A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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Accessibility in Design

The next time you open a Web browser, try this: don’t use your mouse. Use your keyboard to navigate through your favorite site. You may very well find that keyboard navigation is not at all straightforward. On Yahoo.com, for example, you must press the Tab key over 75 times to get to all the options on the home page, and you must press the Tab key 10 times just to get to the main Search frame. Many sites, such as those that extensively use Macromedia Flash, aren’t accessible using the keyboard at all. The problems described here are problems of accessibility. In some cases, relatively minor changes can make the difference between an information design that can be used by anyone and a design that excludes people with certain disabilities – or preferences.

Birge, Colin. EServer (2001). Design>Accessibility>Web Design


Adaptive Web Sites: An Introduction

Broadly marketed Web sites face an increasingly diverse and demanding audience. Each visitor may be searching for something different, and each may have unique needs or concerns. Traditional, 'static' Web sites can try to serve these diverse users by aiming at generalized types of user. However, generalizing the audience may cause an information designer to overlook users who do not quite fit in a category. A more effective way to reach diverse audiences might be adaptive Web sites that customize content and interface to suit each individual. This paper will discuss basic concepts behind adaptive Web sites using Amazon.com, the Internet bookseller, as an example.

Wei, Carolyn. EServer (2001). Design>Web Design>Personalization


Bodies of Knowledge for Technical Communication: Paradigms and Possibilities

The presenters summarize and discuss two emerging paradigms for defining a technical communication body of knowledge: the EServer Technical Communication Library and the Society for Technical Communication's TCBOK project. The respondent sums up the alternatives presented, then frame the discussion of possibilities these projects present for advancing the field.

Sauer, Geoffrey, David Dayton and Carolyn D. Rude. EServer (2010). Presentations>TC>Databases>Body of Knowledge


Calls for Papers: Technical Communication

The EServer CFP site is a database-driven collection of calls for papers in several fields, including TC.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer. Academic>Calls For Papers


Converting Legacy Documents to Hypertext

When I first came to Boeing, my workgroup delivered documents (stored either in Microsoft Word or XyWrite) in hardcopy format. As more modern document delivery options were made available to us, I convinced the customers, development staff and the management to adopt these new technologies to make documentation maintenance and delivery easier. I also converted over 1000 pages of documentation (such as language reference manuals, quick reference guides, installation guides and user guides) from strict text formatting to hypertext. This chapter will share what I learned with you. Here are some guidelines I recommend you follow when you begin to convert your paper-based documents to hypertext. Each guideline will be expounded later in this chapter.

EServer (2001). Design>Information Design>Hypertext>Case Studies


Converting Science News for the Web

With the Internet emerging as a primary newsgathering source, many traditional media outlets have converted their products for online viewing. This paper explores how two science news magazines, New Scientist and Science News, have approached this challenge. Elements of hyptertext theory are also included.

Carsten, Laura D. EServer (2001). Articles>Web Design>Writing>Scientific Communication


Designing an Accessible Web

For many Internet users, the full range of Web content is not accessible. This paper gives a quick overview of the subject of Web accessibility and calls for information designers to join the effort of making the web accessible to all users.

Gao, Wei. EServer (2001). Design>Accessibility>Web Design


Designing Effective Online Press Rooms

Corporate resources available to journalists today are increasingly Web-based. Though most corporations still have human press contacts, journalists are relying more and more on corporations' 'online press rooms' for background information, quotes, photos, and other information. That same information is just as easily accessible to investors and consumers as well. With journalists' increasing reliance on online press rooms, however, come usability issues. Unless sites are kept current, press releases and other information easy to find, and contact names and numbers easily accessible, journalists are apt to simply give up seeking information on a corporation's site and look elsewhere. The following discussion will note the most common problems with online press rooms and will review relevant literature and the problems and suggestions it presents. It will also attempt to offer some prioritized guidelines of its own-involving, among other things, the use of more advanced technology.

Tevenan, Matthew P. EServer (2001). Design>Web Design>Public Relations>Press Releases


Designing for Multiple Audiences

Current literature tells web designers to determine who their primary users are, then design the website for that group. However, in many cases a website must serve multiple audiences with very different needs. This article explores a few options that web designers have in creating a website that meets the needs of multiple audiences.

Riebeek, Holli. EServer (2001). Design>Information Design>Web Design>Personalization


Designing for Overseas Chinese Readers: Some Guidelines

With its economy strong and its telecommunication infrastructure being improved rapidly in recent years, China has seen its Internet users rocketing to 22 million users today from about one million in 1997. A more web-savvy population also prompts government agencies and companies to embrace the Internet. The 'Government On-line' initiative launched in 1998 requires that the percentage of government agencies, either local or national, that establish websites should reach 80% by the end of 2000. Although it is doubtful that the goal has been attained, the country is definitely moving in that direction. At the same time, Chinese companies are rushing to get web sites built in order to promote their products and services.

Cao, Li. EServer (2001). Design>Web Design>Regional>China


The Divorce of Probabalistic Mathematics from Forensic Rhetoric (and Why This Matters to Technical Communication)

This paper discusses some of the founding work in the field of probabalistic mathematics (that of Jakob Bernoulli, the seventeenth-century Swiss scientist). By discussing similarities between Bernoulli's formulation of the mathematics to evaluate the probability of any given event and the forensic (or courtroom) rhetorics which Bernoulli had studied in school, this paper suggests that the foundations of probabilistic mathematics might well be rooted in part in forensic rhetoric. This is important to technical communication because it historicizes the origin of positivism in mathematical technical discourses.

