A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

STC Proceedings

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The ABC's of SGML/HTML: Understanding the Concept of CALS and SGML   (PDF)

Many technical communicators have heard about Computer-aided Acquisition and Logistic Support (CALS), or Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), but some do not understand the concept. This paper introduces CALS, the relationship between CALS and SGML, the structure of SGML, and how SGML affects technical communicators.

Perry, Lynn A. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Information Design>SGML


Academic/Industry Relationships   (PDF)

Technical Communication educators and professionals share one important concern: the future. The most important way in which both parties can shape the future is by working together to support the future technical communications community: students. STC’s Academic Industry Committee has developed a faculty internship to support direct connections between the faculty members who prepare student technical communicators and the companies who will employ them. These and other Academic Industry Committee projects are designed to bring the best of two groups working in one valuable goal and profession more closely and cooperatively together. The future depends on our work – together.

Fink, Bonnie L., Roger A. Grice, Sandra Harner, Deborah Rosenquist and Katherine E. Staples. STC Proceedings (1998). Careers>Collaboration>Industry and Academy


The Academy/Industry Binary: The Effect of Distance Education on the Debate   (PDF)

The academy/industry debate usually centers on whether instruction should be education-based or experience-based, and on whether instructors should have more academic or industrial experience. Distance education can change both of these debates, lessening the difference between the workplace and the academy. The academy can be relocated within the workplace through dedicated classrooms and online courses performed on workplace computers, and by making classes asynchronous so that practitioners can fit them into their structured schedules. The debate over instructor training is changed because of the additional industry-based expertise needed to produce a distance education class and because distance education technology facilitates participation of practitioners.

Eaton, Angela. STC Proceedings (2001). Presentations>Education>Industry and Academy


Accessibility Meets Usability: A Plea for a Paramount and Concurrent User-Centered Design Approach to Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility for All   (PDF)

This paper identifies challenges for a user–centered design process with respect to infusing accessible design practices into electronic and information technology product development. Initially, it emphasizes that when user–centered design is paramount and concurrent with accessible design, electronic and information technology can be accessible for all. Next, it provides an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Section 508. Last, it provides basic accessible design heuristics that can be integrated into the design process. It concludes with recommendations for a paramount and concurrent user–centered design approach to product development.

Reece, Gloria A. STC Proceedings (2002). Articles>User Centered Design>Accessibility>Usability


Accessibility or Design Integrity   (PDF)

This paper presents two sides of a debate over user-controlled text sizing of Web-based documents, and a suggested approach for designing Web sites that support full use of user-controlled text sizing, while maintaining the integrity of a site’s visual design.

Payne, John and Phil Oye. STC Proceedings (2004). Design>Web Design>Accessibility


The Accidental Beginning of a Highly Successful Special Interest Group (SIG)   (PDF)

SIGs exist to serve specialized needs within the greater organization. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) and Professional Interest Committees (PICs) are a tool by which the local chapters can serve a diverse range of special interests, boosting chapter membership. The Lone Star Chapter (Dallas/Fort Worth) began hosting SIG meetings three years ago. Currently, with four active SIGs, we are hosting an additional 100 to 200 members per month. This is how we built our SIGs to promote membership in STC. In the spring of 1990, a group of disgruntled contractors began to meet formally to discuss dissatisfaction with insurance plans for independents available through the society. We had been meeting informally for many years, to discuss the job market, rates available, and generally to gossip. We call it networking. personal contact or the sudden ice storm we had that night attendance was down significantly. From that point, we have kept a mailing list updated from our sign-in sheets, and sent postcard reminders about each meeting.

Steele, Karen A. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Collaboration>Case Studies>STC


Adaptive Technologies and Techniques for People with Vision Problems   (PDF)

Talk with Gloria Reece, a senior member of STC’s AccessAbility SIG who can help you understand vision problems and the technologies that exist to make information accessible. Get practical advice for implementing new technologies in your workplace.

Reece, Gloria A. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Accessibility>Visual>Workplace


Add a Touch of Drama   (PDF)

Several similarities exist between writing technical documentation and writing dramatic scripts. Technical writers who also write drama find they become much more aware of audience, differentiate more easily between 'need to know' information and 'nice to know' details, and better anticipate reader actions and reactions.

