many researchers use PowerPoint for their talks and lectures, they also tend to use it for every graphic problem, including posters. Predictably, the form of the resulting posters often look like nothing more than a series of ugly PowerPoint slides tacked together. A poster is more like a whiteboard than slides. But because many researchers give more presentations than posters, they’re not used to thinking in terms of a big space, viewed all at once, instead of a series of small spaces, viewed one at a time.

Better Posters (2009). Design>Presentations>Document Design>Posters


No More Slidesters, Part 2: Three Publisher Tips

I have used Microsoft Publisher a lot for posters. I’m going to show three easy things that Publisher does well that are useful when making a conference poster.

Better Posters (2009). Design>Presentations>Document Design>Microsoft Publisher


No More Slidesters, Part 3: Draw in the Open

As discussed recently, many people use PowerPoint to design posters, an act that borders on criminal. PowerPoint was designed for multiple projected images with minimal text, not one large image with complex text and graphics. People use PowerPoint because it’s the only thing remotely resembling a graphics software that people are familiar with. Microsoft Office simply doesn’t have a good, high end graphics component. Publisher comes close. OpenOffice does have a graphics component, simply called Draw. If you are not willing to shell out the big bucks generally required of a professional graphics software package, Draw has several features in its favour.

Better Posters (2009). Design>Presentations>Document Design>Open Source


Produce Effects Without Effects

As the number of effects increases, custom animations rapidly become unwieldy. An alternative technique consists in using one slide per effect, thus simplifying the process. The addition of slide transitions ensures that entrance or exit effects are maintained. The drawbacks of creating effects without effects - a large number of slides- are compensated by two key advantages: simplicity, and direct access to any part of a slide composed of many effects, not just its beginning.

Lebrun, Jean-Luc. Scivee (2009). Presentations>Document Design>Software>Microsoft PowerPoint


Structured Authoring and DITA

What does structured authoring mean to you? Structured authoring is a publishing workflow that lets you define and enforce consistent organization of information in documents, whether printed or online. What it means to me: defining a goal and assembling architected topics to help the reader achieve that goal.

Vazquez, Julio J. SDI Global Solutions (2009). Presentations>Documentation>Information Design>DITA


Structuring Help for Re-Use   (PDF)

Many teams are still laboring to transform poorly organized manuals into online help. But the biggest cllallege you face going from paper to online is not interface, but structure The better your structure, the easier your users will navigate.

Price, Jonathan R. STC Proceedings (1995). Presentations>Documentation>Information Design


The Changing Face of Document Design and Technical Communication: The Impact of Trends on How We Think about Our Work   (PDF)

Characterizes the evolving trends, and helps you consider the impact of trends on your thinking and doing.

Schriver, Karen A. IDblog (2004). Presentations>Document Design>TC


Using Usability “Use Cases” in Documentation Planning   (PDF)

This workshop presents an introduction to use cases - a planning tool which can be used for capturing a future documentation system's functional requirements as well as the overall information requirements of end users. You learn what a use case is and what recommended guidelines there are for creating use cases. You also learn how use cases are applied in the documentation development process as a whole.

Nurminen, Mary and Leena M. Rasinaho. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Documentation>User Centered Design


Where is the Instruction in Online Help? Designing it Right the First Time   (PDF)

One of the ironic things about online help systems is that they are very often not helpful and even increase the user's frustration and stress level. A consequence of this increased frustration sometimes results in the rejection of the software. One solution is to increase the effectiveness of online help systems by designing them from an instructional design perspective. Some of the things we can provide users include: imperative, task-focused procedures; graphic feedback; access to redundant instructions; links to tutorial practice; philosophical and conceptual explanations for “why” they are completing specific tasks.

Pratt, Jean A. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Documentation>Instructional Design>Help


"Yes, But Does it Scale?": Practical Considerations for Database-Driven Information Systems   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This paper explores the process of designing and implementing a database-driven system of online documentation, and putting it live on the web for customers to use. Using real-life examples, it discusses practical considerations for balancing performance, scalability, and reliability.

Russell, John. ACM SIGDOC (2001). Presentations>Information Design>Documentation

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