Palmer, Terri. EServer (2001). Presentations>Lectures>Rhetoric>History


Edgar Web Design Guide

This site publishes papers on a wide range of issues in information architecture, from how to organize a site's structure to how to establish one's position as a webmaster inside a large organization.

EServer (2001). Resources>Web Design


Emotional Design: Communicating an Experience

Today communicating is not always about a single message but an entire experience. One of the reasons the Web and the Internet has gained in popularity is not only because of its commercialization but because users can dynamically interact with it. Walker Gibson uses the term 'mock reader' to describe when a reader accepts the role within a story that an author has presented. The authors of Web sites, the designers, create an experience that immerses the site visitor or viewer into the Web site. A successful Web site designer has the ability to create a 'mock Web visitor' who becomes completely immersed emotionally in the site the designer has created.

Chinn, Darryl. EServer (2001). Design>Web Design>Visual Rhetoric>Emotions


EServer Rhetoric and Composition

A collection of resources about writing, argumentation, and organizations related to professional writing.

EServer. Resources>Directories


Exploring Technical Communication

Exploring Technical Communication is a 30-minute documentary video introducing the profession. It consists of interviews with faculty and students in the University of Washington's Department of Technical Communication and with professionals in the STC.

Garrett, Mick, Paul Foy, Robert Frantzen, Charlie Selk and Erik Willis. EServer (2002). Resources>Multimedia>Video>Documentaries


Get to Know XML

The XML format was developed in the 1990s in a hope to develop a universal format for documents, replacing proprietary binary formats that couldn’t integrate with one another. And we’re beginning to see the results. In this talk, Dr. Geoffrey Sauer will present an introduction to XML, with an overview that will explain to people who’re not familiar with it why this is a good thing, and how we can begin to use XML formats to our advantage as technical communicators.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer (2010). Presentations>Lectures>Information Design>XML


The Information Design of Community-Building

What turns a Web space into a virtual community or community network? Sandra Maddox writes an introduction to the subject.

Maddox, Sandra. EServer (2001). Design>Information Design>Community Building


The Language of Color

Color motivates, excites, draws attention and provides emphasis.  It is one part of the coordinated effort to effectively communicate in information design. Color has long been thought to be only for embellishment or decoration. But if used intelligently, color can help give visual order to complex information. It can attract, enlighten and engage, and thus, add value.

Dowd, Tim. EServer (2001). Design>Graphic Design>Information Design


Make it Mobile

Handheld devices are everywhere. How can you start delivering Web content that can be viewed on these devices? This article discusses the challenges of writing for these devices, what specific issues are involved. Also included in this discussion is a case study of one organization going mobile and the challenges it faces.

Rose, Emma. EServer (2001). Design>Information Design>Mobile


The Marriage of Rhetoric and Pragmatics

The current proliferation of hermeneutic resources with a linguistic base--pragmatics, speech act theory, classical rhetoric theory, Burkean analysis, conversational analysis, Habermasian communicative action--is an embarras de richesse. Surely, at this point, we need, not another theory, but rather an attempt at synthesis, an attempt to turn this hermeneutic plentitude into a single theory. In this paper, we propose to take an initial step in this direction, to attempt to marry pragmatics and rhetoric. But given the theoretical exfoliation that has marked these areas, such a marriage can be managed only by imposing very strict limitations on the scope of our enterprise. We believe, however, that we can take a step in our preferred direction by addressing the more specific problem of whether the theory of Paul Grice, the father of pragmatics, is compatible with the theory of Aristotle, the father of rhetoric. We intend to do so by reconstructing Aritotelian rhetoric as a pragmatics.

Gross, Alan G. EServer (1998). Presentations>Lectures>Streaming>Audio


The Monaco Group   (members only)

The Monaco Group invigorates communication research and practice in commercial and non-profit environments by developing new approaches and new solutions to communication problems.

EServer (2002). Organizations>TC>Online


Multimedia Content Management   (members only)

Strategies for developing and delivering multimodal content via digital media. Focus on the principles on database design, interface development, usability testing, and collaborative content management within technical communication settings. Projects include training modules, online documentation, dynamic interfaces, and document management systems.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer (2009). Academic>Courses>Content Management>Multimedia


On the Razor’s Edge: Languaging, Autopoiesis, and Growing Old

A. L. Becker’s 'modern philology' is an approach to discourse rooted in multifaceted explorations of particular texts: a line from Emerson, a Southeast Asian proverb, a Javanese shadow play. He explains 'autopoiesis' this way: 'One of the tenets of the gaggle of ideas calle ‘autopoiesis’ is that languaging is orientational, mostly. A says something to B -- and no ‘message’ is ‘transmitted’ -- rather what A says orients B (and him/herself, of course). But the orientation of A is not the orientation of B, except to the extent they have the same reactions to prior texts (lingual memories).

Becker, A.L. EServer (1998). Presentations>Lectures>Streaming>Audio


The Orange Journal

The Orange Journal is a graduate student journal of Technical Communication. It strives to foster critical thinking and discussion on a wide variety of topics and issues important to technical communicators.

EServer. Journals>TC>Graduate


The Place of the Internet in the History of Publishing

Discusses some critical methodologies we may wish to use in order to make sense of the changes which have occurred in mass media post-1976. It is rather important to understand this history -- the reasons we think the current Internet is confusing is precisely because of the reorganization it represents in the balance of power between ruling interests in our society. In the end, I argue, the Internet is another step in the increasing influence of media and publishing interests, and it is important to read news in online space as part of that history.

Sauer, Geoffrey. EServer (2000). Presentations>Lectures>Publishing>History



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