Blicq, Ronald S. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>TC


Administration of an Electronic Classroom   (PDF)

The electronic classroom in the Oklahoma State University English Department is now a little over a year old. In the three semesters we've been using it, a number of administrative challenges have surfaced. Some of those challenges were easily overcome, but others have been consistent dilemmas with no clear solution in sight. The day-to-day administrative issues in operating the facility center on issues of access and maintenance and repair. This article will focus on some of the major challenges with the intention of pointing out potential problems that may occur as other writing programs establish similar electronic teaching facilities.

Turner, John R. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Education>Online


Administrative Decisions in Online Graduate Education   (PDF)

Much of the discussion about online education appropriately focuses on pedagogy and technology. Any planning for online education must consider teaching methods and the technology to support them as well as the appropriateness of these methods and technology for the students and course materials. However, administrative decisions also influence the success of the course or degree program. This paper reviews these issues based on the experience of Texas Tech University in five years of offering an online Master of Arts in Technical Communication. Issues include course concept, costs, administrative authority within the university, and student selection and retention. The paper looks briefly at legal issues and at the concern about impersonality in online education.

Rude, Carolyn D. STC Proceedings (2003). Articles>Education>Graduate


Adobe Acrobat: Publishing Online Documentation   (PDF)

Documentation departments are often faced with the challenge of quickly distributing high-quality versions of printed documentation via the company Intranet, the World Wide Web, or CD-ROM. Adobe Acrobat is a simple, cost-effective way to publish documentation for a variety of media and requires little time or technical expertise to produce professional-looking results. Technical writers and web developers can easily use Adobe Acrobat to create portable document format (PDF) files from printed documentation. They can then add links and bookmarks, create an index, produce simple interactive forms, and add multimedia components to their documents.

Ogata, Kerry L. and Thomas A. Witherspoon. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Online>Adobe Acrobat


Advanced Issues in Usability: A Progression   (PDF)

In this progression, respected usability specialists will moderate tables on subjects of interest to colleagues who have been working in the usability field for some time. These topics will focus on usability test design, data analysis and presentation, and marketing of data. Attendees should plan to contribute their own experiences. This progression addresses the frequently expressed request by Usability PIC members for more sessions on advanced topics in usability.

Wilson, Chauncey E. and Stephanie L. Rosenbaum. STC Proceedings (1996). Presentations>Usability


Advanced Issues in Usability: Balancing User Preference and Performance Data Collection   (PDF)

The purpose of this paper is to provide a little background on my position for the progression on usability issues. I’ll present what measures I typically collect, and the differences between performance and preference data. Having this as a starting place may help us to have a useful progression discussion.

Rauch, Thyra L. STC Proceedings (1996). Presentations>Usability>Methods


Advanced Toolkit for Experienced Technical Communicators: Using a User-Centered Design Process to Overcome Challenges in Implementing a User-Centered Design Process   (PDF)

Technical writers have known for years that a good explanation for a bad software interface may be better than nothing, but that it’s not as good as a usable software interface. With ‘usability' gaining greater visibility, this is a good time to implement a usercentered design process. This article looks at ways that the approach and techniques of such a process can be applied to the task of introducing a new process.

Quesenbery, Whitney. STC Proceedings (2001). Design>User Centered Design>Usability


Advanced Usability Topics   (PDF)

An increasing number of STC members now have usability programs as part of their job responsibilities, although they’re not always full-time usability specialists. Many STC members have been performing usability activities for several years.

Rosenbaum, Stephanie L. and Lori K. Anschuetz. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Usability


Age Discrimination in Technical Communication   (PDF)

Age discrimination in the workplace occurs any time one worker is treated differently from another due to age, or another worker's beliefs about age-related inabilities. Solving the problem of age discrimination in the workplace involves three things: understanding the problem and how it affects the way we work, educating ourselves and the rest of the general working public about age discrimination, and finding specific ways to address and overcome the issue.

Steele, Karen A. and Linda I. Bell. STC Proceedings (1993). Careers>Advice>Discrimination>Workplace


Analysis of Virtual Classroom Environments: Survey of Classroom Dynamics in RSVP Courses   (PDF)

Students can earn Master's degrees or continuing education certificates by at tending courses offered live satellite or compressed video or on videotape for delayed viewing. This panel discussion evaluates the effects of the various forms of technology and modes of interaction on the classroom dynamics in a live satellite class offered by Rensselaer Polytechnic institute (RPI).

