A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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ACM Crossroads

Crossroads is a student-run publication of the ACM.

ACM. Journals>Technology>Graduate


The ACM Digital Library

As a service to the computing community, the Digital Library will offer its search and bibliographic database resources to all visitors, for free. All you need to do is register with us. Access to full-text is by pay-per-view or subscription only: ACM members who are Digital Library subscribers have access to all full-text articles, as well as the advanced search and notification functions of the 'My Bookshelf' feature. Members and nonmembers who subscribe to electronic publications (but not to the entire Library) have full-text access to their subscriptions

ACM. Resources>Publishing>Online


ACM SIGCHI (Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction)

ACM SIGCHI brings together people working on the design, evaluation, implementation, and study of interactive computing systems for human use. ACM SIGCHI provides an international, interdisciplinary forum for the exchange of ideas about the field of human-computer interaction (HCI).

ACM SIGCHI. Organizations>Human Computer Interaction


ACM SIGCHI Job Postings in HCI

List archives, from the ACM SIGCHI job postings in HCI mailing list.

ACM SIGCHI (2005). Careers>Job Listings>Human Computer Interaction


ACM SIGDOC (Special Interest Group on Design of Communication)   (peer-reviewed)

The ACM Special Interest Group on documentation provides a forum on documentation and user support for computer products and systems. The SIG studies processes, methods, and technologies for communicating information via printed and online text, hypermedia, and multimedia. Members include technical communication professionals, educators, and researchers, as well as system designers, developers, usability specialists, and managers responsible for producing or supervising the creation of documentation, online help systems, and end user interfaces. SIGDOC offers conferences, a high-quality Web site, and The Journal of Computer Documentation, a respected quarterly publication.

ACM SIGDOC. Organizations>Documentation>Multimedia


ACM SIGDOC Undergraduate Scholarship

One non-renewable scholarship of $500 will be granted toward school tuition and expenses for the 2003-2004 academic year. The award will be paid directly to the school for crediting to the student's account. To assist a student who is pursuing an established degree program in an area of technical or professional communication. A committee set by the SIGDOC board will evaluate each application with respect to potential future contribution to the field of technical communication. Financial need is not a factor.

ACM SIGDOC. Academic>Scholarships>TC


ACM/SIGCHI Mailing Lists and Aliases

The SIGCHI mailing and discussion lists are open to all interested people and do not require ACM or SIGCHI membership. Posting to the lists is moderated to avoid spam, irrelevant posts, and subscription queries, but are generally open to to any people, whether subscribers or not. Many lists are archived and searchable on the Web.

ACM SIGCHI. Resources>Mailing Lists>Human Computer Interaction


Agile Documentation with uScrum   (PDF)

uScrum (uncertainty Scrum) is an agile process developed by a small team at Altitude Software to manage the process of writing user documentation. uScrum manages uncertainty and the unknown, allowing writers to quickly react to changing conditions. uScrum uses orders of ignorance to understand the difficulty of tasks, allowing the team to effectively prioritize regular work together with difficult creative work.

Baptista, Joaquim. ACM SIGDOC (2008). Articles>Documentation>Agile>Scrum


Annual Awards for Contributions to the Field of Technical Communications   (peer-reviewed)

The ACM SIGDOC Executive Board welcomes letters of nomination for the SIGDOC Rigo and Diana Awards. The Rigo Award celebrates an individual's lifetime contribution to the field of information design, technical communication, and online information design; the Diana Award celebrates the contribution of an organization, institution, or business.

ACM SIGDOC. Academic>Research>Assessment


Applying Hypertext and Hypermedia to Scholarly Journals Enables Both Product and Process Innovation   (peer-reviewed)

Early uses of hypertext technologies were associated with scholarly communication. New electronic-only journals have been quick to adopt hypertext/hypermedia technologies. Existing print journals have also started to adopt such technologies as they make the transition to parallel delivery. The widespread uptake of the World Wide Web has enabled journals to improve, enhance and transform what they do. This paper surveys these developments and places them in context.

Treloar, Andrew E. ACM Computing Surveys (1999). Articles>Publishing>Hypertext


BayCHI Job Bank

The BayCHI Job Bank is a service that enables local employers to publish job openings to the members of BayCHI. The job bank connects the BayCHI members, who are professionals in the Human-Computer Interaction field, with job openings in the local HCI industry. Bay Area employers may submit descriptions for jobs that are relevant to our membership to the job bank at no charge.

ACM SIGCHI (2005). Careers>Job Listings>Human Computer Interaction>California


Building a Home-Grown Knowledge Base: Don't Wait for the Resources—Build a Prototype

In this presentation, we will discuss why and how we came to build a knowledge base for the Computing Help Desk at MIT. We discuss MIT’s re-engineering effort and its impact on the various Help Desk groups who were brought together as a single team; how this centralizing of Help Desk services created a new requirement of getting useful, just-in-time knowledge to student consultants, and professional staff; and how that requirement helped us approach another goal of our re-engineered processes-helping our customers to help themselves. We then describe the tool we created and how we are using it.

Jones, Susan B. and Carol Wood. ACM SIGDOC (1998). Design>Information Design>Web Design


Building a User-Defined Interface

A measurably easy-to-use interface has been built using a novel technique. Novices attempted an electronic mail task using a command-line interface containing no help, no menus, no documentation, and no instruction. A hidden operator intercepted commands when necessary, creating the illusion of a true interactive session. The software was repeatedly revised to recognize users' new commands; in essence, the users defined the interface. This procedure was used on 67 subjects. The first version of the software could recognize only 7% of all the subjects' spontaneously generated commands; the final version could recognize 76% of those commands. This experience contradicts the idea that people are not good at designing their own command languages. Through careful observation and analysis of user behavior, a mail interface unusable by novices evolved into one that let novices do useful work within minutes.