Brunner, Kirsten, Roger A. Grice, David F: Hans, Teresa L. Hood and Leo J. Smith. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Education>Online


Analyzing Documents to Understand Tags   (PDF)

SGML is a language for describing the structure of a document. The language involves using a system of tags for elements of a document. Document analysis is the process of discovering the elements of a document and understanding how the parts work together to form the document.

Coggin, William O. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Information Design>SGML


Analyzing Web-Based Help Usage Data to Improve Products   (PDF)

This paper describes how user assistance can streamline deliverables and improve product design by analyzing usage patterns from server-based content. We can then base decisions about how to improve deliverables on a thorough understanding of how customers use help content to find information and solve problems. This approach enables user assistance to add more value to both our companies and our customers by creating a three-way dialog between user assistance, the customer, and the product team. It also broadens the definition of assistance to include helping to design products that people can use without the need for instructions.

Raiken, Nancy. STC Proceedings (2005). Articles>Documentation>Audience Analysis>Log Analysis


Anatomy of a Corporate Intranet Project   (PDF)

Today more and more companies use intranets to communicate with employees and to help them perform their jobs. An intranet is an internal network that operates like the Internet.

Rhines, Becky. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Web Design>Intranets


And Now, From the Company that Brought You the Seven-Eyed Trout: Risk Communication in Action   (PDF)

Risk communication is usually defined as an interactive process of exchanging information and opinions among individuals, groups, and institutions or agencies concerning a risk or potential risk to human health, safety, or the environment. It draws from established principles of sociology and psychology to communicate with hostile or frightened audiences about sensitive issues. The demonstration illustrates the most important principles of risk communication as they are applied to a fictitious community.

Durbin, Margaret E., Linnea E. Wahl, S.T. Molony, Susan Klein and Carol Wade. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Risk Communication


Animation as Documentation: A Replication with Reinterpretation   (PDF)

Animated demonstrations are replacing text as the vehicle for documentation, help, and training on new software systems. An animated demonstration is a demonstration of a particular feature or features by a ghost user. The demonstration executes the procedure for performing a task, on-screen, as the user passively watches. Whereas research into the effectiveness of animated demonstrations has produced mixed results, certain patterns of behavior are emerging. The current study replicates the learning advantage offered by animated demonstration and shows that retention is equal to that of a group instructed by text after a one week retention interval. Implications for development of on-line training materials are discussed.

Lipps, Audrey W., J. Gregory Trafton and Wayne D. Gray. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Documentation>Interactive


Applying Computer Analysis and Design Techniques to Document Component-Based Software   (PDF)

Facing the challenges involved in developing documentation for component-based software (for example, object-oriented technology, intelligent agents, and distributed computing) requires a documentation strategy based on the same processes and methodologies used by such technologies. These strategies need to be adapted to meet documentation, rather than coding needs. Developing this strategy now, as component-based technology is still maturing, will help technical communicators keep pace.

Bachmann, Karen L. and Ginger Doherty. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Software


Applying Expectancy-Violations Theory to Online Documentation   (PDF)

A person usually expects another person to behave according to accepted norms, but how does a person respond to a message that violates his/her expectations? One theory dealing with violations of expectations is Burgeon and Hale's (1) nonverbal expectancy-violations theory. This theory posits that, under certain circumstances, violations of social norms and expectations may be an effective strategy for communicators to achieve the intended communication purpose. Although the expectancy-violations theory focuses on expectations for nonverbal behavior, such as gaze and conversational distance (2), I believe that this theory can also apply to expectations for humancomputer interaction.

Chiu, Yu-Kwong. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Documentation>Rhetoric>Online


Applying Object-Oriented Design Concepts to Web Publishing   (PDF)

This is a story of how one internal project at Sun Microsystems migrated printed user and reference documentation to an internal Web site. The principle architect of this site discusses how she applied object-oriented design concepts to the Web architecture to accommodate many learning styles simultaneously. As important as the successes of this project are its failures, which offer some insight into when and how to use the World Wide Web as a communication vehicle in your overall communication strategy.

Hoft, Nancy L. STC Proceedings (1996). Design>Documentation>Web Design



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