Wixon, Dennis, John Whiteside, Michael Good and Sandra Jones. ACM SIGCHI (1983). Design>User Centered Design>User Interface


CHI Letters   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

CHI Letters is an edited collection of the very best proceedings from conferences sponsored by SIGCHI.

ACM SIGCHI. Journals>Human Computer Interaction


CHI-WEB Mailing List

CHI-WEB is an ACM SIGCHI moderated discussion list on the human factor aspects of the World Wide Web.

ACM SIGCHI. Resources>Mailing Lists>Human Computer Interaction


CHI-WEB Mailing List Archives   (peer-reviewed)

CHI-WEB is an ACM SIGCHI moderated discussion list on the human factor aspects of the World Wide Web.

ACM SIGCHI. Resources>Mailing Lists>Human Computer Interaction


Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Commitment to ethical professional conduct is expected of every member (voting members, associate members, and student members) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). This Code, consisting of 24 imperatives formulated as statements of personal responsibility, identifies the elements of such a commitment. It contains many, but not all, issues professionals are likely to face.

ACM (1992). Articles>Computing>Professionalism>Ethics


Cognitive Strain as a Factor in Effective Document Design   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

People have a limited amount of cognitive resources. Coping with the increasing amount of information presented via a software interface strains a user’s cognitive resources. If a person has to use documentation, whether on-line or paper, additional cognitive resources are consumed, often overloading the user. Using several windows or multi-media elements can compound the problem. Unfortunately, as Wickens (1992) states, humans are unable to manage excessive cognitive strain and they respond by getting frustrated, committing errors, shedding tasks, or reverting to known methods.

Albers, Michael J. ACM SIGDOC (1997). Presentations>User Centered Design>Usability>Cognitive Psychology


Communicating Effectively With Interaction   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The ability to build interactions that support, enable, and improve communication is a valuable skill for help developers, Web-site designers, multimedia content developers, information-rich user interface designers-anyone who designs and develops information to be used online. This paper presents the basics of interaction design for information products and describes some basic underlying human factors and user-interface design principles.

Ames, Andrea L. ACM SIGDOC (2001). Presentations>Information Design>User Centered Design>Multimedia


Content Management and the Production of Genres   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

In this paper, I suggest that granularized content management introduces as-yet-unexplored issues to genres of technical communication. I argue that content management, while it can, as advertised, free content and make it easy to reuse that content in multiple genres, that flexibility can create new problems for genres and genre systems, leading to problematic reuse, inflexible genre systems, rigid and proprietary genres, and uncritical internationalization.

Clark, Dave. ACM SIGDOC (2007). Articles>Content Management>Genre>Localization


Crossing the Divide   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This essay summarizes the editor's views of publication in the field of human-computer interaction. Digital technologies have begun changing the way journal articles and conference papers are produced, reviewed, published, accessed, and used. This period of profound change presents challenges and opportunities for both new and existing channels of scientific and technical communication.

Grudin, Jonathan. ACM TOCHI (2004). Articles>Research>Publishing>Online


Decision Making: A Missing Facet of Effective Documentation   (peer-reviewed)

The old school of software interface design and document writing took the view that if the user could find the information someplace, the user could use it. But simply sticking in details ignores how readers access and process information.

Albers, Michael J. ACM SIGDOC (1996). Presentations>Documentation>Management


Declarative Information in Software Manuals: What's the Use?   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Declarative information is often considered to be of little value to software manual users, for two reasons: some research results state that it is consistently skipped by users, and other research results show that declarative information does not enhance task performance. This study puts these conclusions to the test, because the research underlying them does not support such general conclusions. Two experiments are conducted to collect quantitative data about the selection and use of procedural and declarative information and to investigate whether or not the use of declarative information affects task performance and knowledge. A new technique for measuring information selection was developed for this purpose: the click and read method.

Ummelen, Nicole. ACM SIGDOC (2000). Articles>Documentation>Rhetoric


Designing for Usability: Key Principles and What Designers Think   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

This article is both theoretical and empirical. Theoretically, it describes three principles of system design which we believe must be followed to produce a useful and easy to use computer system. These principles are: early and continual focus on users; empirical measurement of usage; and iterative design whereby the system (simulated, prototype, and real) is modified, tested, modified again, tested again, and the cycle is repeated again and again. This approach is contrasted to other principled design approaches, for example, get it right the first time, reliance on design guidelines. Empirically, the article presents data which show that our design principles are not always intuitive to designers; identifies the arguments which designers often offer for not using these principles-and answers them; and provides an example in which our principles have been used successfully.

Gould, John D. and Clayton Lewis. Communications of the ACM (1985). Articles>Usability


Developing Intranets Which People Use: Making Progress When Everyone has an Opinion

The goal of an intranet site is to improve knowledge sharing and productivity. In a large company, it can be difficult to achieve consensus on how to make this happen. Knowledge management experts, information systems project managers, graphic designers, marketing leaders, HTML developers and usability engineers are used to fighting for their places, convinced that they know best. In truth, the intranet is not yet mature, and there are no definite answers. This chapter describes experiences with the intranet sites of two Fortune 500 companies. In both cases, the usability engineer was a consultant from outside the company, in one case part of a team of consultants and in the other working more closely with company employees. Both intranet projects were riddled with mishaps, bad decisions, personality conflicts, and compromises. Still, the usability engineers were able to improve the sites by becoming members of the project teams, and by tirelessly incorporating usability in everything they did.

Zukor, Lee. ACM (2001). Articles>Web Design>Intranets>Usability



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